Yesterday evening, the news started to break about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Since Shabbat had already started, I didn’t get any opportunity to personally review the details of what was unfolding. Earlier this evening, I did my best to catch up. What I saw on social media was a large-scale show of support for France via the changing of profile pictures and posts of pictures of the Eiffel Tower. There was even some graphics shared that showed the Statue of Liberty preparing for war, and going over to defend France.
And I feel like an outsider looking in.
It is not that I am callous to the pain of those who lost their loved ones senselessly. Perhaps it has more to do with the fact that #1 – I’ve been following the news of other atrocities worldwide…especially the attacks on civilians in Israel; not that I’m the most well-read on current world news, but I know enough to be aware that terrorists are killing many people globally and #2 – As a Jew, I know about the problems that France has with anti-semitism and the problem of Muslim extremists. And they aren’t new problems.
Are Some Lives More Valuable Than Others?
I will admit, I did not know about the attack in Kenya that killed 147 people back in April of this year prior to the recent outcry on social media (regarding the criticism to how the news is covering the attack in France vs. how they covered the attack in Paris). But I do know that for weeks, Israel has been struggling with terrorists attacking civilians…namely by stabbing them. In the American Jewish community there was some murmuring about how unfortunate that the U.S. media wasn’t talking about the current situation in Israel in a more prominent fashion; but what can you say…sadly we are used to it by now (the general ignoring of attacks on Israelis in the media that is).
Seeing how quickly the news spread about France; and how almost unanimously people voiced support took my breath away. While it was nice to see people being supportive and putting their hearts on their sleeve, it also gave the impression that White Europeans being killed by terrorists is more of a tragedy than Israelis getting killed and certainly Black Africans. I kept these feelings to myself. I thought they were an afterthought. Then I saw a friend on Facebook, a White Jewish American woman, post the following (quoted out of context for privacy….forgive me):
I lived in France for a year while teaching English in a public school. I still have friends there. I do not believe there is ever an excuse for terrorism, but I also do not believe the French are blameless, given their alienation and impoverishment of their Muslim and other brown citizens. Radicalization has fertile ground in France for good reason. France is a racist society with a racist government, about them and about most other non-white, non-culturally-Catholic people. Many things need to change in France, whether or not something this horrible happens. I can only hope that this will inspire them to change, but I have learned the lesson several times since I left in 2008 that it will only justify to themselves their intolerance.
And then there was this:
Bit by bit I began to see others express, more eloquently than I could, exactly what I was feeling regarding the situation.
A Letdown From the President
And then there was the lackluster response from President Obama regarding the attacks. While he is still one of America’s greatest presidents, I cringe at his approach to foreign policy. Let me just say that I am glad he is not a war-time president! This article here lays out exactly how the President missed the mark here…although I do not fully agree with all of the authors proposed corrections.
I a nutshell the President should take a firmer stance against speaking out against Muslim extremists. Worry about offending people, and stepping on the toes of your new-found Middle Eastern leader friends. Evil is evil…plain and simple.
The Statue of Liberty Needs to Take a Seat
And then I saw this cartoon on my timeline:
Ok, now color me all types of shades of confused here. Why are people getting behind this crazy idea that we need to run and go help France with their problem of domestic terrorists? Do we forget that we could barely handle our own terrorism issues after 9/11? While I already know that we have guilt issues about helping Israel…why don’t Americans want to jump up to go help Kenya? ISIS is threatening Russia too. Oh wait, I forgot…we only like to address terrorism issues after the fact, when we have no choice because the public is flipping out.
So in light of all this, I’m not changing my profile picture, or posting any support of France. Terrorism from Muslim extremists, rather they be ISIS, or Hamas, or Boko Haram, or Al Quida, etc. has been an ongoing issue. These people are insane. They hate non-Muslims and they hate the Western world and everything it represents. You can’t negotiate with them…they want total dominance. The Jews know this…they have known this for decades! Yet people want to pussy foot around, and keep their access to oil open. So whatever…my heart and prayers go out to the innocent people caught up in the crossfire. I can do this without flying the flag and colors of an incompetent Western European power.