The One At Westminster

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As everyone already knows, on Wednesday, March 22, 2017, just outside of Westminster, there was a terror attack in London. From what I know from the news stations, newspapers, and word of mouth, an SUV crashed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge and crashed into the gates of Parliament. According to reports, the attacker fatally stabbed a policeman before being shot down by other officers. The incident ended in the death of four, left others with serious injuries, and the world is shook.

When the news broke, I was at the museum for a class not too far from Westminster. I then headed back to my flat, which is also not too far from Westminster. Before I even knew what had really happened, I was getting messages from my home university and my university in London asking me to confirm my safety and telling me to contact my family. So I clicked the “I’m safe” button on Facebook, and I emailed my advisors back, and I went on my day. It wasn’t until a day later that I really hit me what had happened. Once everyone had stopped talking about the initial shock, they talked about whether or not to travel anymore, to go out that night, or to rearrange their plans for holiday.

I’ve always been very confident traveling abroad, I think I still am. My heartbreaks to those affected by the attack, and I am thankful that more people weren’t hurt, and that myself and my friends weren’t there that day. It sends a cold chill down my spine to think “I was there yesterday” or “I pass that daily.” Although I was shocked and horrified that terror could happen in London, the truth is that it could happen anywhere. And that’s really scary. Whether it is a bomb during a marathon in Boston, at a concert in Paris, at a church, a school, a warzone, or in front of Parliament in London, you always need to be aware of yourself and your surroundings.

Although we cannot ignore our fears and be ignorant to the horror that goes on in the world, we can’t let our fears dictate our lives and our opportunities. With everything going on in the world today, I think that it is so important to continue to travel and continue to learn and grow as individuals. Through travel and experiencing new cultures, you learn about how people live, love, grieve, and educate themselves on the universe.

Learning about the world and how it works, can be compared to making a new friend. You’re strangers, intimidated of each other, and you’re both scared. But here’s the thing, its only scary in the beginning, you’ve just got to start the conversation. It’s impossible to get to know someone without talking to them, or spending time with them. Likewise, it’s impossible to understand the world without experiencing it and without opening discussions.

The world we live in now has been turned upside down, but that doesn’t mean we should just leave it that way, because it’s not going to fix itself. Rather than pointing fingers and living in constant fear, it is so important to open discussion, because at the end of the day we’re all human first. By building walls and shutting the world out, we let the fear of the world keep us from seeing its beauty. I understand how lucky am I for the opportunity to travel as much as I have, most people never get out of their own country. If that’s the case, then just be a good person. Spread love, not hatred. Limit judgments and show compassion wherever you go. Wherever I go, I will continue to be smart, make informed decisions, and understand that not the entire world is good or bad. But with that said, I’m going to continue to get to know the world, and I’m going to continue to show compassion to a world upside down. I think everyone else who has the opportunity should as well. We’ve got to figure this out.

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