The Bell Tolls Once Again

Paris artists and booksellers set up their work each day along the Seine under the watchful eye of Notre Dame. -
Paris artists and booksellers set up their work each day along the Seine under the watchful eye of Notre Dame. –

By Mary Anna Violi | @MaryAnnaVioli

We yearn to make the world to be a better, safer place for our children. We want the world to be alive with possibilities for our future generations. We want the world to have learned from its past, not to repeat its transgressions.

Yet look at what the world has become, or perhaps we should reflect upon what it still is. We think, “bad things happen” to people, to cultures in other parts of the world, not in ours. And then September 11, 2001 shattered our sense of security, of our complaisance.

Lately we have read and seen in the media the migrant crisis sweeping across Europe. Images of poor unfortunates who have lost possessions, indeed, with alarming frequency, their very lives, in attempting to flee oppression, persecution, fear, hate, and economics in hopes of a better condition for their families. We of all people should understand their plight: We are still a relatively young nation built upon the backs of immigrants.

Many of us love the City of Light. Paris is truely A Moveable Feast, as famed author Ernest Hemingway wrote. While the grandeur of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, and countless other stunning structures and hallowed venues loom large in Paris, for me, it is the Parisians themselves I cherish. I have found them to be kind, helpful, witty, humorous, creative, and astute. The horrors vested upon those at Charlie Hebro broke hearts, or at least the hearts among those that value human life and free speech. Yesterday’s tragic events jarred the French and the caring world to their very core. People at a soccer match, at an alternative rock concert, and those simply enjoying their Friday evening at charming cafes, were catapulted into savage acts wrought by madmen.

Maybe that is the crux of the matter anymore: The value of human life matters not to those who are hell bent on annihilating it. Furthermore, it is incomprehensible to those who have a moral core to understand those who lack one. We offer solace to those who have lost family, friends, and acquaintances. We attempt to make sense of the insanity, of the unfathomable, yet we come up short. In the end, all we can do is press on, holding our loved ones close, maintaining our integrity, praying, and continuing to try to make the world a safer, saner place than the one we now have before us. Sadly, the bell tolls across France once again.

Ciao for now.

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