More Of The Third Part, Please!

The entire world is still reeling from the ghastly events in Paris, the downing of a Russian plane filled with tourists, the double suicide attack in Beirut. Here in the United States, people have not forgotten Boston.  At least, many of us refuse to.

My social media profile photo changed to show solidarity with the recent attacks in Paris, France. (c) Likeitis

My social media profile photo changed to show solidarity with the recent attacks in Paris, France. (c) Likeitiz

Over the weekend on Facebook, profile pictures lit up with the rouge-blanc-bleu stripe in solidarity with the French.  I joined in. Along with the colors came the loud cries for liberté, égalité, fraternité (liberty, equality, fraternity), a motto among many over the centuries, that France has become identified with.  The likes of Robespierre would be proud. Although there had not been as much debate over the first two components, after all, one ensures the other, the third, fraternité, has been fraught with back and forth arguments and detractors. Brotherhood implies the greater good, collective bargaining, a moral imperative, inclusive as opposed to exclusionary, creating communities. It also tends to rise when the need to unite for a common foe exists. In this setting, it becomes, “Fraternité, ou la Mort!” (Fraternity or Death!).

A woman holds a sign that reads in French "We are united" as she gathers with others in tribute to the victims of Paris attacks near French embassy in Riga, Latvia, November 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ints Kalnins/Reuters

A woman holds a sign that reads in French “We are united” as she gathers with others in tribute to the victims of Paris attacks near French embassy in Riga, Latvia, November 14, 2015. Photo courtesy of Ints Kalnins/Reuters

There have been endless cries for freedom. We listen. We help to ensure it. We in the Western World have enjoyed a lot of freedoms that we take for granted. Everything we see and do from the time we wake up in the morning until we go to sleep on a bed we call our own, is a result of this hard-fought freedom.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 14:  Parisians light candles and lay tributes on the monument at Place de la Republique, the day after deadly terrorist attacks on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 200 injured, 80 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital.  (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

PARIS, FRANCE – NOVEMBER 14: Parisians light candles and lay tributes on the monument at Place de la Republique, the day after deadly terrorist attacks on November 14, 2015 in Paris, France. At least 120 people have been killed and over 200 injured, 80 of which seriously, following a series of terrorist attacks in the French capital. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

There are loud cries for equality in government, at home, at work, the greater community. Race, Color, Ancestry or National Origin, Sexual Orientation, Marriage Equality, to name a few.  We have to grapple with a slew of issues, even the exaggerations, abuses, and even slanted interpretations of both the privileged and the discriminated. Slowly but surely, we will reach the equilibrium.

Take a look at our own backyards and there is not a lot of brotherhood. We don’t treat one another with respect often enough. We don’t teach our children to be mindful individuals so that one day, they will be mindful adults. We see many who will not hesitate to litter, waste valuable resources like water and energy, speak loudly in enclosed spaces, elbow and jostle through the crowds— all because? Because we can! And we feel we have to exert our individual rights to do as we please. We are so entitled. We forget that indeed we are free to do as we please in so long as it does not harm others and that our acts do not prevent others from enjoying the same freedoms we are enjoying.

We are too blinded by our obsession with individual liberties that we can’t see beyond the tip of our noses. We can’t have a decent conversation about guns because some people feel their civil liberties would be trampled on? In the meantime, people are dying from the consequences of our lack of action and millions of automatic weapons are scattered in an urban populace. We can’t find a way to get the homeless off our city streets so they can live like human beings on our dime because they don’t deserve it?  (And no, it’s not right to use the city streets as your toilet. But where would you go if there was nowhere to do your bare necessities?) We can’t have universal health care because people have to earn it while other first world countries provide it as a human right?  Same goes for our children’s education.

The bombing in Paris will rile up the anti-immigration advocates. They will treat this as validation of their beliefs. But, really, this has been the failure of our systems to provide the timely solutions to this refugee crisis we have watched unfolding for all these years. And no one can claim clean hands from this sad failure of policy and execution.

*******

Left photo: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial or the Atomic Bomb Memorial or Genbaku Domu. Right photo Hiroshima Memorial Cenotaph

Left photo: The Hiroshima Peace Memorial or the Atomic Bomb Memorial or Genbaku Domu. Right photo Hiroshima Memorial Cenotaph

When we visited Japan in October, we made sure to take the time to see Hiroshima. The city has suffered unspeakable devastation in World War II 70 years ago. And it has been reborn. There are a few ruins preserved as memorials and the museum rivals the Holocaust Museum in Warsaw.  We met a man stationed at the base of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. He had lots of videos and photo albums of the horrific day. His mother, in her nineties, is a survivor of the atomic bomb blast. She has suffered various health problems from it but she lived well into her nineties in spite of it. This man has made a commitment to tell his mother’s story so that the world will not forget. He wants to tell the world that there are no winners in war, especially nuclear war.

We cannot allow the young and future generations to forget how inhuman we can be. How we can be the worst tormentors. How we are capable of the most vile unspeakable abuses. We need to unite and be an even greater global force many times over than what we are facing. Can we spare some of our individual freedoms for now to make this possible? For the greater good? Can we be kins long enough to overwhelm this gigantic pustule that’s been pulsating and enlarging over in the middle east, threatening to spew its putrid doctrines to contaminate the rest of the world?

San Francisco's City Hall is illuminated in blue, white and red in San Francisco, California on November 14, 2015, one day after the Paris terrorist attacks. Stirring renditions of "La Marseillaise" rang out from Dublin to New York as global landmarks were bathed in the French colors and thousands marched in solidarity with Paris after attacks that left at least 129 dead.   AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON        (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

San Francisco’s City Hall is illuminated in blue, white and red in San Francisco, California on November 14, 2015, one day after the Paris terrorist attacks. Stirring renditions of “La Marseillaise” rang out from Dublin to New York as global landmarks were bathed in the French colors and thousands marched in solidarity with Paris after attacks that left at least 129 dead. AFP PHOTO/JOSH EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

This post was inspired after having read Gianpiero Petriglieri’s article on HBR: After Paris, We Need More Fellowship, Not More Leadership.

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This entry was posted in France, Paris, Paris Attacks, senseless killing, Terrorism, Uncategorized, World Events and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to More Of The Third Part, Please!

  1. The attack in Paris is long gone—but not forgotten. And what you say here is so valid and true, and should not be forgotten either. We take our freedom for granted, but still don’t see all the inequality an unfairness that still goes on in our part of the world. I think Andrew’s nomination of Rousseau is a good. We could all learn something by reading his The Social Contract

    Liked by 1 person

    • likeitiz says:

      They always say that history repeats itself for those who don’t learn from history. Our story as a species is full of repeats. We are like the character of Bill Murray in the movie, Groundhog Day, where he kept repeating the same day over and over again until he learned to get beyond his arrogance and narcissism. When will we learn though?

      Like

  2. Leon Mercado says:

    Yeah that Robespierre was a very bad dude. Got his just desserts when the Reign of Terrror he unleashed swallowed him as well,…. ending up in a date with Mr. Guillotine.

    The Isis terrorists are succeeding in their goals….the xenophobia is radicalizing more Muslims and the hawkish drumbeating may end up having the flower of American youth killed or maimed in faraway lands again,…… fighting for causes not clear to them. The latest polls say that a clear majority of Americans want to stop sheltering refugees and would support having massive numbers of boots on the ground in the Middle East. What terror did the Jews feel when this country sent back shiploads of Jewish emigres fleeing the Nazi Holocaust.? How easy to say America should kick-ass and show the jihadists the power and might of the American military? I dare those who take this crusading stand to offer up their sons and daughters for the slaughter. To accept their loved ones may well lose an eye, a limb, their lives and just as devastating,….lose their mental health from the struggle. War is Hell. It doesn’t even have to kill you outright. A bit of your soul dies everyday for the rest of your life, after having taken part in battle.

    Like

  3. berlioz1935 says:

    I like the general tone of your post. The three world slogan ( liberté, égalité, fraternité ) of the French Revolution is a lofty concept we could all agree on. We must not forget that the French did not act on this concept after WW 2 when they tried to re-establish their old colonial empire. It let to the Vietnam and Algerian wars. We weren’t all Parisians then. Or, when they did their atomic test in the Pacific.

    Still, I shed a tear for them when the news of the attacks reached me. We can not allow evil, as we conceive it, to triumph. But this would be a call to war as the others conceive us an evil too.

    “Fraternité, ou la Mort!” is exactly the principle the ISIS people act on. If you don’t convert, you will die. Our previous Prime Minister told us we should all belong to “Team Australia” or ship out. I grew up under the Hitler regime and if you refused to give the Hitler salute you could have ended up in a concentration camp. One should have the liberty and freedom not to be the brother of an ideology one can not agree with.

    Liked by 2 people

    • likeitiz says:

      Certainly, you do see the point of all countries affected/involved need to collaborate to contain this insanity. It’s the posturing, the politicizing, the proxy warring of the big players (Russia and the United States!) that just make these matters worse. The rest of us have to grapple with the debris in the aftermath of the storm.

      One cannot also turn one’s back to the very people who have suffered most from ISIS activities—fleeing refugees who are Syrian, Afghan, Iraquis, and who happen to be Muslim. They did not ask for this either. We can’t impose, “Oh, we will only take refugees who are Christian or whatever.” They have all suffered.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. auntyuta says:

    Reblogged this on auntyuta and commented:
    Likeitiz says: “We need to unite and be an even greater global force many times over than what we are facing. Can we spare some of our individual freedoms for now to make this possible? For the greater good? Can we be kins long enough to overwhelm this gigantic pustule that’s been pulsating and enlarging over in the middle east, threatening to spew its putrid doctrines to contaminate the rest of the world?”
    Please read her blog. I think it is very well written and makes you think about a lot of things after the Paris attacks.

    Like

  5. auntyuta says:

    Yes, Mary-Ann, brilliant! You raise many issues that concern all of us. I’d love to reblog this! May I?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Except of course Robespierre was himself a terrorist responsible for thousands of murders during the French Revolution ‘reign of terror’. The only monument to him in Paris is a metro station in St Denis where the modern terrorists live. Instead I would nominate Rousseau.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Brilliant Mary-Ann.

    Liked by 1 person

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