It’s been just over a week since the horror of the Paris attacks. My heart aches for the people of that beautiful, bright, vibrant city. May the people of Paris (and Mali and Brussels) rise to overcome this terrible wound with brave hearts.
In the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks, I began to read about Parisians taking to social media with messages of defiance, sharing smiling photos of themselves enjoying the city’s infamous outdoor street life: “Couscous les fous, on boit des coups!” #occupyterrasse #jesuisterrasse
My instant, knee-jerk reaction to this was – aren’t these blithe little messages a slap in the face to the dead, the injured, the grieving?
But instant reactions don’t always turn out to be the right reactions. And so I soon began to understand this edict for what it is: a legitimate and important way for people to begin healing, state their defiance of evil, begin to reclaim their beautiful city, and refuse to let fear drive them ever-inward.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction, I feel sure, that is causing some people and some governments to insist we all shut our doors to Syrian refugees. To insist we can only guarantee our own safety by keeping the “other” out lest a would-be terrorist slips in. Think deeper, however, and consider that this climate of fear and divisiveness is precisely what terrorist groups would have us do – turn inward, reject compassion in the face of fear and become complicit in creating a divided world in which terrorism can flourish.
I’m glad our government isn’t wavering. First reactions aren’t always the right ones.