I Love Paris

I have three countries I adore: Britain (birthplace) Canada (current home) and Paris. I love Paris and have done so ever since I was old enough to remember. When I was six months old my family moved to Paris to start a new chapter in life and we remained there for nearly 6 years. I started kindergarten there, had school friends and spoke fluent Frenglish – if I didn’t know a word in either French or English I would use the other.  Paris smells wonderful, it’s full of life and love, beauty and history, not to mention fabulous cheese and wine. Paris has it’s light and it’s dark side and unfortunately the dark side won on Friday, but only for a brief moment in time.

News stations across the world are now using every spare moment of air time to analyze and debate every aspect of the horror that sent France reeling into panic and shock, while at the same time trying to understand what drives someone to be so cold and murderous. We’ve all seen this before in other countries and although it’s hard to imagine now, by Christmas time this event will have been buried by the press and some other news event will have taken it’s place.

France has declared war. War on who exactly, the terrorists? Sure, go ahead and make them have even more reason to do what they did on Friday. I am sure Francois Hollande wants to show the world his country will not stand idle while it’s people are murdered but surely there is a better way to strike back? Threats are flying like migrating geese but at the end of the day where do we stand – no better off than the people who take pleasure in killing others. I can say this because I am a bystander, not a grieving mother who is dealing with having to bury their child. If the role was different I know I would want blood for blood.

I don’t know what the answer is but if I did I would march up to Justin Trudeau and tell him, however it seems as though so many of these radicalized youths are in desperate need of help from their countries. They come from poor neighbourhoods with not a lot going for them and not much more to lose: perfect candidates for being drowned in horrific propaganda and lies. What if countries put as much effort in helping communities in need as they do in their air strikes? Why drop bombs worth $100, 000 or more when that money could be used towards education. Give these youths real food for thought, a real chance to make their lives useful and positive. Kids don’t have a bloody clue about what life is about, hell I still don’t and I’m 35! But I know life is worth living for, it’s worth sharing with loved ones, it’s worth experiencing and loving. I want the same for my children and the idea of their freedoms being infringed on by lunatics make my heart ache.

Having listened to various theories and ideas it seems as though the same train of thought pops up about where these ‘terrorists’ originate from and the words ‘poor neighborhood’ crop up quite a bit. Seeing as there is a big push for helping refugees from Syria, will they also be put into these areas only to be forgotten and expected to just be happy? As one listener pointed out, it’s all very well bringing refugees over but what about afterwards? Will they be given the right access to education and work? Can countries really give them everything they need when they already have neighbourhoods in need of help? Who knows; we are just the bystanders.

For now, we watch as a country gets back on its feet after being momentarily knocked down and we help her through the darkness and back into the light while also remembering there are other countries suffering the same pain. Maybe someday the madness will end but for now we can try to educate our young, show them a better way and lead them towards a brighter future where knowledge is power and freedom is a given. To the parents of all those killed, the wives, the husbands and the kids left behind, the world has you in their hearts.