The stories are heartbreaking and chilling. In the first few weeks of 2017, identity-based hatred appears to be pervasive and on the rise. Two immigrants from India were shot in Kansas allegedly by a man who confronted them about their visa status; historical Jewish cemeteries were vandalized in St. Louis and Philadelphia; and, in Rockville, Maryland, a Jewish couple, who put up a Black Lives Matter banner outside their home, received a threatening note with the word “Jew” written in German and the ominous promise of “mayhem.” On January 29th, six people were killed and 19 were injured in a mass-shooting at a mosque in Quebec City. The victims included fathers, an academic, and local businessmen. They were in the midst of evening prayers.
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.
What does Facing History look like in action? Look into Calee Prindle’s classroom and you’ll see it come to life. Calee is an English Language Arts teacher and an advisor at the Facing History School (FHS) in New York City. FHS is a founding member of The Facing History Innovative Schools Network – a connected group of more than 80 schools that embrace Facing History's core themes as essential to their mission.
Nous pleurons avec le peuple de France. Ce qui s’est passé vendredi soir est inimaginable. Les Parisiens faisaient ce que tout le monde fait dans une société libre : ils passaient la soirée dehors avec des amis ou en famille, ils dînaient, buvaient, riaient, écoutaient de la musique, regardaient un match de football. À La fin de la soirée, plus de 120 personnes avaient été assassinées, des centaines blessées et des milliers terrorisées. Nous l’étions tous, d’ailleurs.
Une société libre et ouverte se fonde sur un contrat social qui prescrit que nous vivions ensemble dans la paix et le respect. Le terrorisme rompt ce contrat. C’est son objectif, pour qu’il devienne plus difficile de rester ouverts et inclusifs.
We mourn with the people of France. Friday evening’s events are unimaginable. Parisians were doing the things that people do in a free society, enjoying an evening out with friends and family, having dinner, a drink, a laugh, hearing music, watching a football match. By the end of the night, more than 100 people were murdered, hundreds were injured and thousands more were terrorized. In fact, we all were.
Remaining a free and open society is based on a social contract, that we will live together with respect and in peace. Terrorism disrupts this. It is designed to do just that, making it harder to remain open and inclusive.