I am still stunned! It has been almost six hours since a phone call from my daughter informed me of the terrorist attacks on Paris. I am still trying to make sense of it all. Perhaps writing the thoughts that are choking me will help assuage the turmoil. As I hear the news, read the headlines and see the disturbing pictures my mind travels to and fro. Is it really Paris? The Paris I have loved from the time I mouthed my first logical babble. How can I forget the fact that one of the first songs I sang was Josephine Baker’s J’ai deux amours:
J’ai deux amours
Mon pays et Paris
Par eux toujours
Mon cœur est ravi
which would translate as:
I have two loves
My country and Paris.
By them always
Is my heart ravished.
Even before I had laid my eyes on her, I had fallen in live with Paris. The seduction would be complete when I first saw her in all her glory. For the little 4 year old it was the Eiffel Tower, the beloved school on the tree lined avenue Georges Mandel, the inimitable Guignol of the Champs Elysees, the hot chestnuts eaten from a newspaper cone, the dinner at Maxim’s as a four year old, the walks along the Seine. That is not where it ended. I lived in that city as a child, went for my honeymoon and lived as married woman. Each sojourn has its own sets of sweet memories. And life has a way of coming full circle as my younger daughter would study in my very own school and my grandson loves the Guignol just like I did six decades ago. That the ties are indestructible is borne by the fact that my little grandchild is a French national. Paris is now family.
So the dastardly attacks on this beloved city have seared my very soul. My heart not only beats for Paris but bleeds for it today.
I know the resilience of Paris and the fact that it will bounce back. But the scars will remain rooted in anger, rage and incomprehension, a feeling I share.
Why! Why is the question one asks ones self in the wake of attacks on innocent people. And in whose name? That is when it goes all awry. God it is said. God who is meant to be omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, immutable merciful. Every religion has its own sets of qualities, many common. No religion I believe tells you to kill. And yet it is in His name that such barbaric acts are committed. Who gave us the right to say your God is better than mine. Not God. So is it man who in his megalomania has hijacked God to suits its wily agendas. As long as that is the case, there is no end in sight.
It is time we woke up and asked ourselves where have we gone wrong. And we have, as otherwise no human would pick up a gun and shoot another. Why are there so many young people who are willing to espouse such causes. What is it that draws them into such hateful pursuits. What is that void that we as a global society have not been able to fill with the right values. Who as gone wrong? Is it that some of us are so blinded by our hubris that we have forgotten to care for others who become easy prey for those who have understood that God is the best ploy to fulfil their wicked and cruel agendas. Wars in the mane of religion exist since time immemorial and no matter how much we have achieved, we have not been able to address this. As the rich grow richer and remote and the poor grow poorer and hopelessly desolate, we will breed hands that are ready to grab any straw that promises them hope and recognition however skewed.
It is time to wake up!
My heart beats and bleeds for Paris.
I am sure that God’s is too.