A suspected terrorist attack on the British Parliament shocked the world on Wednesday, but the incident is frightening on another level than just the damage inflicted. One year ago Wednesday, the European community suffered another devastating attack that killed more than two dozen people and injured hundreds. The Parliament attack occurred one year after the Brussels bombings, and while the scope of the two incidents isn't the same, the fact that they happened exactly a year apart is a terrifying reminder of the state of the world today.
March 22 is now a day that will live in infamy for Europeans due to the dual attacks just a year apart. Last year, bombers hit the Brussels airport and Maelbeek central train station. 32 people, not including three of the perpetrators, were killed in the blasts, and at least 300 were injured. The five conspirators had Islamic State paraphernalia, and the group claimed credit for the attack. This year, thankfully, far fewer people were killed or injured. There are still no exact totals, but the highest estimates only put the injured at around 10 people and two deaths. There's no official motive this early after the incident, but the attacks could be completely unconnected.
However, there's a small but real possibility that the shared date of the two incidents isn't a coincidence. Though there's no concrete evidence yet that the Parliament attack was motivated by terrorism, the U.K.'s top investigative agency Scotland Yard is treating it as such until that motive can be ruled out. If the incident was intended as a terrorist attack, it could have been an intentional callback to last year's bombing.
Of course, it's important to remember that these incidents stand out in Western culture because they are so few and far between. The top 10 countries affected by terrorism are all in Africa or Western Asia, and the vast majority European countries had less than 50 attacks per year between 2000 and 2015. Compared to Iraq, the country with the highest rate of terrorist attacks in the world at over 1000 per year, Western countries live in safety that many other countries can only wish for. It's hardly comforting on a dark day like this, but it's also a crucial reminder for those who say these attacks mean that nations should shut their borders and distrust immigrants.
These attacks are a somber reminder of how much hate can exist in the world, but it can only be counteracted with acts of kindness and compassion. If anything, the U.K. attacks shows that not enough has been done to erase the causes of terrorism, like poverty and international discrimination, over the last year. Renewing your efforts to spread equality and peace is the only way to make sure these incidents don't continue to happen.