Almost everyone on my Facebook contact list changed their avatar to a French flag over their faces. To me it was all a knee jerk reaction, done as easily as the rainbow avatars a few months ago for marriage equality or the Santa hats for the past few Christmas seasons. My feed yesterday was a constant stream of posts about the attacks in Paris.
I could not join in.
My head was in another place.
My Elly left home on Friday morning to fly to the Middle East. She has been flying since she was one year old, in fact we celebrated her first birthday in the Balearic Islands. Normally her flights through the air, are as matter a fact as jumping on a local bus.
On her Facebook page she announced she was about to board her first flight of the day, to Paris. Travelling on Friday 13th with her allocated seat in row 13. We all wished her a safe and comfortable journey. She would have a few hours lay over at CDG airport before her onward flight to Tel Aviv. Thankfully she was out of French airspace before the atrocities began and the borders closed.
I might sound selfish, but I am not. The world we live in, is now very unstable. What happened in Paris was not forgivable, but there were bombings and killings in other cities and countries where Real people live, that got barely a mention.
I have friends living in Paris and my heart goes out to them. I have a friend who was born in Lebanon and evacuated to Paris at an early age, much later she emigrated to Australia. She has family still living in both places as well as across the US.
Can you imagine for one moment how she is feeling? To her there will be no difference between bombings in Paris or Beirut. People, ordinary people were blown to bits or shot as they went about their daily lives!
On Friday I was numb. After thirty eight years living in Northern Ireland with bombings and killings a daily occurrence, I was not immune to these feelings. Years when I kissed my husband and daughter goodbye as they headed out to work and school, not knowing if I would see them at the end of the day. I could tell many stories of those days that would set your hair on end!
BBC has a whole year full of programmes with a WW1 theme. Royalty were paraded to memorial functions with chests so full of medals, a dozen rapid fire Kalashnikovs would not penetrate them.
We were told that all this was to honour the dead, the wounded and the work done by those back on the home front, working in the factories making armaments, working in the mines digging coal, and the land Girls digging, planting and growing food to keep the nation going. Every scrap of garden or free space was used for vegetables.
The aim was to remind us – who were not even a sparkle in our father’s eyes back then – that it was the war to end all wars and should never be allowed to happen again.
It didn’t work.
It never will.
Not while weapons and armaments are made and sold across the world. Surely the sellers are not expecting the buyers to put their purchases’ on the mantelpiece or in a glass case and throw sugar at them.
How can you sell arms and then stand up and complain about those who use them. Why does Pilate come to mind?
Now is time for reflection. The answer can’t be bombing people to smithereens, fighting fire with fire and making martyrs out of extremists. There are no easy answers, we need to learn how we co-exist on this planet of ours.
“I will not play tug o’ war. I’d rather play hug o’ war. Where everyone hugs instead of tugs, Where everyone giggles and rolls on the rug, Where everyone kisses, and everyone grins, and everyone cuddles, and everyone wins.”