By Romi Moondi, published on Confessions of a Chick in Paris
It’s been less than a week since the attacks in Paris, and before I ruminate and pontificate on the city of lights and the world at large, it’s an incredibly sad thing. So many people lost, so many friends and families who must be suffering immensely right now…it certainly makes me reflect.
I’ll be the first to admit that after the Paris attacks happened, I had a blind spot for similar tragedies in other parts of the world. The attack in Beirut, the attack in Bagdhad…I was so concerned with how my friends were doing in Paris, and how my favourite city was doing, that I didn’t even pay attention to what else was going on. I don’t think it’s ill-intentioned to worry more intensely for people you care about or a city you’ve lived in versus people you’ve never met or a city you don’t know, but if I’m being honest, even before this happened…was I always the most aware of what was going in every part of the world? Did all events affect me equally? Or are there so many things going on, that sometimes I read a headline and forget about it five minutes later? I think it’s okay to admit that sometimes we in the western world have our heads up our own asses, as long as we realize that from this point forward, humanity is at a turning point; that we’ll either thrive together…or utterly destroy ourselves together.
Why would I want to look at that acronym over and over as I type it, and then SEO optimize my blog to invite all those fuckers for the ride? I’m writing this for the rest of us.
And so, I will henceforth say “Voldemort” when referencing the terrorist group responsible for so much evil (an appropriate substitution, given Voldemort’s “piece of shit” status in Harry Potter).
I was wrong.
Seriously, you dumb fucks.
Before I typed my first word, I took a closer look at the comments section.
What I saw was people just like me, being the voice of reason, presenting irrefutable logic, and denouncing racist attitudes. Somehow though…the other person chose willful ignorance, and continued to argue back. And then the voice of reason would argue back…and on and on this went.
All of this makes me wonder how such OBVIOUS irony can be lost on people; i.e. even if a person is quietly racist (ugh, you suck), how can he/she NOT realize that by now being loudly racist or even loudly paranoid, they are aiding their greatest foe? I wonder if these irony-deficient people listened to the song “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette one too many times, and therefore ended up learning the incorrect meaning of irony. Seriously Alanis, if a black fly in my chardonnay is irony, then I guess walking down the street and stepping on a piece of gum is irony, because according to you, Alanis, irony is simply “when not great things tend to happen.” What the fuck, Alanis.
As I leave my disdain for Alanis’s lyrical choices in the rearview mirror, I will simply say that while I choose not to argue with those who won’t listen, that doesn’t mean I’m feeling hopeless. The ironic employees of Voldemort might have a loud obnoxious voice, but if we stop listening and stop engaging, they’ll just be talking into the wind, while we’ll be over here, focusing on positive interactions. This might not be an easy approach for Muslims, as many are already hearing words of hate directly, while simply trying to live their lives (and as that North York woman knows, the words can often escalate to worse). For that, I am truly sorry, and I wish it weren’t so. For the rest of us, we can diminish the dumbass voices ever so slightly, by choosing to ignore them altogether. Seriously guys, if an asshole says stupid shit in a forest, but no one’s around to hear it, did that asshole really even speak?
So what about those positive interactions? Well I’m not naive, and I know that being nice and holding hands won’t fix all the problems. But here’s the thing: I’m not in the government strategy rooms, planning the next military mission; I’m not in the police force, having to lead raids and make arrests to help keep people safe. I’m here, on my basic humanity level, believing that each little positive interaction can make a difference. It’s all about percentages, and if the number of positive interactions is able to out-weigh the negatives, then maybe humanity won’t crumble. These things can include smiling at the Muslim person on the subway instead of avoiding eye contact, sharing links for positive stories (if you can find them in this mass-media hell hole), or using these unexpected savings if you got them, to donate to a person or cause in need:
As I leave this act of writing, I acknowledge that the darkness isn’t over, and that more tragic events might happen in the future. I won’t however, contribute to the self-fulfilling crumbling of society. Not for a second.
And to my adopted family in Paris…I am so relieved you’re all safe, and your resilience and positivity is an inspiration. Let’s fill up another insta-collage real soon… xo.
PS: if you’re still here, you might want to try this clip, which beautifully (and much more efficiently!) encompasses what I’m saying, in a 3-minute narration by the late bestselling author of COSMOS, Carl Sagan (along with compelling imagery to accompany it)