Leiden Islam Blog, November 19, 2015 (with David Kloos)
The Silence in the 'Minute of Silence'
The horrific attacks in Paris have reinvigorated debates about terrorism, Islamic extremism and (in)humanity. Memorial events should be approached in a more inclusive way, calling attention to similar tragedies that take place further from "home."
On 16 November, one minute of silence was held across the EU to mourn the victims of the terrible events in Paris. The Humanities Faculty of Leiden University called on its staff and students to “observe a minute’s silence as a token of respect for the French nation.” Although this gesture was intended to commemorate “all innocent victims of terror,” it is clear that the reason was Paris, not the attacks in Beirut (one day earlier, also claimed by ISIS) or Turkey, the ongoing violence in Iraq, Syria and Nigeria, or the brutal massacre of 132 school children in Peshawar and 147 university students in Kenya (both less than one year ago). These other places and incidents remained, in sharp contrast to “Paris,” unnamed.