Thursday, November 19, 2015

Terrorists in the Garden

I'm here to write some crap for you. That is my plan and we can either go with it together or you can do the rest of your stuff that you were really supposed to do and I'll miss you terribly.

The universe must be off its gourd today because Nick is out of the shower ten minutes early.

Or maybe I'm running ten minutes late. That could be the difference.

I thought by now I'd have something interesting to tell you, but I don't. Not yet. My best ideas are thrown at me while I'm out in the world and can't sit in front of the computer. My clearest thoughts come when I'm rambling in the forest. Last Friday, when battles raged in Paris, I rambled through the woods, my mind in the clouds. I hate missing important news, but I so desperately need that time to have my head in the clouds.

Paris, right. I intended to talk to you about Paris. Usually when the city of Paris comes up, people get stars in their eyes, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Left Bank, Gertrude Stein, Matisse, Hemingway. We get all fuzzy and creative thinking of Paris that way, don't we? But now, when someone says 'Paris,' we must think of the poor people who were slaughtered. Terrorists invaded our beautiful reverie of Paris.

Someone argued that terrorists also killed as many people in Beirut on the same day and weren't we racists for not mourning them with the same fervor that we did for the people of Paris?

We're not being racist by mourning for Paris. Care and love for someone should never hurt someone else. Right? I can love more than one person at a time? I can love more than one culture? I can. I assure you.

There's another reason we didn't mourn Beirut. What images pop into your mind when you hear the name 'Beirut?' I imagine war, serious reporters standing in rubble. I imagine never-ending battles, no schools, no art, no peace. I'm worn down hearing about the troubles in Beirut. I've heard the name of Beirut and 'war-torn' together since Walter Cronkite talked to my father from a black and white TV when I was a child. Yes, I ache for the people of Beirut, but terrorism seems permanently ensconced there.

But in Paris? In the dream I have of visiting there in my never-ending search for art and beauty? I did not want to be taken out of my reverie over Paris. I wanted to stay in that continuous dream of Paris and edible delicacies and Impressionism and lovely literature tangled together in one place.

So pay attention you non-racists praying for Beirut. Perhaps the world will wake up and see Paris injured, it will gather its strength, and find a way to heal wounds there, will find a way through terrorists intent on spreading their agony. Perhaps if we can achieve the simple act of waking up and seeing all that pain, Beirut, after so many decades of unrest, will follow Paris toward peace. Then, maybe someday we can sit in a reverie over the beauty and culture of Paris, and of Beirut as well.

Thank you for listening, jb

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