NOTE: The movies love Paris so instead of pulling images from the AP and other news outlets, I have decided to include images that show how much the movies, and the world entire, love the City of Lights.
On a planet where people are killing each other over who is right and who is wrong, it is easy to believe that the world is filled with terrible people who believe in terrible things.
This past Friday in Paris, a few bad men killed a lot of innocent people who were simply trying to make the best out of an autumn night in the most beautiful city in the world. At soccer games and concert halls and the cafes that Paris is so famous for, 129 people lost their lives.
It is clear now that The Islamic State is the perpetrator of these attacks on humanity. For the past few years, they have ravaged the lands of Syria and Iraq with the intent of creating a new Caliphate. Historic sites have been destroyed and thousands of women have been forced into slavery in the areas that they control.
The media have covered these vicious crimes against humanity with great zeal and as a result have lost a few brave souls who dare to reveal the monster under the bed. ISIS is truly one of the greatest threats to humanity at this moment in time and they represent the worst of us.
But people forget that they are only a few angry men. Humanity, believe it or not, is inherently good. Even during a time when the world mourns a great loss in her most cherished city, there are somehow still those who are willing to open up their homes to complete strangers because it is the right thing to do.
Currently, Paris is experiencing what New York went through just 13 years ago. After the World Trade Center fell and thousands of lives were destroyed, either directly or indirectly, Americans from across the country kept their chins up and rallied to clear the rubble. They risked their health and person for the safety of others. With almost nothing but their hands and a few buckets, they cleared the poisonous debris and when they were exhausted, went back to being anonymous. Because of them there are a few more families who still have their loved ones.
Nov. 13, 2015 will be an unfortunate turning point for the French people. But there is no use in stating that they will overcome. It’s a given. The French have always fought for what is right and they have a track record of standing up for the underdog.
When the United States was in its infancy, France stood next to her against the rest of the world. They contributed weapons and men and sent them 3,000 miles away to fight for a cause that was never theirs until they decided it was.
These are the people that, in one swift motion, declared that the aristocracy were only human. They acted like men and disbanded the very foundation of European society before declaring that they stood for liberty, fraternity and equality.
It was a Frenchman who reinstated the Olympic Games with the intent of uniting the world under the philosophy of striving for athletic excellence and whose maxim is simply, “Citius, altius, fortius.” Faster, higher, stronger.
If there is truly magic in the world, then all of it is in Paris. It’s not called the City of Lights just because it’s pretty. No. It is the City of Lights because the best and the brightest from around the world have called it home. Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Josephine Baker, Gertrude Stein, Francois Truffaut and hundreds of others from across time helped light the city and declare it a beacon for humanity and ingenuity.
What happened in Paris must not be the downfall of our two great nations.
The next few years are going to be rough for everyone. A lot of people are going to die and a lot of parents are going to cry. We’re going to drop a lot of explosives and it will be sad. Yet even during these trying times, we cannot forget what makes us all the same.
As President Kennedy said, “Our most basic common link is that we inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures and we are all mortal.”
So to close, the calls of the world must be, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and “Citius, Altius, Fortius.” Faster, higher, stronger.
Vive la France!