I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about yesterday’s attacks in Paris, but am struggling to figure out the words to use when all I want to do is post a string of expletives when not choking back tears. This is 2015, almost 2016. Our world should be more civilized than this. When Tim McVeigh killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1994, I swear the world stood sill, but, rather than stopping, terrorist attacks have become more and more common. Our world is going backward, not forward. Why the hell is this happening? I don’t know, nor do I have any suggestions of how to stop it. Starting more wars isn’t solving anything, but doing nothing doesn’t feel right either. Can this even be stopped, or is threat of attack a part of our lives that we have to accept?
When things like this happen, we all struggle to make sense of it, but the reality is there is no sense that can be made when there’s none to be had. Terrorism isn’t an act of religion or of politics. Terrorism is an act of hate. For every one person who uses any given religion to justify their cruelty, there are many, many more who are either at least neutral, if not drawing from their religion inspiration to do good.
I know the claims that religion is entirely pointless and can never do good, but can it not be said that, even if religious texts are fiction, that a great many people have been inspired by fiction? Islam is no different than any other (and the Bible contains just as many, if not more, references to the same negative things that the Quran is often blasted for). We can easily forget that the coordinated slaughter of 6,000,000 under the Nazi regime was headed up by a devout Christian since that happened before most of us were born, whereas modern attacks such as 9/11 and yesterday’s attack are events we experienced. The reality is any religion can be used for good or bad, and it’s dangerous to let the actions of fringe lunatics color our view of the countless more who are just trying to live their lives without hurting anyone. Don’t let the attacks by freak-terrorists result in an entire group of innocent people being punished. The innocents in their religion are hurt in this too.
The innocent Islamic people are hurt, France is frightened, and the world is furious that more attacks have happened, more inexcusable murder. Rather than letting religion drive a wedge between people, we need to unite against the people who are choosing to do this. They only represent themselves, no one else.
Regardless, at least 150 families are left devastated today, and who knows how many more are traumatized.
Though the US and France have had a love-hate relationship going back hundreds of years, I think it’s safe to say #JeSuisFrance is appropriate today, for *all* of us, regardless of heritage or of religion. As those of us in the US know, coordinated terrorism attacks can make the word feel tiny and frightening. To those of you in France today: The world really is big and full of nice people. You aren’t alone in this. America and the world have got your back.