"Paris is About Life"

Yesterday, Friday 13 November, did not turn out how I, or anyone, expected.
Nothing was turning out the way I planned. 
I woke up late. I can't even remember if I turned in my Russian homework. Maintenance for the most recent problem in my slum of an apartment may or may not have come (another story for another day). I couldn't find the present I wanted for one of my best friend's birthday. I didn't make it to brunch. I didn't make it to yoga. Target ran out of One Direction's (last) album.
Everything was going wrong in my life.

Then I got a text from my dad.
He was asking if I had heard about "what happened in Paris."
Did I? What happened?
When I was looking for another Target I had seen some news article about Paris, but I didn't really look. I was too concerned with One Direction (as I am all too often). When I got into my car, ready to give up on 1D and go home, I looked at the news. 
Because what happened in Paris?

Then I saw it.
& I read everything in my car in the Target parking lot.
& I cried.
& I watched French news for HOURS trying to understand.
& I'm still wondering "WHY?!"

It was probably a coincidence that the discussion in my classes yesterday was focused on terrorism and our reaction to it. It was hard to talk about all day, but it's something that needs to be talked about. However, the conversations that happen in a classroom at a university are very different from those that are online or in the homes of average people. The 'terrorism' conversation that happened in my classes did not blame an entire religion or threaten anyone, it was simply a discussion. That's not what I find even when my own family discusses it.
Everyone has been so hurt and so many lives have been lost that I can understand why everyone is so angry. I am angry. 
But when do we start to realize that our anger and our hatred towards an entire religion for what an incredibly infinitesimal group of them believes is only sparking more violence. 
There is a fight against extremists because at this point it seems as if we can only beat them with a fight. It seems we must fight their violence with violence. 
But keep in mind: not everyone is an extremist.

Throughout the night social media was overflowing with posts about the sadness for this city, nation, and people. I even added my own. & while I was writing my instagram caption and editing my tweet I couldn't help but think of how ridiculous it all was. People had died and others were being held hostage and I was on instagram?!
But I'm in Columbus, OH. What can I do to help people in Paris?
I can instagram about it. & I can tweet about it. & I can inform everyone I know of these atrocities and send out my support for all of my friends in France. Maybe social media is the best I can do, at least right now.

It pains me to think of all of the lives lost yesterday and throughout all of history in the names of religions that were founded on acceptance and love of all people. 
History has never been lacking when it comes to violence and death, but wouldn't it be great if the future was?

- Jess
Paris, je t'aime.
Just a note:
France, and the world, is in a fragile place right now. We are all in a state of mourning, even if we didn't know any of the victims. Be kind & thoughtful.


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