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?