A note at the site of a suicide bomb explosion in Istanbul, Turkey, 21 March 2016. (EPA/Tolga Bozoglu)

By Ally Oh

We’re always told to look for the good — the silver lining, the upside, the half-full glass — but it’s not always that easy or simple.

On a recent weekend, listening to a heartbroken Turkish girl cry and yell at everyone in the bathroom to get out, I didn’t see any good at all. We were all in Luxembourg to participate in the Global Issues Network Conference. The theme of the year was Caring For Humanity: Our Duty.

Caring for the environment? Caring for humanity?” the girl yelled. “What about human decency? What about not bombing my home?”

I found out later that on that Saturday, an Islamic State suicide bomber had killed three Israelis and one Iranian in Istanbul. Our conference had several schools from Turkey, and I can’t even begin to imagine the heartbreak and panic they felt when they found out.

I’m afraid that I’m beginning to become desensitized to the tragedies that strike all around the world. When I got home from the conference and brought up the topic of the Turkish bombings, my host mom asked me how that news was different from any other day’s news, and then asked me to pass the pepper.

Will I become used to the senseless violence?

I’ve been thinking about what she said. I was in Paris during the recent attacks, but was lucky enough to return home unharmed. When I got back, I expected to have to reassure my host mom of my safety, just as I had done for my family and friends in America and my classmates in Rennes.

Instead, she told me that I should start a load of laundry.

Over dinner that night, she told me that when you’ve lived long enough, and seen enough, you stop being surprised about what terrible things human beings can and will do.

Is it true? Will I become used to the senseless violence, the hatred and the terror I see in the world?

One side of me wishes that I would, so that it would stop hurting every time I read more news about another bombing or another shooting. But I also know that it is important to remember that even though there are people in the world who are doing terrible things, there are always people who do incredible and selfless acts too.

If we allow ourselves to be desensitized to the all the bad, the good will stop motivating us as well.

A few days later, the news reached me that Brussels has been attacked.

aohAlly Oh is a high school student from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who is currently studying abroad in Rennes, France with School Year Abroad. She is a passionate writer and reader, and would like to pursue a career in publishing. She loves France and records her adventures on her blog.

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