A Nation in Shock
Read Time: 10 minutes
Hello. Today's post is a social commentary on the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
It was January 7th, a Wednesday, just after lunchtime, when I first learned of the attacks.
I was in shock, being a former journalist, my heart sank for my fellow field mates. I have friends and known aquaintances, who have reported from the fields, so I/we understand the risk involved. Yet, for it to happen in broad daylight, inside their news bureau, where they (I shant name them) proceeded to seperate the employees, then specifically call their victims forward was pure and simple, evil. This attack was allegedly to avenge an insult to the prophet Mohammed. Charlie Hebdo is a satirical weekly newspaper, that pokes fun at politics, religion, people, in fact, any of those hot button issues that causes people to react. And react, the nation of France did.
French people believe that this deadly attack, was in fact, an attack on the freedom of speech. Yes, absolutely, I understand their point of view, however the journalist in me keeps asking the deeper questions. I know and believe that terrorism does not have to make sense, yet there seems to be more questions than answers and I am curious and waiting to know the consquences (political platforms, laws, another war, etc.) of this event.
This attack has also created a dialogue among the masses who marched against terrorism in every major city across the country last Sunday. In Paris, you inevidentablely saw a photo op of world leaders standing together, cropped out of the photo was the heavily armed military surrounding them (understandable, of course) meanwhile France's people took to the streets and stood unified while holding signs that read, "Je suis Charlie" and "Not afraid."
In Bordeaux, my city, more than 120,000 people came together in solidarity to stand-up for freedom and unity. It was a beautiful display of a true and great nation.
That said, no, I did not attend because I chose not to. Obviously, I do not support terrorism, not one iota.
What was more shocking to me was the two-thousand people killed in Nigeria, the "deadliest massacre," says Amnesty International carried out by a replusive terrorist group. Nobody seemed interested in that. How can I, standing in a huddled mass, like a sheep being herded, truly make a difference against something I or 'world leaders' can not control? That is what I am attempting to answer. At times, everything seems pointless and irrelevant, yet despite of this, I am full of hope.
Therefore, like my fellow countrymen and women, I shall symbolically march proudly forward and not be afraid. Yet, I am trepidacious of the consquences of this unspeakable act and I wonder how it will impact my everyday life.
Here are a couple of things that I have already experienced:
I have seen armed military forces and police on stand-by, near popular places throughout my city. They are poised, arm in hand, waiting for something that may or may not happen. This I find odd and honestly, I do not feel safe, even though they are positioned for our safety. Personally, I find it jarring. They are hidden in plain view, so when I am walking around, focused solely on my destination and I see them, I am immediately snapped into a 'everyone is out to get me' mental state. It is a horrible feeling, although nothing compared to those innocent habitants situated in war torn/terrorist run villages, towns, and cities.
On the public transportation intercom system, an announcement asks citizens to report any stand-alone suspect briefcases or packages. There have been a few incidents reported, yet no serious threats.
And, most interesting, French people are going out of their way to be kind. Just yesterday, I asked someone for directions, she placed her two grocery sacks on the sidewalk to give me her full attention and proceeded to give me several options as to where I could find what I was looking for. I stood there stunned and just gawked at her.
I thank her kindly and before leaving she said, "Je suis Charlie." I replied, "Jennifer." When I realized what she actually meant and why she was being kind, I responded, "Je suis vous," meaning I am You, which probably left her just as confused as she left me.
“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.” - Socrates
I have loved her even before knowing her. That statement sums up my feelings for France. For me, it is a priviledge to live in such a beautiful land, however I am more than what it states on my birth certificate and green card.
As Socrates said so eloquently, I am a citizen of the world, I must strive to be the best human possible, for me and for you, for this is my highest calling. When I say, I am You, I mean that there is no seperation between us. I shall exhibit empathy, I shall be conscientious, I shall always attempt to do my best, because Je suis Vous. Je suis Nigeria. Je suis France. Je suis Américaine. Je suis tous le monde. Je suis la terre.
Thank you for reading.
-- Jennifer Scarlett
Bonjour et Bienvenue!
Thank you for stopping by for a spell!
I am a 40-something year old American woman. Born in Texas, raised in Las Vegas!
Frenchified for Life
is a fabulous little lifestyle blog about truly embracing French life!
My intent is to simply inspire you to create something unique and beautiful in your everyday life. The French have this wonderful and annoying habit of seeing the world through rose colored glasses, might as well learn something from them!
That said, I lift my glass to you!
By the way, I mention the name Cachou (or The Cash) a lot, I'm referring to her...