Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Violence at Virginia Tech and at Iraq's Universities Unacceptable

Think about how you felt when you heard about the terrible tragedy that happened yesterday at Virginia Tech. Think of those 33 innocent people who were killed, for no good reason, while they were going about their business. They had futures, which are now gone. They have families who loved them and who are devastated. Their friends, lovers, parents, neighbours, teachers, and even strangers like us are mourning their loss. There is fear among students and their families - what if this happens again? What if it's my school next? What if it is my son or daughter?

Now think about this: Iraqis face this every day.

Innocent Iraqi students, who also have bright futures, and families who love them, are killed or fear being killed every day.

Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty, from
Students look at the scene of two explosions in front of Mustansiriya University on January 16.

The nation reacted in horror as students counted their dead by the dozens, all innocent victims of an indiscriminate attack violating the sanctity of the university campus.

Today, it’s Virginia Tech, the site of a horrific mass murder in which at least 33 students are confirmed dead in a shooting rampage by an as-yet unidentified gunman.

In Iraq, universities struggling to operate in the midst of a war zone have been struck repeatedly by bombings, shootings, assassinations, and abductions that have left behind hundreds of killed and wounded, victims and forced thousands of students and professors to stay away, or even leave the country.

On Monday, the same day as the Virginia Tech mass shooting, two separate shooting incidents struck Mosul University, one killing Dr. Talal Younis al-Jelili, the dean of the college of Political Science as he walked through the university gate, and another killing Dr. Jaafar Hassan Sadeq, a professor from the Faculty of Arts at the school, who was targeted in front of his home in the al-Kifaat area, according to Aswat al-Iraq.

In January, Baghdad’s Mustansiriya University sufferred a double suicide bombing in January that killed at least 70 people, including students, faculty, and staff. A month later, another suicide bomber struck at Mustansiriya, killing 40.

Read the rest of the article from

Yesterday as we huddled around our TVs and Radios, listening to the events at Virginia Tech and the subsequent analysis, we were putting ourselves in the place of those affected by the violence. We were imagining what if it was our son, our daughter, our wife or husband, or ourselves who were killed. We were experiencing our natural human gift of empathy. Universally there was an opening of hearts. What happened yesterday was a tragedy, and I think as human beings, we all feel the pain of those who suffered.

A wise woman I know once said: "When a heart breaks, it opens, and it can become a powerful force for love in this world". I hope our hearts stay open to help us feel the pain of others in the world, and I hope we are inspired to act and stop letting thugs kill and destroy, indiscriminately ruining countless lives.

Oh right, but I forgot. The most important thing is to make sure nobody worries about losing their right to bear arms.

Inspired by this and this.

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