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Opinion

Vigil in honor of Damascus

Column by Bri Steier

Steier is a first-year law, politics and society and rhetoric double major and can be reached at brianna.steier@drake.edu

briheadshot-w800-h800A person experiences a wide range of feelings in his or her transition from home life to the turbulent world that is college -— anticipation to finally be on your own, excitement for the endless possibilities and even a sadness that stems from the inevitable homesickness that will set in.

However, one feeling that no one should ever have to experience is fear for his or her life. For students of Damascus University in Damascus, Syria, this fear became very tangible on Thursday.

This attack, reminiscent of a similar one at Aleppo University killing 90 students in January, took the lives of 15 students. As rebel groups continue to intensify their attacks on regime forces and the death toll of innocent citizens soars through the tens of thousands, it has become glaringly obvious to many that indifference in the light of such tragedies is a mistake we cannot afford to make. In response, the Syrian American Council is working with student activists across the country to hold candlelight vigils in solidarity with Syrian students affected by this travesty.

Students at Drake in respect to our responsible global citizenship — are no exception. This Thursday members of the Middle East Peace and Prosperity Alliance (MEPPA) will be hosting a candlelight vigil in Helmick Commons at 8:30 p.m., joining the likes of schools such as Arizona State University and University of Minnesota Twin Cities. All are encouraged to join in this short ceremony to remind ourselves that though thousands of miles separate us from these victims, we are neighbors in our fight against this continuing violence.

Our generation is no stranger to tragedy. We have been exposed to violence on scales that are unimaginable to others. There comes a time in all of our lives when indifference no longer becomes an option.

Though actions such as a moment of silence, a candlelight vigil, or a simple prayer may be small, when joined in solidarity with millions all over the world, the effect could be vast.

When indifference no longer becomes an option, action remains our only choice. As we remember the victims of Damascus University, as well as the numerous innocent victims throughout the Syrian conflict, let us remember that we are part of a global community that is larger than ourselves and it is our duty to act in a globally responsible way.

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