Je t’aime, Paris


I know it’s been too long since I posted here and I know I don’t ever post political things here, but I would be remiss not to say something about the terrible things that happened in Paris last night.

If you know me personally, you know how much I love Paris. I have been lucky enough to have visited Paris twice in my life. I have spent a total of three weeks in that city and, honestly, it’s not enough. Paris is one of those magical places you fantasize about but when you get there, it actually lives up to those fantasies.

It is beautiful and inspiring. The people are wonderful and kind. There is this idea that Paris is snobby and they look down on Americans, but I tell you, I’ve never been to such a polite and patience place as is Paris. The smiles, the “please” and “thank you” and “until we meet again!” that echoes everywhere is lovely.

When the attack happened in January I watched in horror and panic. We had friends in Paris that morning and, though we knew the chances were slim that anything had happened to them, we worried. But last night? My heart stopped. No friends or family were in Paris, but that didn’t mean anything. I was watching something horrible happen, not just in a place I love, but just something horrible in the world we now live in.

I understand the panic and the anger we all feel. I understand in some parts of the country people get news in different ways, sometimes those ways are biased and may stoke the fires of intolerance. I know some people will think, because I live in California, my news is all liberal and tree-hugging. But it’s not. I don’t take the news from just one source, but some people do. I just want to remind you that ISIS, like the Westboro Baptist Church, like the KKK, like so many other radicals, is not the whole, not the sole representation of the Muslim faith and community.

I don’t know any Muslims personally. But I was curious about the faith and I took time to read about it, not from any church website, but to understand the principle beliefs and no, ISIS is not representative of what I’ve learned. I doubt any of my readers who may be Christian would ever stay the WBC represents what they believe. And I think a lot of people would be surprised to find many similarities in their own faith in the Muslim faith. I think people forget how similar most religions are, we just all speak different languages so it seems like belief systems must be totally different. They’re not.

So, I understand your anger and your fear, but don’t let people convince you to become intolerant and  abusive to people who are also victims of this hate group. Remember, ISIS is killing Muslims too – they kill those who do not adopt their ideological hate. ISIS wants us, everyone, to help with their goals. Don’t help them. Help each other.

John Scalzi said it quite well and I urge you to read more things like this in the coming weeks: Paris.

Je t’aime, Paris. Nous sommes tous Parisians. À bientôt!