Monday, November 16, 2015

Paris, November, 2015

Here’s how Fareed Zakaria closed his program Sunday morning:

“Paris is a city struck by terror and overwhelming grief but the City of Lights is resilient and it is already finding its way out of the dark.

Yesterday, outside the Bataclan Concert Hall where the deadliest of the attacks took place, a man began to play John Lennon’s “Imagine” on the piano as people grieved in the shadow of the carnage that had taken place just hours earlier.  Music and the human spirit were beginning to take back the city.  



This week, Parisians have asked in horror, “Why us again?”  Why Paris? Why France?”   There are many answers, of course, but one that I want to remind us all of is that France is, in fact, a symbol of liberty and freedom

Its revolution, its ideals, its thinkers, have been at the forefront of the struggle for the universal rights of men and women for centuries 

Paris has been a cosmopolitan city, drawing people from across the globe who see its beauty and affirm its values.  Paris has also been a place where art and music and culture have flourished freely, a magnet for the world’s greatest talents to come and live, and create and inspire,

And that song reminds us that in our darkest moments of despair.  Sometime it is only art that can fill the void and make us whole again.”

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Fareed Zakaria has also been the beacon of courage who has told us more than once that, by definition, the terrorist can only win if they succeed in making us fear.  If there is no terror, they lose.
   
I'm in love with the way Zakaria writes and wish I could string words together the way he does. But here’s what I have noticed:

Cities like London and Paris and Berlin are proudly multi-cultural.  Defiantly multi-ethnic, deliberately welcoming, they accept these risks.  As Londoners slept underground during the Blitzkrieg, they lived with daily hardship we can only imagine. Americans are sturdy people but Europeans are sturdy people of a different sort-- in a way Americans have never quite grasped, despite 9/11 and Katrina.

They continue to invite strangers to cross their city boundaries despite the cost. We stand with them in solidarity.  Yet we stand in awe.

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