The papers this morning are full of the words of terror. Screaming sirens, police, tragedy, slaughter. The world is reeling from yet another horrifying terrorist attack. At approximately 9:45 PM on Friday November 13th, several coordinated attacks shocked Paris. 1500 soldiers were called to help secure the city and the borders were closed. Any news channel will give you the appalling details: seven attackers, heavily armed and wearing explosive belts targeted a concert hall, a sports stadium, restaurants and bars. Six places were targeted almost simultaneously, with at least 128 people dead, 80 in critical condition and hundreds wounded.
Waking up on a beautiful Saturday morning as the sun glints across a calm Charles, these events seem both far removed from our safe HBS campus bubble and paradoxically close. Writing this on the weekend, I don’t have access to class statistics on the number of French nationals on campus, but I do know this. We have all, regardless of where we come from, been touched by terrorism. The hurt and shock that our French students must be feeling will be the same as that felt by those from Iraq following the bombing in Baghdad on the 13th November which left 19 killed and 33 injured. The same as the Lebanese felt on the 12th November when two suicide bombers killed 43 and injured 240 on a roadside in Beirut.
The diversity of HBS is an amazing, rare thing. 38% of the Class of 2017 are international, representing 64 countries. Reach back in your mind to August. The incoming RC year sat in Burden hall while we were told repeatedly that we have one ‘precious life’ and that we should feel empowered to make an impact. For me, that impact starts with empathy as we support each other. Even though some of us are far from home, come from diverse backgrounds and hold different beliefs, we are all united by our community which truly is unique.
There is nothing I can write to make sense of the horrors that have unfolded in Paris, Iraq or Lebanon. I am guessing there is not much anyone on campus could. However as an HBS class we are empowered. Our small site off the Charles River is a concentrated microcosm of people striving to be future leaders and influencers. As we grow into those roles we should not forget our common humanity, the strength we gain from diversity and remain true to the values we are learning. Classes of 2016 & 2017: let us take a moment to reflect, honor the casualties and build strength as a community.
Terror Attacks in 2015
The Paris and Beirut attacks are the latest in a string of 2015 terrorism incidents. See below for a list of this year’s major terrorist attacks, most of which have been attributed to Islamist militants in the Middle East and Nigeria.[table id=1 /]