Also, I'm finding it hard to formulate the right words for this tragedy. I'm quite sure I can't write about it properly and that the writing will end up trite. Yes, we are very sorry. Yes, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims. I want to say something more, something that strikes to the heart of what I am feeling. I'm not certain I can.
What I do know for certain is I don't want to become one of those loudly opinionated people who hold court and espouse their point of view because they have a computer and an internet connection. Who am I to tell you how to think? Certainly you can form your own opinions.
And yet. I am a writer. I live in the world. And after events like the one in Paris, which seem to happen with such regularity these days, my heart grows heavy. I wonder how there can be so much hate. I wonder how people can justify the killing of innocent strangers and not see it as the profound evil it is. It seems to me there is a cancer in the world, a terrible darkness that seeps in time and again. We try to eradicate it, we fight wars to root it out, we pray for deliverance from it. And yet it comes back. Time and again, since we walked upright and began to wonder at our existence, it comes back to torment us.
Perhaps there is no cure for this hatred. I don't know how to expunge it and I'd guess you don't have the answer either. I do know that if we have any hope at all, we must first examine our own hearts. I do know this disease is born of fear and ignorance. It is easier to dehumanize those who we see as different, those we don't understand, those whose ideas we fear.
And it is, in the aftermath of terror, only human to be afraid. It is only human to draw in and protect ourselves. There's been a lot of rhetoric here in the United States and in other places around the world about closing off borders and not taking in any more refugees. We want to protect ourselves, after all. We don't want any more bloodshed.
And yet. How can we not shelter these refuges? If we turn our backs on thousands in need to protect ourselves from the one who might do us harm, do we not risk turning our backs on what is best in our natures? Do we not, in some small way, lose our own humanity?
We cannot spread light by turning off the beacon. We cannot expunge evil by hiding away in fear.
If we have any hope at all of moving towards a more humane world, we must lead the way with our own humanity, we must find the courage to do what we know is just and right. Not because of evil, but in spite of evil. We must stand with the people of Paris. And also with the people of Syria, the people of Beirut, the people of Turkey. We must not allow ignorance and fear to sully the corners of our hearts and minds. If we want to end darkness, we must shed light. We must be the light. If we want to end hatred, we must practice love. Not only when it is easy, but when it is hard. Especially when it is hard.