433 injured, 128 dead, and the world terrified. On Friday, November 13th, multiple suicide bombings and shootings occurred throughout Paris at a music venue, sports stadium, and a cafe where innocent people were trying to enjoy their Friday night. Since I observe Shabbat, I was not able to keep up with the news; my father made sure to keep me updated throughout the day. I was stunned, appalled, frozen. As he would relate to me new reports, I could not help but put myself in his shoes. At that moment, he was scraping away part of my innocence, part of my hope.
After Shabbat, I scrolled down my newsfeed. It was filled with pictures from France, news reports, opinions. Almost everyone seemed to be changing their profile pictures in solidarity with France. “Your friend changed his/her profile picture”. Seemingly immediately after the attacks, a new fad presented itself on Facebook to change one’s profile picture to display a transparent French flag on top of their regular profile picture. Sporadically popping up in between these posts were pictures stating “America: 9/11, France: 11/13, Israel 24/7”. Additionally, articles condemning those who changed their profile picture because “This has been happening in Israel the past two months, and no one is paying attention to that.”
What if this never ends, I asked myself as I scrolled. What if I have to explain these sort of world events to my children, the same way my father had to do for me? What if they look into my eyes and ask me the same questions I asked him? I do not want the difficult job of teaching them the true potential of hatred in the world. And deep down I think no matter what “side” someone is on they can agree with that statement. So I asked myself: How can I be excused from this job? If world peace decides to exist. But is it that simple? Maybe it is.
Sometimes the best way to find the truth in a subject is to look through the simple, naive eyes of a child. And ask: Why? Why does there need to be sides? Why does there need to be hatred between two sides and awful attacks portraying that loathing? Unfortunately, my innocence was stripped away from me long ago and I understand it is not this simple.
As I reflect on the attacks in France I realized it is not “Israel against everyone”. And by people posting those pictures and articles it only adds fire to fire. While I do agree it is sad that people are up in arms about Paris and never say anything about Israel when something happens, in one day over a hundred lives were lost. I’m not suggesting one country’s loss is more important than another’s, but the situation in France is catastrophic and shocking. Don’t get me wrong, I love Israel so so much. And I will forever fight for Israel’s freedom and respect. But I will not condemn people showing their support to a country brutally attacked because they do not constantly speak up when my homeland is assaulted. Even so- Israel and France are both being attacked by terrorism, so why take sides?
In combat we always constitute that there will be a winner and a loser. But in this particular combat is there really a winner? In the end, countless parents will become childless, numerous children will be orphaned, and too many funerals will need to be attend. Neighbor will turn against neighbor, friend against friend, and brother against brother. The only way to actually win is for no one to lose. By stopping the attacks, stopping the disrespect, and by unifying- there does not have to be a loser. Only a winner- humanity.
As recently published on cteenconnection.com