A new way to catfish, and tragedy in Baghdad

Remember when being “catfished” meant that you were the victim of an online seduction hoax?

If you don’t, just ask Manti Te’o about it.

Well, forget that MTV-like kerfuffle, because thanks to one diabolical Nashville Predators fan, the term has taken on a whole new meaning.

In case you didn’t hear this story, for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Predators and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, a hockey devotee named Jake Waddell, of Ohio, decided to:

  • Purchase a catfish
  • Refrigerate it to keep it from rotting
  • Transport it to Pittsburgh from Ohio
  • Flatten it with his truck to reduce its size
  • Store it in between two layers of underwear to gain entry with it into the arena
  • Wait for his opportunity to be near the glass surrounding the ice
  • Throw catfish

Catfish iceThrowing catfish onto the ice is a common practice at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. If you think it’s weird, note that in Detroit, they throw octopi.

The fan was then promptly ejected and charged with three misdemeanors.

But the conviction and dedication that this fan showed to complete his scheme is definitely worthy of rebranding the term “catfishing.” Especially when it’ previously accepted definition was pretty dumb to begin with. Bravo sir.

But let’s move from Nashville to Baghdad. The two epicenters of country music.

While everyone is still grieving and mourning the Manchester terrorist attacks, it’s easy to forget that terrorist attacks happen with even greater frequency in the East than the West. In the past several days alone, terrorist attacks by ISIS have caused double digit casualties in Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The attack in Baghdad on Tuesday occurred at a popular ice cream shop, where parents with their kids often visit, especially during Ramadan to break their fast. More than 30 people were killed.

Baghdad ice cream

This tragedy has barely been mentioned in the U.S., even though, like Manchester, it resulted in the death of innocent children who were just doing things that kids like to do. Instead of going to a pop concert, they were eating ice cream.

Now I’m not going to judge anyone for the fact that one attack received publicity over another, or scrutinize why that happens in the first place, I just wanted to make sure that people who didn’t get the chance to hear about it are now aware.

Speaking of Manchester, Ariana Grande has responded to terror in a big way, first posting an inspiring message on social media, and then announcing that she will beAriana Grande returning to the city this Sunday alongside Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Pharrell Williams, Usher and more for a benefit concert for the victims’ families.

We will never stop terror. But we we can do is show that it will cause us to live in fear.

When terror happens, we come back with even greater kindness than we showed before the attack.

Terrorists may accomplish their goal of ending lives, but they will never achieve their desire of breaking us down as human beings.

And more importantly, they will never stop us from living in a world where a man can freely walk into a hockey arena and toss a catfish onto the ice.

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Pray for Paris. But pray for Baghdad and Beirut, too.

The world remains grief-stricken over the bloody events in Paris on Friday night, details of which have begun to surface over the last 48 hours. The death toll has risen to 132, and many more remain seriously injured.

Residents of the French city have crowded around memorials dedicated to the victims, still in a state of shock and apprehension, as evidenced by multiple false alarms on Sunday that caused mourners to run in terror of a repeat attack.

The nation wasted no time responding. French warplanes have bombed Raqqa, the self-proclaimed capital of ISIS in Syria, making it clear that the world is on the brink of war, in some capacity.

Sympathizers worldwide have taken to Facebook to show their solidarity, which has allowed users to overlay their profile pictures in the colors of the French flag.

Beirut attack

Mourners in Beirut, Lebanon

Some disturbing rhetoric has manifested from people who crave justice. Many, like Republican presidential candidates, are blaming so-called lax policies during the migration crisis for the attacks, failing to comprehend that the people who are escaping Syria are fleeing from the very same thing that Parisian bystanders ran away from on Friday night. Others are unabashedly pointing to strict gun control laws in Paris as a contributor to the tragedy.

When unprecedented, tragic events like this unfold, it becomes easy to trick yourself into thinking that nothing else in the world is happening. That everything else stands still and that we should all focus our attention towards this one thing and one thing only.

But that would be a mistake. Because in the process, you’d be ignoring tragedies that happened in other parts of the world this weekend.

On Thursday, a suicide bomb at a funeral in Baghdad killed at least 17 and wounded 33. On Friday, the same day as the Paris attacks, suicide bombers in Beirut killed 43 and wounded 239. Both attacks, which ISIS has taken credit for, were targeting Shiites, which the Sunni terrorist organization sees as heretics.

The death tolls of both pale in comparison to that of Paris’s, but if the overlying message people have been declaring this weekend is that an attack on innocent civilians anywhere is an attack on all of humanity, than why should that matter?

Honoring Beirut hero, Adel Termos

Honoring Beirut hero, Adel Termos

The mass media is partly to blame, which has been focusing nearly all of its coverage towards Paris, and therefore impeding news of the Baghdad and Beirut bombings from reaching the general public.

An Indian blogger, Karuna Ezara Parikh, took to Twitter to voice her frustration over this disparity in attention by writing a beautiful poem that has been shared by thousands.

Ignoring these two deadly incidents also means ignoring one Lebanese victim of the Beirut attack, Adel Termos, who, while out with his daughter, tackled a suicide-bomber before he could enter a mosque, potentially saving hundreds of lives. The bomber detonated his vest in the struggle, killing himself and Termos. He’s a hero. There are mixed reports as to whether his daughter survived.

Everybody should know his name. Adel Termos.

Where’s the option on Facebook to drape your profile picture in Lebanese colors, some have lamented. Others point to the skin color of the victims resulting in the unbalanced coverage.

I think it’s inappropriate to compare the scale of these attacks to one another, or use them to fuel your own political bias. However, besides the higher number of casualties in Paris, it’s easy to understand why it’s getting more attention. It’s an iconic city that many people have visited and fallen in love with. A place of beauty and rich history. It’s among the most glamorous cities in the world.

The same cannot be said, unfortunately, about Baghdad and Beirut, two cities mired in the ever-worsening turmoil ongoing in the Middle East.

Pray for Paris, indeed, but pray for Baghdad and Beirut, too.

All three were attacks on humanity, in different parts of the world.

All three should bring us together as one.