Jan. 7, 2015: The day that France was attacked by Islamic terrorists. Four gunmen broke into the famous Charlie Hebdo magazine and shot 12 of the working editors and cartoonists.

The death of these 12 innocents struck anger and passion in a great number of the First World countries on the planet. There were protests worldwide, where “Je suis Charlie” emerged as a cry for freedom of speech.

Since 9/11, no terrorist attack has hit home so hard.

Jan. 7, 2015: Devastating satellite images are released from the attack on Doro Baga, Nigeria. Boko Haram, an Islamist terrorist group, raided homes and shot innocent villagers. Those who could run fastest lived, while the elderly and the young were shot as they fled. It is an estimated 2,000 casualties from this attack.

Two thousand innocent people murdered by the same enemy as was France. And where were we?

Where were the anger and the passion then? Where were the signs, rallies and inspirational speeches about freedom? Where were the tears for those who couldn’t run fast enough?

We shout out our sympathies for our brothers and sisters in Europe: those who look like us, act like us, and live like us. What of those who don’t? What of those who have different skin, eyes and hair than us? Are they not our brothers, too?

Remember the Paris attacks. Remember how it felt to see our fallen friends, and the fire that rose from it. But let us not allow the sentiments of “Je suis Charlie” to stop with France. Let us carry that torch forward to protect those who can not protect themselves, and to share our passion with everyone.

Let us change “Je suis Charlie” to “Je suis humain” (I am human).

Alexandra Swaney

Cumberland