ISIS & Paris Attacks: Why I'm Still Going to Greece

November 15, 2015 ~ Demetra Szatkowski

I have spent a few days mulling this over. Sorting through feelings, panic, my tendency toward anxiety, fears (both real and imagined), but mostly still just feeling like I really want to help.

It’s easy to be scared, that’s the truth. It would be much easier for me to say what if Greece gets attacked next and what if when I have my layover in Paris something happens and what if something bad happens on the island and I have no way to leave. I can create a lot of stories inside my head.

But.. I have been working on these “what ifs” for a while now, in every area of my life. And for me, what it comes down to is this: I do not want to live a life based in fear.

I understand that there are risks in going to Greece to help the refugees. But these people are running from the same thing I want to avoid. And I don’t think I have it in me to turn my back and stay in America where I feel like I’m safe.

ISIS wants us to be divided. Terrorists thrive on fear. If we all turn our backs and group people together by saying “oh, the refugees and ISIS are the same” or “oh they want to hurt us” or “we can’t help them because we might hurt ourselves” I think that does not at all contribute to humanity.

Humanity right now is hurting.

I simply cannot put the problems in Europe aside and try to focus instead on making my own life a success when I know there are people running from war who are struggling to even survive. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want my life to be so much more important than other human lives just because we grew up in different places and because of the color of my skin.

Is there risk in Greece? Probably, at least a little bit. But I don’t not go to college because of all the school shootings in America and I don’t avoid movie theaters or big cities or marathons because of all the tragedies that have happened here. And so I do not think it is very fair to say I’m not going to go because over there, things will seem a lot more real to me than they do here.

I do not want to live a life that is based on fear. I do not want to live in a bubble. I will have a very unsatisfying life if I just sit around worrying about the bad things on the news and when those bad things will come to where I live.

We can all give something, whether it’s our physical presence, our money, or even just the sharing of real information. Search it out. Look for those groups of people who aren’t affiliated with some big organization that’s not truly helping. Look for information that is coming from people who are there instead of mainstream media.

I am at a time in my life where I have been questioning everything I thought to be true so much that it has become totally impossible to know what I believe or what I think is real or what my life means or any of that.

And so I hold tightly to the one thing I know to be true right now which is that I do not want to live in a way where I feel fearful of other people and fearful of the world.

And so I am going. On Wednesday. xo