It has taken me days to figure out what I want to say about Paris. It reminds me of the terror attacks of 9/11. I remember exactly where I was when I found out about those planes. Paris didn’t hit me quite as hard, I’m going to say it’s because I know Paris is historically strong. They can look at buildings that withstood bombs – and remember their home is Paris. The city of light. The city of love. A city of great art and culture. And when they remember who they are – I will celebrate with them.
The rest of the world, I see a lot of lashing out in anger. Rejecting refugees and spouting hateful words. And I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken that there are families desperate to escape danger and now face more persecution. I am heartbroken that many in American leadership have forgotten the statue of liberty – given to us by the French no less, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” [italics added for emphasis]
As much as I hurt, I am angry. I am angry at the people who are ignoring what these terrorists have said: they commit these attacks to CAUSE an islamaphobic backlash. They do this to further disenfranchise young people (specifically men) and then offer them things like “glory” and “salvation” to grow their ranks.
Imagine this: You are hungry, tired – you see your family being abused, starved, and treated with cruelty. ESPECIALLY if you are a 15-18 year old who hasn’t finished processing raging (pun intended) hormones. On top of the USUAL teenage frustrations you are beaten. Your mother or sisters are ridiculed or attacked. You are afraid. And then someone says there is a fix – a way to defeat those “evil” attackers. Someone tells you if you come to them and help them fight your family will be granted love, acceptance, and care (in heaven if not on earth). Then once in the ranks you are surrounded by equally frustrated people and you are given a target. Those people who beat you. Beat your mother. Abused your sister… and the cycle continues.
I won’t help the terrorists. I will fight for the refugees to be given love and comfort with every ounce of my being. I will fight to include them in our processes and our politics and our pains. Because at the end of the day my Muslim cousins need as much compassion as everyone else who is afraid.