Claire Bens is a junior at Ohio University, majoring in political and global studies, focusing on peace and war. Claire is currently studying in Hyderabad, India at the Universidad Hyderabad.
One of the deterrents to students studying abroad and to Americans travelling is fear, this fear that at terrible thing like a terrorist attack, a plane crash, or a kidnapping could happen while you are a tourist. But here is my two cents, the chances of those things happening to you when you travel are the same chances you take every day you walk out your door. Of course there are ways to decrease the likelihood of such an unfortunate event, we make choices to protect ourselves everyday, but we also make decisions that threaten our health and safety. So I ask you this, if we, as a society, try to protect ourselves from every danger in the world, how are we ever supposed to experience the world?
Now, I would feel amiss if I did not devote this blog post to the recent terrorist attacks in Hyderabad. Terrorism is a horrible act of evil, especially because it leaves a population with no one to blame, no justice, and a terrible sense of fear, thus its name. Terrorism is defined as an act of violence by a non-state actor, in which civilians (or non-combatants) are the victims, and the cause of the attack is political in nature. Political grounds for terrorism are varied and range from right wing to eco-terrorism and religious fundamentalism. The common thread of all terrorism is the panic it produces.
This was no different in the recent attacks in Dilsukh Nagar, a neighborhood just outside the central city of Hyderabad. On Thursday February 22 at 7 PM (IST), twin explosions mounted on bicycles detonated in this crowded quarter of the city, killing 16 and injuring dozens more. The chaos that ensued following the attack was horrific. However, politicians and groups that used the tragedy to try to spread political messages and slogans made the despicability of the situation worse. Without want of sounding too much like a Beatles song, I believe that the only thing this act of evil should inspire in people is community, not hate or divisiveness. This is not to say that collective action was absent, in fact, my campus held a peace walk the following day.
I specifically prefaced my discussion of this act of terrorism with my opinion on fear of travel to make a point. I was bombarded with loving concern for my safety after the attack that made me feel blessed, but also with concern about how I was going to conduct myself in order to avoid terrorism. Terrorism cannot be avoided, it is clandestine, and that is why it rouses fear. Yes, we live in a dangerous world, but closing yourself off to new experiences is the quickest way to take your life.
So you could fall off the side of a mountain and die, or you could fall off your couch and die. But the view from the mountain would be better last sight.