" When The City Of Light Lost Some Light "
Rev. Peter E. Bauer
Like many people, I was saddened to have learned about the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The deaths of 129 people and the number of injured, 352, leaves one feeling numb and at the same time concerned for the injured and their families, for the future safety of Paris and for all of civilization.
Years ago I visited Paris with my wife, Kate. We stayed in this charming hotel in the Rue De Bac district not far from the Palace De Invalides and the National Assembly. Every morning we go downstairs and my wife would negotiate in French with our waiter for our coffee and chocolate croissants. Tres Bien!
Paris is an amazing city. You can see buildings and districts dating back to the Middle Ages. We took a bus and passed the venerable University Of Paris. On one corner was the house where Cardinal Richelieu once lived. Diagonally across the street was a sidewalk café where Simone De Beauvoir would debate John Paul-Sartre.
The images of the Tuileries Gardens, the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre were a rich landscape for the mind. Seeing the Venus De Milo and realizing that Leonard Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa " is a small painting was also revelatory.
What is extraordinary about Paris is its history, longevity and its commitment to being a center for letters and the arts and for free thinking. The city has survived wars, pestilences, captivity and yet has looked forward in hope and in charity for the goal of freedom and liberty.
The current crisis for the city in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks raises the question what will happen to countries and cultures that embrace multi-culturalism and a commitment to freedom and acceptance of all?
My concern is that the recent events in Paris will guarantee continued military action in the Middle East for in perpetuity. United States military forces will find themselves in Syria and Iraq again pursuing terrorist forces. There will be continued numbers of troops returning home to the United States from this war who will find themselves and their families forever changed.
Commentators like Michael Scheuer (Anonymous) and Robert Pape author of "Dying To Win: The Strategic Logic Of Suicide Terrorism " have argued that the terrorist forces would like the United States and its arms forces to be entirely out of Muslim countries and thus end what is perceived as an occupation of territory.
The city of light has been an inspiration to many throughout the centuries to writers, painters, sculptors, musicians and culinary chefs to name a few.
We need again to experience more light for Paris and for our own lives. The events of the coming months and years will determine how well we can continue to evolve as a society that embraces all the uniqueness and beauty of what it means to be human.
Viva Le France
Paris is alive.
May we all continue to stay alive and be filled with light.
May it be so.