After a long, sleepless night, yesterday's barbarity really hit me. I start my day with a lump in my throat, unsure of what kind of feelings I'll be overwhelmed with today. I've lived alongside death for many years by proxy. It's no longer unfamiliar terrain.
I am Franco-Syrian. The bloodshed in France has left me stunned. I have such deep sympathy for the families of the victims. I feel their pain, as I feel the pain of my aunts who lost their children in Syria, every day, every hour, every minute. Just like everyone else, I've read that terrorists are recruiting fighters in Syria. My anger has reached its zenith. I say this because the ignorance both here and there brings me to my knees- first there, then here.
Tomorrow will not be easy
I first heard the news at university, and for just a few moments, I really, really hoped that it wouldn't be about "Muslims." But when the news broke, I had a feeling that tomorrow would not be easy- for me or for all of us. We all feel the hatred that is sweeping both sides of this conflict. Some of us feel the effects, and others are just humiliated. Personally, it brings me back to 2001. That moment of silence in my fourth-grade class, and all the tension that ensued. I can already see the expectations of those who are celebrating this event as an opportunity to vent their hatred of the other side. Starting today, political correctness will be set aside. But I'm not one to succumb to these games. My outrage will not stem from my citizenship or my religious beliefs, but from the fact that I am a human being. No more, no less. I never really cared for or agreed with the Charlie Hebdo cartoons. But must we agree with them in order to be human? I don't hold myself accountable for the attack either, because it is humiliating to think that I may somehow be linked to this act of unprecedented savagery.
For the first time in my life, I was afraid to leave my house this morning. I fear that there is a target on my forehead. A target that marks me, like the perpetrators of this attack, as a puppet of unjustifiable fanaticism whose goal is self-justification no matter the cost. Several places of worship have been the target of Islamophobic attacks this morning. An eight-year-old girl threw stones at her "foreign" peers. Gunfire broke out again in Montrouge.
We must show decency in this time of mourning and in our words, so that grieving families may find healing and courage. And so that what happened never justifies other injustices.
I hate the blood that flows,
I hate the blood that wants to be pure,
I hate the blood that is sold off.
During the coming days,
Families will be in mourning,
Others are terrified of the aftermath.
The decency of silence in agony:
Hush, wherever you may be.
Hush, politics is not a soul,
If words are weapons,
Silence is an armistice.