meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: My Heart is in Paris

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Heart is in Paris

Photo by Victoria J Greene
Sitting here in California, miles away from Paris, my daughter and many people I love and admire, it would be easy to move from worry to anger over the terrible events of Friday night.  But I can't.  In my lifetime, there have been too many tales of Parisian resilience and courage, too many moments of heart warming, reassuring celebration following some awful occurrence, too many complex, scary stories ending joyfully with "That will show them" and a burst of laughter.  All profound examples that a life well lived is indeed the best revenge.

Monday, Nov 16th - Out to the Cafes!  Join 'le tout Paris' on the terrace!

My Pépe, Leon Briet was a prisoner of war in WW1.  He successfully led his family (and wine collection) through the dangers of WW2 in France. He often reminded my cousins and I that our generation was lucky to be growing up without the threat of war, hunger and deprivation.  Pépé's  favorite toast over dinner was "Encore une que les bosches n'auronts pas " (One more that the [enemy] won't have) and he would roar with laughter.  No anger, no hateful rhetoric, just pure joy in the moment. A meal and a bottle or two of delicious wine shared with loved ones.  I may have heard about the great hardships and destruction brought on by war and the horrible actions taken against many sorts of people in those times however the elders in my family looked to the future with hope and love. Racism, separatism, discrimination - not preached and certainly not tolerated because  those sentiments represent the seeds of war.

Photo by Marie Z Johnston
Which brings me to Paris today. Just scan the front page of any newspaper, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, Pinterest and all the other social media, turn on the radio or television you can not escape it. The world is lit up with justifiable outrage at these  monstrous acts carried out by a few, touching the lives of so many.  But please look closely. What is the overriding sentiment?  Courage, defiance and straight up pluck!  First thing Saturday morning the French were in the streets, at cafes, in parks.  They would not allow their way of life to be impacted by fear.  And neither should we all these thousands of miles away looking in with compassion and, admit it, relief that this nightmare did not happen in our back yard. Yet this horror is happening, and has been happening, almost daily around the world - mostly in Muslim countries.

Photographer unknown (with many thanks)
We are horrified.  We cry.  Some people have cancelled their trips to France out of fear,  others have booked trips in defiance.  People from Spain, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Italy have taken trains, planes and automobiles into Paris, joining their friends at cafes and on the streets in a show of solidarity.  That is where I want to stand: In solidarity. Unafraid.  Courageous.

Below are some wonderfully written articles by friends, fellow bloggers and the inimitable John Oliver. I hope you will read them, share them and join us with courage in solidarity against the mind numbing, life shrinking grip of fear and hate.

Meg Zimbeck              Paris is About Life

Jamie Schler              French Beef with Carrots and Thoughts on Paris

Alex Toledano            The Uncommon Resilience of Parisian Street Life

Ellise Pierce               North Texan in Paris Awakens to Terror

John Oliver                Paris Attacks 

"Bon Courage" is the phrase offered by French friends and family when we are in the midst of something challenging. Courage comes from a 1300 century French word "corage" meaning heart. If ever there were a time to "Have Heart", to speak and behave in "Heartfelt" ways, that time is now. I hope you will join those of us who choose Courage.


Bon Courage,  MarieZ

Photo by Marie Z Johnston

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