Was it murder--or something serious?
Philip Marlow in Murder, My Sweet

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I Love Paris

One of the saddest things I've seen on FB and Twitter over the past few hours is this sort of "shaming" people for the outpouring of sympathy and horror over the terrorist attacks in France.

The feeling in some quarters is that the media coverage has been disproportionate given that there are terrorist attacks in Beirut and other places in the Middle East on an ongoing basis.

But I think this is the very problem. Yes, coverage of violence in the Middle East is routine. The Middle East has been at war as long as I've been alive. Some of my earliest TV memories are of war in the Middle East. The Six Day War. Black September. The Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The Iranian Revolution. Those are just a few of the conflicts I recall being part of the adult dinnertime conversation. And that's the pre-Gulf War stuff. So yes, sadly there is a certain inevitable numbness which develops as we eat our supper each evening and view what start to feel like almost daily atrocities.

It doesn't mean that what happened in France is somehow more terrible--or that we should give up on pushing for peaceful resolution in the Middle East.

Surely it's not an either/or situation? I've not noticed such a surplus of compassion and caring in the world that people need to be shamed or scolded for reacting to the tragedy in France.

I have family in France. I have a French publisher--and French readers who have become real life friends. I am grieved and horrified by what occurred in Paris--as should we all be grieved and horrified.

And there is no "but". There is no postscript or qualification. Tragedy is tragedy. And the attacks in Paris are no less horrifying because the world is full of horror.

The day that we become numb to word of new tragedy--to the news of fresh tragedy--is going to be the greatest tragedy of all.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you. The thing is, it's all a tragedy, but I feel more of an affinity with France. They live like I do, they are a civilized, progressive country. After the 911 attacks, the French people rallied and the cry was "today, we are all Americans." Well, for just a moment in time, I remembered that and we were all French.