Not that there’s anything wrong with showing solidarity or as a symbol of unity and love in a crisis such as France is carrying right now.
Not that I don’t love Paris. I do, and am lucky enough to have had a few wonderful and wonder-filled times there. I love the culture and the café’s and of course the regality of that tall tower. Not that I don’t feel for the French. I do and have friends who live there forever and whom I was so grateful to see checked into the Safe in Paris Attack app.
I do love Paris. And I too, am desperately sad about the ruthless and merciless killings that have happened there.
I also love Beirut. I do, and am lucky enough to have spent time in that beautiful city where the white snow-capped mountains have at their feet, the clear blue of the Mediterranean. Where the people love and live LIFE in uppercase and you don’t have to go far to find a chocolatier and a beauty parlor side by side. The Lebanese, they get it – regardless of the turbulent past and a devastating civil war that lasted too long. These are some of the finest and most hospitable people on the planet.
So, I have to ask myself, why is the outcry against ISIS in Paris so much more vocal and visible than the outcry against ISIS in Beirut? I myself posted a prayer for the people of Paris and kept quiet the day before when suicide bombers killed 43 and wounded 239 in Beirut. Ouch!
Was it because mainstream coverage of the Middle East attack was minimal – every day blasé and passed off with a shrug and an almost-not-again sigh. As are the killings in Bagdad and Burundi. And Zimbabwe and South Africa, Nigeria and Sudan. Maybe not all terrorist related but devastating loss of life, nonetheless. Each one of those that died, someone’s daughter or someone’s son. Mother, brother, uncle, girlfriend, best friend. Here today, gone tomorrow. Yes even those that bombed and shot and maimed and then took their own cheap lives along with a whole lot of others. They too were born and belonged once. Who knows their stories and how they got to the place where “ my ideology, worldview, religion ranks so much higher than yours and therefore I’m going to wipe out the collective you so mine can move up the ladder and gain more status than yours.” Who knows how or why their minds became so depraved, so callous that life loses all its value? Even their own.
Whatever, however, whoever the religion and politics pursuing the people of today. Much of which is so complicated I have no clue, but simplistically, doesn’t it all boil down to “us and them” in a world so fragmented and foreign we’ve forgotten to identify our own neighbours.
The ones we’ve alienated and failed to love or even like, living and moving right next door. Simply because they are Black or White, Christian or Muslim, Straight or Gay, Recluse or Socialite.
Oh God have mercy on us all. This, us, my mankind that you created in your image – that of unity and love. How far we’ve strayed from your goodness and mercy and selflessness. How far we’ve walked away from what is right and what is kind. Help me, help us.. please, to see the value and worth of each other. All the time. Regardless.
Now, if there was a flag representing all the peoples of the world, every tribe and every nation – that one I would fly with true conviction not only across my profile picture but from my roof racks and roof top. Standing solidarity and reminding me to think of all the peoples of the world who are having it hard and hurting right now. And to remind me that even if I feel powerless to stop ISIS in Cairo and the murderers in Cape Town, I can still show up and in some small way, help to change the day (week, life) of those around me.
And that flag would certainly carry the colours of kindness.