The last week has been hard on me. On one hand, I know I’m safe here in the United States — or at least safer than I would be anywhere in Europe. But on the other hand, I have to worry about family and friends I have back home. Terrorism in France isn’t going away no matter how hard we try to fight against injustice and violence and open our hearts to free speech and differing opinions. Why would anyone be against it? I don’t know.
What I find especially disconcerting, though, is the fact that a person can be beheaded anywhere in the civilized, industrialized world, and we barely see it in the news — if at all — because we’re too focused on what crazy President Trump said or did today.
But it’s also a problem for the Islamic community. I believe there’s nothing wrong with being a devout or practicing Muslim, just like I believe there’s nothing wrong with being Christian, Jewish, or Hindu; like I believe there’s nothing wrong with being old or young, gay or straight, rich or poor, pro-life or pro-choice, Texan or California, French or Hispanic. What does any of that matter? We all come from the same place. We all start off the same way — until our leaders change us beyond the point of no return.
That’s exactly why free speech is so important. When I first arrived in Los Angeles, I was only a French girl with broken English — but my friends embraced me and helped me until I learned. Look at me now!
We live in a world where anything is possible, but that shouldn’t depend on where you live. The recent debate in France was sparked by a horrendous terrorist act, but that shouldn’t mean we give up on hope or humanity or our rights and freedoms. We need to do better. Before that, we should start to think better!