Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sunrise and Twilight and Terror, Part 2

My peaceful day was shattered when I heard about the Paris attacks, but I felt nothing.

I was detached and unmoved, and that realization unnerved me.

As I scrolled through Facebook Saturday and saw profile picture after profile picture striped in the French flag and a redrawn peace symbol with the Eiffel Tower as its centerpiece, I still felt numb.

I texted my son Michael. I wanted someone else's take on this. I told him that I felt nothing about this latest atrocity--a word I realized I was unacquainted with and unaccustomed to hearing until 9/11--and that this disturbed me.

His response? It's become common to be numb to violence.

Scary thought.

When I heard the media "reporting" that the refugees were to blame for the attacks, I felt my hackles rise. I couldn't believe that these people could conspire to harm the very people providing them shelter. Soon, ISIS would take responsibility, and the media is now reporting that evidence had been found that one of the terrorists infiltrated France by masquerading as a refugee.

But I still felt more emotion over the implications this has for the refugees than I did for the victims. I still can't understand why. Perhaps I'm worked up about the fact that a group of people already in peril are becoming embroiled in an incident they didn't create.

I can't do anything to bring back the dead but I'd like to do something to influence the refugees' future.

Michael and I talked about how easy it is to vilify people we do not know personally. I don't know any Muslims--do you? Without any frame of reference, it's easy to be duped into believing what is said about them because I don't have a name and a face and a relationship through which to filter the blanket statements.

One author I read stated that the refugees are "indifferent" to the deaths in Paris because the victims represent societies and systems of government that they don't agree with. He was implying that just because they're Muslims, they agreed with the actions of ISIS.

It almost made sense. I was almost deceived.

Not all Muslims are terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims. Is that a true statement? Some are acting as if this one is: All refugees are Muslims and all Muslims are dangerous. The actions of some radical Muslims are turning once open-hearted people against the refugees as if they too are radicals.

How deeply do I believe that these refugees are people first, not the embodiment of a stereotype? Would I be willing to welcome a refugee family into my home? Even if I wanted to, Georgia's governor has issued an executive order directing state agencies to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees.

I think it all boils down to whether or not I believe that Light conquers darkness. Always. Ultimately. Eternally.

And I do have some feelings about that. The question remains: what am I going to do with them?

1 comment:

  1. I find myself detaching from hard core emotion more often at times. Its true that the exposure to it all feels so magnified. How do we cope with so much exposure to raw violence and terror seemingly awaiting us at every turn? And how do we begin to make sense of it, when its so senseless in so many ways? I loved reading Ann's post today- we simply have to see humanity in everyone, everywhere. And that isn't always easy to do!! Look forward to reading your next installment- hugs to you, Jenn!