Sometimes I need to write because I can’t find anything to read that I truly agree with. Stands yes, broad points, often, but sometimes the only way to find a narrative you agree with, heart and soul, is to write one yourself. It might not be good, but it will be mine, in all its confusion. For confusion is all I feel today; confusion and the desire to cling to my beliefs, my faith in humanity.
The recent attacks in Paris were horrific and abhorrent. For a British-born European, living in Germany, having lived in France and studied French, it’s all too close to home.
This weekend, like so many others, I’ve poured over news articles, comments and statuses on Facebook, and I’ve discussed these shocking events with friends.
This weekend I’ve seen the best and worst that humanity has to offer; I’ve seen outpourings of sympathy, love and solidarity. I’ve seen hatred, racism and ignorance. And in every article or post I’ve seen that shows compassion, I’ve read the ugly comments that scare me almost as much as the attacks themselves.
Where do we go from here, I find myself wondering. Can the Pen be mightier than the Sword? Can we have dialogue, reporting and simple conversations that ensure, because we must ensure, that the World’s reaction to this is the right one. That wherever the World turns from here, it’s for the good of all. All.
No matter what I read and feel, I am, ultimately, guided by gut instincts that make me repel from some ideas and value others -an unconscious feeling about what is right and what is wrong. They are my road map through times like this when it is hard to know what to think.
I believe that it is right to treat all people equally. Full stop. All People. All Equal.
I believe it is right to offer shelter and protection to refugees fleeing war and persecution. The systems for doing it might be wrong, there might be elements that don’t work, but it will always be right to help others.
I believe in everyone’s right to try and better their life. If you could go somewhere and it would be better for you and your family, you’d do it.
I believe that all lives should be valued equally. Today, the 15th day of the month, there are 11 terrorist attacks listed as having already occurred in November 2015, somewhere around the world. This should not diminish our outrage and sadness following the Paris attacks, it’s our awareness of other such attacks that should be heightened. Paris is much closer to home and there are many people, myself included, who have friends in Paris. In that regard, it is different due to the personal connection many of us might feel with Paris and France. The bombings in Lebanon and Iraq this week are equally outrageous and abhorrent, that is all.
I believe it is right to believe in people and expect the best of everyone.
And, as for what I believe is wrong..: hatred, racism, prejudice. I believe it’s wrong to require people, particularly Muslim people, to respond to events like these in Paris in a certain way. Our reactions are a personal, not a religious, choice. I am choosing to write about this but choosing not to change my Facebook picture to a French flag. That is my choice. It is a fundamental right that many of us are trying to protect.
I think it is wrong to act as though some lives matter more. I fear the world won’t change until we overcome this.
I know living by this is hard. It would be lie to say I don’t find these beliefs challenged sometimes. However, I have clung to them this weekend, and find them to be essentially unswayable.
It is thanks to these beliefs that I can wade through the confusion caused by recent events and come to the conclusion that my thoughts are with everyone going to bed tonight in fear, in sadness and in grief. No matter where they are in world.
Paris, je t’aime et j’aime le reste du monde aussi.