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Paris: From the bad comes the good

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Watching the violence in Paris from a continent away -- the newscast switching from its regular programming so we could watch the horror that occurred on Parisian streets and a concert hall on November 25, 2015, despite the time zone difference.

And the ability of social media to drive you down like a nail into the middle of the action -- with the sound of people breathing heavily as they hid from the gunmen who were walking up and down the street, the sound of bullets, people screaming.  

Now we don't have to live through the horrors of that night, I don't think it would do us any good right now in regards to processing this trauma.

I just want to show from this tiny post that some good has come out of the aftermath of the shooting and subsequent vandalizing of mosques here in Canada. Because I'll be the first to tell you that there are racists and bigots and fundamentalists everywhere and they are on high alert hoping to make the best of this tragedy so no one can heal.

But healing can come from unexpected places.

First, I want to make it very plain that love can conquer hate. Numerous Parisians, (I'm lucky enough to speak French) mostly women, had said that even though the terrorists had taken their security and in some cases the lives of their loved ones, but they could never take their fear or hatred.

I know that's an awkward sentence in English, but what they were trying to convey is that the attackers could never make them fear enough or hate enough that they would retaliate in kind by targeting civilians.

Another bright moment that I think people need to see in order to return sense to their world is an interview by a reporter with a father and young son, the son frightened (the father was probably frightened, too, but didn't want to show it and if I was there with that precious boy I would hide my fear, too)

In a broadcast by Le Petit Journal on Monday November 16, 2016, there is a video clip of a little boy struggling to come to terms with what had happened. 

His conclusion is enough to bring anybody to tears, as it should, because this is our future generation, where love can protect Paris, where flowers are more powerful than guns.

Here is the link to the full French exchange here

But I found that the wonderful Huffington Post has a transcription below which I will place in italics:

"Yes, because they're very very very mean," the boy replies. "The bad guys aren't very nice. And we really have to be careful because we have to change homes."

His dad coaxes him, saying, "No, don't worry, we don't have to change homes. France is our home."

"But there are bad guys, Daddy!" the boy says.

"Yes, but there are bad guys everywhere," his father counters. 

"They have guns, they can shoot at us because they have guns and are bad," the boy continues. 

"Well, they have guns, but we have flowers," the father says.

"But flowers don't do anything," the boy argues.

"See all the flowers?" his dad asks. "They're to fight against the guns."

"Are they there to protect?" the boy asks. "The candles too?"

"There you go," his dad says. "It's to not forget those who left us yesterday.”

"The flowers and the candles," the boy concludes, "they're there to protect us." 

The reporter jumps back in and asks the boy, “So are you feeling better?”

"Yep," he says. I'm feeling better."

Well, if that does not give you hope for the future, let's talk about the present youth of the nation.

After the terrorist attacks, a French Muslim man stood in the middle of a busy square that held a memorial blindfolded with a sign that read: "I'm a Muslim and I'm told I'm a terrorist. I trust you. Do you trust me? If yes, hug me," his sign. Well, the video speaks for itself.

Here is the link to a Care2 petition saying we welcome Syrians to Canada. They are almost at their target of 15,000 signatures.

Some Muslims, especially women, have felt a new vulnerability since the Paris attacks. There is a group on Facebook to co-ordinate escorted trips called BuddyUpToronto which can coordinate escorts for anyone feeling unsafe, whether they are walking to or from a mosque or just to and from work or day care. If you want to volunteer to be escorts (or set up a system in you town) but be prepared as it's a closed group as a security measure.  821 people have joined up, including David and I.

We're better, together, right?

From a note posted on Red Tailed Hawk, he states, "I am not surprised at the racial backlash towards the Muslim community, as Canada has been founded on colonial genocide and racial discrimination against Native peoples since its earliest foundings.

"If any Muslim people, who feel threatened traveling to and from school, work, or back from there, I can volunteer to ride the TTC, or walk from the TTC (Sherbourne or Castle Frank Stations). I am currently working full time, and can mostly only offer when I am traveling to and from work.

I urge any of my comrades, brothers and sisters to do the same."

But nothing is stopping anyone in Toronto from passing on a little note to a mosque nearby that they are welcome in your neck of the woods.

And the love goes on...

A little seven-year-old boy named Jack Swanson from Texas where a mosque had been vandalized emptied out his piggy bank to help rebuild the Islamic Center of Pflugerville, Texas, by handing over $20 worth of pennies. The head of the Mosque commented that $20 in pennies is like $20 million to him and for us.

In the U.K., Ashley Powys, 22-years-old, from London, was on a subway leaving from Oxford Circus on his journey home to Stockwell. On the train, he sat opposite a young girl wearing a hijab. They exchanged smiles. But things turned ugly as another rider began hurling abuses at the young girl named Yara. Without a second thought, Powys stepped in to use his body to shield Yara from further insult and confrontation.

There are so many acts of kindness happening I could not capture them all in one post. Hopefully I'll have a part two, oh my sky!

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