Reposted and re-edited (with text and new photos) from a Friday, November 13, 2015 post on The Travelphile Facebook page:
My heart breaks for the people of France. I think of dear friends and colleagues who live there and hope they are OK. I worry about those who have yet to be “marked safe” on Facebook and those who cannot reach out to anyone because cell service is interrupted. My prayers are for those who have died or have been injured, their loved ones who grieve, the first responders, those entrusted to investigate these heinous acts of cowardly violence, and all those who will bear the continuing responsibility of protecting the French people.
But I understand that despite the growing number of fatalities, Paris is a city of more than 2 million people who are still safe and sound. Security is obviously heightened. And the French are a resilient people who do not cower to terrorism easily, as we all witnessed with their powerful show of solidarity after the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
They need our sympathy, and they need our support. But they DO NOT need us to give in to fear, to become paranoid, to abandon our travel travel plans, to cast anger broadly, or to act strictly in vengeance. To do so would be to give in to the terrorists and be counterproductive.
If anything, let this be a reminder to us all to cherish our loved ones, to value the time we can spend with them, to reach out to others with friendship rather than to withdraw in fear. Let’s continue traveling so we can better sympathize with the pain of others, to work for understanding, healing, and peace with those who feel hurt or marginalized, and to find solutions to the underlying problems that precipitate the kind of anger and hatred that fuel the fires of terrorism.
Even if you have never been to France, I’m sure you share in their sorrow, as I do. Let’s honor these victims–and the countless others in our world who suffer–by doing the hard labor of working for a peaceful world where this kind of event never happens again.
I hope that if you share these sentiments, you’ll share this with your friends.
p.s. Thank you for reading this and thank you in advance for your thoughtful and productive responses of compassion, not anger.