I got the news bit by bit via social media last Friday. #Paris? Trending? Oh, a terrorist attack. I imagined the usual. But the scope of it kept rising. The numbers kept rising: 15, 30, 130. It wasn’t the usual.
ISIS or ISIL or IS is fighting for territory in a specific place. Then they switched battlefields. They went to a place where they were the only combatants and fought civilians not soldiers. They decided to slaughter civilians.
No words. Well, some. Similar to what John Oliver said on his show.
The aftershocks, sadly, and predictably, have been the usual: Islamophobia, chest thumping, anti-immigration talk, pro-gun talk, attacks on Pres. Obama, attacks on Pres. Bush. There was no grace period. There was little grace.
A few voices besides John Oliver helped this past week. I liked this thought from author Mark Harris because it’s similar to my attitude:
If you're saying “This is war” or “We have to get tough” or “We have to kill them all,” please pause for a moment and think about who you mean by “we.” Do you mean you? Or do you mean the 18- to 24-year-olds who “we” are going to send to do this?
And my friend Jim Walsh wrote a nice piece called “The Force Awakens,” about heading toward the light in a time of darkness:
And as the military jingoism and xenophobia ramps up here and abroad, I take solace and guidance from “Rent” author Jonathan Larson, who wrote, “The opposite of war isn’t peace, it’s creation.” That’s for sure, and I know from experience that that helpless feeling deep in our guts can be mitigated by setting our intentions every day to make something beautiful and create our own weather and reality.
Here's to better weather.