Today, we take solace in the hope that #PorteOuverte has offered us

When a calamity strikes, be it an earthquake, a flood, or a terrorist attack, headlines are made all over the world, a certain meta-narrative grips us all. We are told that a certain number of people died, a certain amount of damage was done, a certain type of people was responsible. We become transfixed with questions like ‘what happened?’, ‘why did it happen?’ and ‘who did it?’

We become consumed with the pathology of violence.

They answers we seek are what we call ‘primary’ pellets of empirical information that are intertwined to form a story that conforms to the framework of constructed news stories. We build pyramids not only under headlines, but in our heads as well.

That’s how journalism works. That’s how stories of catastrophe are told. And that’s how they are absorbed by the people.

What happened in Paris last night, or the bombings in Beirut the day before, has shattered that dominant framework of storytelling.

There was a strong attempt to narrate the tragedy within shackles of popular, mainstream terrorism narratives.

Some people shook their fists furiously at the Syrian refugees.

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Some blamed the global Muslim community in general.

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However, this time, under the weight of this calamity, the structural schema of the world collapsed and the catalysts of dominant, thematic narratives fizzled out. People are speaking up, attacking the metanarrative, problematising stereotypes, generalities and overarching perceptions.

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Worldviews that have been force fed for decades are being regurgitated. But people are arming themselves with kindness, instead of bitter accusations.

In the mesh of panic and fear, a strong hand of comfort has emerged, which will change our understanding of terrorism and how it affects us forever:

#PorteOuverte (#OpenDoors)

Frederic Nowak, who was attending the concert with his son, exited the hall through a door near the stage. He and a group of fellow concert-goers emerged into a stairwell, but found each of the doors off the stairs to be locked.

“We were stuck there for about ten minutes,” Nowak told the Telegraph. “There were thirty or forty people there. Then we went further up the stairs and arrived at the roof. We got out through a window and we saw a man whose apartment was in the building next door waving to us. We made our way over the rooftop and he let us in through his attic window.”

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People are flinging open their doors, sharing their food and becoming agents of compassion. NGOs aren’t in the limelight for their relief work, it is the common people.

Muslims all over the world, waited with bated breaths as images of death flashed across their televisions and computer screens, afraid that they would be blamed, chastised and abused once again. Even when Muslims aggressively reject any association with or appropriation of ISIS, just the fact that the words ‘Muslims’ and ‘Islam’ are used in conjunction with death and destruction makes their hearts sink and their throats close up.

French President Francois Hollande has ardently said that the ‘act of war’ was,

“…committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State group, a jihadist army, against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: A free country that means something to the whole planet.”

He went on to say,

“(France) will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.”

“(France) will act by all means anywhere, inside or outside the country.”

Although ISIS is being staunchly blamed for the attacks, people have raised their voices in abject rejection of Muslim stereotypes. #Muslimsarenotterrorist is trending on twitter.

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The president’s statements don’t just make the Muslims wary, they make the whole world shudder.

More war.

More weapons.

More deaths.

The loss of human life, in numerical form, will continue to plague our consciousness.

Today, however, we can take solace in the hope that #PorteOuverte has offered us. Such compassion was seen in the advent of the refugee crisis, when people welcomed Syrians into their homes, and now, when the entire world is fiercely sheltering Parisians. We can swallow that wad of discomfort in our throats knowing that in times of extreme adversity, the global community with throw open their doors, lay out their welcome mats and give people their homes.

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