The importance of the vigil

By Ben Bull

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Justin Surgent/Collegian

We all mourn and grieve in different ways. Some of us prefer the silence of prayer, others the comforting laughter of friends. Some others greatly prefer taking the opportunity to release all the pent-up frustration and rage that has been stored inside. Essentially, there are many reactions that one might feel about a tragedy, such as the one that recently occurred in Boston. However, there is no “right way” to mourn or grieve. Though it can be difficult to incorporate such a vast expanse of emotions in a single event, the vigil that was held at the University of Massachusetts on Tuesday night was meant as a chance for all types of people to come together and express their feelings in whichever manner was best suited to each individual. The important thing was that we had a chance to come together as a community and show our support and solidarity. Naturally, in a large community there always will be differing opinions and approaches to issues that we are confronted with today.

I understand and truly hear those who wished that the night had not taken on an overtly political tone. I, too, wished for a night where we could pay respects to the victims of the bombing and focus on hoping for the healing of a city. However, the unfortunate and regrettable reality is that all tragedies are politicized. The bombings became politicized the moment the explosions ripped through innocent spectators. The bombings became politicized the moment it was reported that a Saudi national was tackled to the ground as he ran in sheer panic and in fear of the bombings. The bombings became politicized the moment media outlets such as Fox News, CNN, MSNBC and other prominent news sources debated over President Barach Obama not calling Monday’s incident a “terrorist attack” in his speech. Sadly, such is the reality and we cannot ignore the situation. We must be cognizant of the fact that all things are political, no matter how much one may wish otherwise.

So while we must pray for the victims of the bombings and the city of Boston, we must also pray for the future. In the wake of the bombings, I witnessed people uniting, but I also saw people trying to be divisive; people were resorting to old stereotypes and old fears. I do not want this bombing to lead to further violence in an already violent world. I do not think any of us truly want this bombing to lead to hate and bigotry when there is already so much in this society of ours. Those who wish to use the bombings in Boston to promote an ideology fueled by hate and fear were quick to work minutes after the attack.

The night of the vigil, I was so proud to be a UMass student. The days to come will be trying for us all. As new information comes to light, opinions will only become more heated and contested. April 15 will only become more politicized. But we must always remember the victims and we must always remember the good in humanity. Let us not go down the easy road of letting fear and hate guide our decisions; instead, let love and respect for all human life win the day.

Benjamin Bull is a Collegian contributor. He can be reached at [email protected].