Boston Marathon tragedy offers chance to redefine ‘neighbor’

As the Boston Marathon tragedy developed on the screen of my MacBook Pro today, as I stared at the bloody photos, the scared spectators, I felt a wave of sympathy. As “Did you hear about Boston?” echoed through the academic and residence halls at Drake, I realized that the tragedy, though a shock, yields a new chance for me, for us, even from far away.

Why we need to redefine 'neighbor'

Courtesy of Central Intelligence Agency

Even as I mourn the Boston victims and hope for justice, I commit my own injustice. Namely, I never consider — let alone mourn — the bloodbath at my neighbors’ place in Syria. Though an ocean separates us, I hardly acknowledge that 70,000 Syrians have died since the war broke out in March 2011.

Clearly, it’s easy to feel sympathy for and mourn my Bostonian neighbors. I confess, though, it takes more effort to even be aware of my Syrian neighbors — let alone mourn the rampant deaths in that region.

As I say, “Oh, that’s incredibly sad!” when I read the latest Boston Marathon tragedy update, I pledge to guide my cursor to the “Syria” section of the “World” tab and pay some respect to my other neighbors, neighbors I have long ignored.

My grasp of the word “neighbor” needs an obvious overhaul.

Though my quest requires changes in my outlook and my America-centric news routine, I am ready to repeal my own injustice as my country seeks justice.

I hope the changes make me a more aware journalist and more importantly, a more aware global member and a more aware neighbor. Tonight, Boston and Syria, each a neighbor, hold my concern and my sympathy.

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