A horrible terrorist attack befell our French allies in six different locations in Paris on the evening of Nov. 13, where 129 people were killed and 352 people were admitted into hospitals with serious injuries.
In the few days following the attacks, my Facebook news feed became a sea of blue, white and red profile pictures, mine included, and headlines of new speculations over how and why this happened. For a few brief moments, I saw the humanity and unity of the world against evil.
I found my photo album of my 2011 trip to Paris and remembered the beautiful city of love fondly, mourning how the loved ones of those killed and injured must feel, as we felt in 2001.
Now with the event almost a month behind us, I have come to a sad realization as the profile overlays of the French flag have slowly come down, the Eiffel tower cover photos, peace signs and #prayforparis hashtags on Instagram fade away. The news shifts to other incidents in our chaotic world and I am reminded of this: our memories are short and our opinions are innumerable.
It makes me sick to hear and see some of the things that have been said about these attacks. I have heard comments about how the French have never stood up for the United States, how the rest of the world is in chaos and France does not deserve the publicity, we are only worried about France because they look like us, and President Obama’s comment about what happened to France being “a set back.”
I deleted my Facebook app on my phone because I could not take all of the ignorant comments.
May I remind those who have so little compassion for our allies, though we may joke about them and make comments about where they are in wartime, they fought with us in war, including the American Revolution, which established us as a nation on this planet. One of our nation’s greatest symbols of liberty was a gift from France. If it was not for them, America may not even exist. We fought beside them in World War I and II. When the Twin Towers were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, France mourned with us and made the statement, “Nous sommes tous Américains,” meaning “We are all Americans.”
Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Jacques Chirac, the president of France, released his statement supporting us.
“…In these appalling circumstances, the whole French people — I want to say here — is beside the American people,” Chirac said. “France expresses its friendship and solidarity in this tragedy. Of course, I assure President George Bush of my total support. France, you know, has always condemned and unreservedly condemns terrorism and considers that we must fight against terrorism by all means.”
Mourn and pray for the others around the world who are suffering. While those commenting are correct about the rest of the world needing just as much prayer and attention, do not diminish one evil act just because another happened somewhere else. They are all terribly tragic and each incident seen families and friends burying loved ones and dealing with the fear and confusion all of us once felt.
If the U.S. does not stand by them in this and help them during this time, how does that reflect on us? We will take sorrow, empathy, aid and support but we will not provide it to the people who gave it graciously to us? I hope that is not who we have become.
Whether you believe their publicity is due to them “looking like us” or not, these people are our friends and, more importantly, our allies. We made a commitment to protect one another and stand together in times of peace and of grief. Right now, “we are all French.” Do not become callous, as many have, to how truly devastating this is and how important this act of terrorism is to our friends.
This is not the end to these attacks and if something like this happens to us again, we would not want the rest of the world talking about us the way some are talking about them on social media.