Like many American adults, I can tell you in specific detail where I was on the morning of September 11, 2001 and how the day unfolded as I learned of the terror attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon. I was about one week into my sophomore year of high school, and in my English class in a classroom with a view of the Boston skyline. Because of the confusion of the day, and the fact that the planes that attacked the Twin Towers took off from Boston’s Logan Airport just 3 miles away, we were dismissed early. I found my younger brother and we walked home, confused and on edge.
Facing History and Ourselves President and CEO, Roger Brooks, responded to the recent Christchurch mosque shootings on Cognoscenti today—the ideas and opinion page for WBUR, the Boston-based wing of NPR. In his piece, he reflects upon his exposure to antisemitism over the course of his upbringing and how this shapes his thinking about contemporary antisemitism, Islamophobia, and other forms of hate. He also invites the reader to consider how education can be used to mitigate hatred and temper the threat of violence.
On Friday, March 15, 50 people were murdered in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. We mourn the victims, killed when they had come to pray in sacred spaces, and we are filled with sadness for those who have lost friends and loved ones. News of the horrific attacks has spread around the world, in many places emerging during the school day or just as students and teachers arrived in classrooms. Once again, as we all face news of devastating violence, educators have the added task of helping young people to process, understand, and reflect.
Over the past few years, there have been many times when we've awakened to news of terrorism—close to home or far away. In late 2016, a list of things more common than being a victim of a terrorist attack in America was published. This list included shark attacks, lightning strikes, and car accidents and was intended, in part, to create a sense of perspective. Indeed, terrorist attacks are rare, and they directly affect only a small number of people. But their impact and consequences are widespread. In countries around the world, terrorism has shaped security and policing, civil liberties, and the ways that people in diverse societies perceive and interact with each other.
Topics: global terrorism
Fifteen years after the attacks on September 11, Facing History's New England Program Associate, Taymullah Abdur-Rahman, reflects on how he came to terms with the attacks and their aftermath as an American Muslim.
Orlando. Brussels. Baghdad. Baton Rouge. St. Paul. Dallas. Nice. Istanbul. Baton Rouge, again. The last several weeks have been hard on humanity. I was on vacation from my work at Facing History, trying to stay unplugged for awhile, when the news about Dallas broke. I logged back on to social media, but just as quickly shut it off again. I was (am) overwhelmed, feeling small and fairly powerless to help heal the world and prevent such violence in the future. But, I also couldn't get away from the feeling that, at that moment, turning my back was the exact wrong thing to do. I kept coming back to some critical questions: Why is it important to stay checked in, even when I can and want to check out? In the face of overwhelming sorrow, terror, and anger, how do I remain hopeful? How can I continue to take care of myself - to put on my oxygen mask first - while at the same time not abandoning my responsibility as a human being to care for others within my universe of obligation? Below are a few strategies that may help keep us engaged and hopeful and, as the school year begins in the coming weeks, do the same for our students.
Michael is a Senior Programme Coordinator for Facing History and Ourselves in London, UK.
A white rose was today placed on a vacant seat in the House of Commons. Members of Parliament (MPs) had returned to pay tribute to Jo Cox, murdered last Thursday in her constituency of Batley and Spen, West Yorkshire. The white rose, a symbol of Yorkshire, was soon joined by a red rose, a symbol of the Labour Party she represented.
Jocelyn Stanton, a senior associate for program staff development, shares an open letter to the Facing History community as we all mourn together over the recent tragedy in Orlando.
Topics: global terrorism
I’ve always been gay. I just didn’t really know it until I fell in love for the first time. That relationship included a lot of firsts. It was my first serious relationship, my first time living with someone, and, to date, the longest relationship I've ever been in.
On Easter Sunday, a splinter group of the Taliban killed more than 70 people, including children, in Lahore, Pakistan. The group said they were targeting Christians who had gone to Gulshan-e-Iqbal Park to celebrate the holiday with their families. It was mostly Muslims who were killed.
On Tuesday, March 22nd, at least 35 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in Brussels, Belgium. Victims came from across Belgium as well as from the US, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, and China. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Brussels' airport and a subway station in the center of the city. There have also been attacks in Turkey, Nigeria, Kenya, the Ivory Coast, Syria, and Iraq.