I have tremendous admiration for the French people—some opened their homes to those who could not get to their own homes, a bookstore hid people among its stacks, taxi drivers turned off their meters to get people safely home. I even heard that as soccer fans exited the soccer stadium, they defiantly sang “La Marseillaise!” They have been our allies for a long time, and I’m sure the United States will stand beside them.
At home, though, reactions have been mixed (granted, I see most of this on Facebook). Prayers for the victims, for Paris, for France and for mankind abound. Some feared for their own safety—not an unreasonable fear since ISIS reportedly said France was being punished for cooperating with the U.S.-led coalition that bombed ISIS sites (why are we always the leader?). Some suggested—and I suspect this is true—that once again, like after Sandy Hook, the world has changed forever.
There were however more knee-jerk reactions. We should condemn all Muslims—there are millions of Muslims throughout the world who have been vocal in their condemnation of this and other acts of terrorism. ISIS is estimated to be about 50,000 strong. Others raised an immediate outcry against President Obama’s plan to accept Syrian refugees into this country. I agree it would take serious vetting, but don’t our citizens realize that those people are fleeing the very same terrorism that hit Paris? ISIS has killed an incredible number of Muslims—these people seek refuge for their families. It’s a dilemma for the human brotherhood. (Okay, sisterhood too)
A Facebook post praising President Obama’s deliberative response rather than rushing into action immediately brought criticism from those who thought we should strike back immediately. And of course, there were those who blamed President Obama for the attacks—I don’t quite understand that because it is generally accepted that President George W. Bush and Veep Dick Cheney exacerbated the instability of the Middle East with the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq—when history should have taught them were not winnable wars.
And finally there were the gun advocates who boasted if they’d been there, they’d have prevented the bloodbath. Mark Greene, once a candidate for Congress, put it best when he said they probably wouldn’t have to put their beers down to take care of “bidness.”
What is effective reaction to this awful massacre? I read one post that it will never come from an American/European coalition—the Middle East already resents us. Countries in the area need to do their own policing the region. If the Saudis and others suffer economic consequences, they’ll act to control ISIS.
What’s the answer? I don’t know, and I’m glad I don’t have to decide. But the people of France give me hope. We must not live in fear; that’s what terrorists want. What we can do is sing “La Marseillaise” in their faces.