Students gathered in tribute to victims of recent terror attacks

Sussex reacts to the recent tragedies in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad

Over 100 students stood in Library Square on Monday to pay tribute to the victims of terror attacks in Paris, Beirut and Baghdad.

A group of students organised the vigil ten days after the Paris attacks to show stand in solidarity with those affected.

Everyone attending was invited to light a candle and place it at the foot of the Christmas tree, which was decorated with lights just in time for the event. The mood was one of respect, solidarity, and strength over fear. Once the candles were placed, the students organising the events gave speeches in English, French and Arabic, then invited others to come forward and speak. The organisers of the event were a group of three undergraduate students including our own Tab writer, Tarooj Anwar.

In his moving speech, he said: “In a terrorised state of mind, we might find it easier to hate.

“We stand together. We show that we are different from terrorists. The attacks in these three cities prove that the perpetrators do not distinguish between Muslim, Christian, Parisian or Baghdadi.

“They do not see the innocence of those who they have attacked. They divide the world into ‘us’ and them. But we don’t. We do not see the world through the narrow lenses that they use. We do not see people as defined merely by their Gods, by the colour of their skin, or by the language they speak. Our values do not weaken in the face of terror.

“We show defiance. Where they seek to divide us, we stick together. Where they want to cause fear, we show solidarity. Where they want to disrupt life, we remember that life goes on.”

Tarooj (right) with his fellow organisers

After the speeches, rock music from Eagles of Death Metal, who were playing at the Bataclan nightclub in Paris on the night of the attack, rang out across campus. As the sun set, three paper lanterns were set off into the sky as an act of commemoration.

The third lantern caused a stir when it got stuck in the Christmas tree, leaving students wondering whether the whole tree would go up in flames, but thankfully it eventually ascended without incident.

Tarooj said: “I’m just glad I didn’t burn the Christmas tree down. The sigh of relief at the end made it all the more memorable.”