Annamaria on Monday
But why did I care so much?
Is it the slaughter of innocents that moved me? Or that it happened in Paris? It took some soul searching to figure that out.
Paris! Beloved Paris! The name has been a symbol for me my whole life. Its physical beauty. Its sophistication. Its society—its artists, the writers, the history that has happened there.
Paris was the first city I went to on my first trip abroad. Here is what it (and David and I) looked like in July of 1973:
|This is David in Rome, not Paris, but I wanted to show|
off how gorgeous he was. He was the better photographer too.
If you have been young and in love and in Paris for the first time in your life, its myth, its romance become indelibly burned into your psyche.
I have since found other places to love even more: Rome—more beautiful to my eyes. Siracusa—magical beyond belief. The African wilderness—thrilling on cellular level. New York—my first city-love, exciting even after fifty years of living here.
But to me and to all those loving, wonderful people who have in the past few days changed their Facebook photos to the tricolore, Paris is still PARIS!
Then, my mind dragged me back to the truth about the slaughter of the innocents: That it is happening constantly all over this beautiful planet.
You can look here to find out how bad it is—if you can stand it: Wikipedia list of Terrorist Attacksin 2015.
Let me summarize the article for you: Looking at just this year, there have been terrorist events almost every single day in some part of the world. Wikipedia uses boldface to highlight any that kill more than 20 people. The attack last Friday on Paris was the 68th killing to earn a boldface entry on this year’s list. The famous attack on Charlie Hebdo is not in boldface—twelve died that day in Paris. On that same January 7th, Boko Haram was finishing up a five-day mass massacre of 2000+ innocents in Baga, Borno State in Nigeria. No one, not one person changed his Facebook picture to the green and white of the Nigerian flag. Those Boko Haram monsters have killed 3198 innocents in forty-three separate attacks so far this year, to say nothing of how many they have maimed or raped or kidnapped. They have twenty boldfaced notches on their Wikipedia belt.
On April 1st, at Garissa University in gorgeous Kenya, six to ten Al-Shabaab gunmen separated the Christians from the Muslims before executing one hundred and forty-seven Christians, and wounding another seventy-nine. Did you see the Kenyan flag on Facebook that day? Neither did I.
Five weeks ago, Islamic State suicide bombers attacked a peace rally in Ankara, Turkey, killing 102 and wounding 508.
And in Beirut, less than forty-eight hours before the Paris attack last Friday, an Islamic State bomber blew up a bicycle loaded with explosives. When people nearby ran to the aid of the wounded, another suicide attacker detonated himself to finish them all off. The toll: forty-three dead, 240 wounded. Here is what the Lebanese flag looks like, in case you haven’t seen it lately.
What these ignored slaughtered innocents have in common is that they did not live in Paris. Nor did they look like Europeans. The little girls did not look like Alice in Wonderland. The young men did not resemble Robert Redford. The Christians killed in Kenya looked nothing like the sainted martyrs who died in the Coliseum.
To borrow a phrase from another source of outrage: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
I would like to enlist your help is fighting this subtle form of racism. Pay attention. Be aware when innocents are slaughtered ANYWHERE in the world. And then, talk about it. Post their flag on Facebook. Tweet the statistics. Express your anger and upset. Let’s help one another learn to feel outrage at the slaughter of innocents, even if they don’t live in a romantic dream city or look anything like us.