During a tragedy, I try to stay away from Facebook. Some of my friends (who are wonderful, kind, and intelligent people) just start posting stuff that puts me on edge. Then I try to figure out why I’m on edge, and then I start playing the game Who-I-Most-Agree-With-and-Why, and it really distracts me from the actually tragedy.
Finally, it ends with a blog post. Like this one.
On Friday, Paris was attacked by terrorists. Before that, terrorists also attacked Beirut. Horrible. Terrible. Heartbreaking.
Then, I see people on Facebook complaining that more people are upset about Paris and didn’t even know (or care) about Beirut. The implicit judgment: You hypocrite. And some astute people are able to point out tragedies that have taken place all over the world — Peshawar, Qasoor, Karachi, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Serbia, Croatia, Boko Haram, Darfur, Palestine, and Israel. Let’s also not forget the atrocities happening in Central and South America. The implicit judgment: Do your homework, you hypocrite.
It’s true. The tragedy in Paris hit me the hardest. Is it because I think French lives are more important than the lives of people elsewhere? Not at all. I want to care about all tragedies in equal measure, but I don’t, and I don’t think you do either. I think it comes down to how close we are to the tragedy.
I haven’t done a lot of international traveling in my life. I’ve been to Russia, and I’ve been to Mexico, and that’s about it. But I’ve watched movies by Francois Truffaut. And I adore them. I’ve seen Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Amelie and A Very Long Engagement several times, not to mention other great French films. I’ve read Monsieur Jean by Dupuy and Berberian — and countless other French graphic novels. Art and literature put me in closer proximity to that place. Paris, a place I’ve never visited, feels alive through decades worth of exposure to great French artists. Read more →