Paris: Murder, Immigration, Race, Islam and “Islamic Terrorism”, Neo-Nazis and the European Right Wing.

The news today is that terrorists — broadly Muslim or Islamic terrorists — killed 12 people (at last count) in Paris, targeting a satirical magazine. I feel sorry for my Jewish-Parisian friends; all Parisians; all Europeans; and all of humanity, roughly in that order.

I recently reported on multi-ethnic Paris, its richness and some of its political discontents.

As I posted on Facebook:
This makes me incredibly sad.
Sad for the loss of life — living humans killed.
Sad for their families and co-workers and friends.
Sad for Paris.
Sad for the rise of the neo-Nazi parties, anti-Semitism, and xenophobia in EU elections.
Sad that we have a world where we are being squeezed by both “Islamic Terrorism” (a very broad descriptor) and people like the Norwegian right-wing killer who killed 70+ people in 2011.
Sad that Europe is seeing a fight between extremists and extremists.

I remember being with an acquaintance who is black American and white-American-Jewish by parentage. We were discussing racial tensions +/vs anti-Semitism and he began singing “everybody hates the Jews,” a key line from Tom Lehrer’s “National Brotherhood Week.” I had never heard the song before.

I’m worried that everybody hates everybody, but in different ways and senses. Some people are corralled into faux-homelands and deprived of liberty; some are sought out and exterminated; some are proscribed from earning an honest living; in some cultures, women are prohibited from almost everything except being good wives and mothers, deprived of self-agency and choice even if what they want to be is a married mother. In some cultures, LGBT people have the legal right to everything heterosexuals have, but are murdered; in others they have less legal rights.

I haven’t give up on us, “us” being the human race. But if you don’t know your past, you can’t know your future. Are we even interested in having one?

About Farai Chideya

Farai has combined media, technology, and socio-political analysis during her 20-year career as an award-winning author and journalist. She is a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute. She contributes to print, public radio, and cable television; and she also hosts a series of town hall meetings in both New York and San Francisco, with New York Public Radio and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, respectively. You can see an archive of her 2010 midterm election specials -- which foreshadowed some of the current political and immigration debates -- at PopandPolitics.com, which she founded in 1995.