#PrayForParis

Brooke Anderson, News Editor

On the evening of November 13 2015, a series of coordinated terrorist attacks occurred in Paris and its northern suburb Saint-Denis. The attackers killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan theatre, where they took hostages before engaging in a stand-off with the police. There were 368 injuries and seven of the attackers died. The attacks were the deadliest on France since World War II.
The French President saw the terrorist attacks as an act of war. So in response, the next day (November 14) France bombed Syria. During all the fighting, the world responded in overwhelming support to Paris with the hashtag, #PrayforParis. Over 200 countries participated and over 70 million people shared their sympathetic sentiments somewhere on the internet. According to TIME Magazine, “In total 430 million interactions ̶ that’s posts, likes and comments ̶ were created in these first 24 hours, with people in more than 200 countries participating.” The article written by Caitlin Wojtasket, FOCUS Missionary at multiple colleges nationwide, wrote “What #PrayforParis Reveals about the Heart of Our Culture” explaining what our culture has been doing to show support. “It’s amazing how we’re drawn to the word, the idea of ‘prayer,’ in times of crisis. Maybe there were other trending feelings ̶ #goodvibesforparis, #positiveenergyforparis ̶ but if they did exist, they didn’t gain as much popularity as #PrayforParis.” This hashtag was a way for people to express their sadness and their fear and their empathy after Paris was attacked. The Atlantic says this about the hashtag: “It’s an act of mass compassion. Even more specifically: It is compassion that has been converted, via the Internet’s alchemy, into political messaging. It is empathy quantified.”  For most this was the only way to show their sympathies and compassion towards Paris. France has the internet and this was a way to show that the French weren’t alone in all this; that Paris would be in our thoughts and hearts.