I didn’t colour my face

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.”
Shel Silverstein

28 thoughts on “I didn’t colour my face

  1. padmum

    One of your very best posts…it comes from angst gained through experience. Yes as long as US arms the world, there can be no peace. Sometimes I think that peace is only an individual attainment…the minute there is two, three, a community, a society…especially where ‘religion’ takes precedence over humanity and human relationships, the atavistic, back to animal instincts takes over. The sight of blood, the taste of terror, the joy of killing drowns out kindness, love, sharing, caring. Will future generations bring back sanity? Will people live in amity, friendship and equanimity? We may not be alive to see this Rennaissance! It may be an Islamic world where terror reigns!!

  2. Cathy

    So many things to think about in your post. I don’t have the answers, couldn’t even suggest one. I wonder if there ever will be an answer?

  3. lingeringvisions by Dawn

    I agree. I didn’t change mine either, for many of the same reasons as you. Not the personal ones of course, I have no experience with that but I am not ignorant. I ended my night with a thankfulness post that read: “Negativity and hate is so loud it can be distracting. I’m grateful for the intelligent, caring people in my life who are able to drown out the noise with their calm sensibility.”.
    Thank you for being one of those people.

  4. wisewebwoman

    Thank you. You put so well my feelings on all of this as you’ve probably seen from my FB posts. But thank you!


    1. Grannymar Post author

      I did read them, but at one stage decided to walk away and think of how I wanted to react to Friday’s happenings.

  5. Mike Goad

    I am so glad that The Troubles came to an end, hopefully never again to recur. It shows that the improbable, the impossible, can happen — on the other hand, the Israeli Palestinian conflict continues 67 years after the establishment of the the State of Israel.

    Ideology based terrorism backed by a ruthless wannabe fledgling nation state isn’t going to go away on its own. Regardless of our desires for peace, tragedies and horrors like Paris (Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan concert hall, Hypercacher Jewish Market), Beirut, Thalys train 9364, and Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 are likely to be seen in many more places.

    (So far as the tricolor avatar, I didn’t use it. I had created a new profile image expressing sorrow over Paris picture before I ever saw it.)

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Mike, it may be over according to those who want us to believe that. Things are still ongoing and at the moment escalating on both sides of the border in the run up to the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.

  6. shackman

    In my opinion there are times when a knee-jerk reaction is appropriate and this was one of those times. There is a faction in the Muslim world that has declared war on everyone that does not share their beliefs. They will not be satisfied until civilization is set back centuries.

    Were the lives lost in Paris more newsworthy than in any other city? of course not but as we are bombarded daily with news of such atrocities we are numb – but when one of the brightest lights in western civilization is targeted we stand up and take notice.

    Rational thought is simply not present in the minds of the fanatic Muslims leading this war on the hose who disagree with them, and there is simply no way to deal with them beyond armed conflict. Like all religio.us fanatics, they believe god is on their side. This has nothing at all to do with race as virtually every color of man has representatives adhering to the fanatic creed. Unfortunately there is no one country that can be singled out to hold accountable (although a reasonable individual might make the case for Saudi Arabia as the root source)s they hide in plain sight in every country. It’s very easy for them to enter western countries as refugees and establish a base of operations. And n o – I am not suggesting all refugees – not even most – are terrorists. I do believe the same percentage of Muslim society as a whole that buys into the terrorist creed os present in the refugee groups though. What that percentage is is admittedly difficult to quantify.

    You are 100% correct when you suggest that as long as weapons are sold this issue will not go away. This war will continue in perpetuity it seems as there is simply too much money to be made by the arms producers. Money does make the world go round = or at least the quest for it and the power it can bring does. We are left to ponder the question “When does power speak to truth?”

    Perhaps when the west does not need the oil produced in the middle east but then there will be the next great driver of world angst – water supplies.

    We have no real option but to stand our ground and fight. Our civilization is worth fighting for and our tolerance for those who have no tolerance for diversity is at an end. The irony is not lost on me.

    Your point is well taken .

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Chuck, I have just deleted my very long reply.. Let us just remember there are good and bad eggs in every basket. Should we exterminate the whole flock for a half dozen rotten eggs?

      1. shackman

        I did not suggest all Muslims be exterminated, I did say that I think the same percentage of the Muslim population as a whole that buy into this irrational fanaticism are intermingled with the refugees – a better way of detecting those needs to be found. Until that happens I’d prefer refugees seek solace in other Muslim countries. So in response to ypur comment – we should do whatever possible to break those bad eggs, I have no issue with the rest although I would prefer they take a stronger stand against the radicals.

        1. Grannymar Post author

          That was my thought, Chuck, about the good and bad. I have to admit that the idea crossed my mind some months ago, that a large volume of refugees could provide a smoke screen for terrorists to slip through the nets. I hoped I was wrong.

  7. Big John

    “There are no easy answers” … You can say that again ! … Just look at the bemused looks on our so-called ‘leaders’ faces as they gather in Turkey.

  8. kenju

    Very well said, Grannymar, and I agree. I did color my face, though, in solidarity with the victims and their families. I can do little else at the moment, except pray.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      I think that might be our problem… not being able to help in a physical way, like we would if it happened close to home.

  9. nick

    Well said. I didn’t adopt the trendy French tricolour either for similar reasons. How right you are that there are bombs and killings going on in other countries that don’t get the same attention although they’re just as devastating to those who live there. How right you are that Britain sells weapons and then complains about the results. And how right you are that bombings (that kill so many innocent civilians) aren’t the answer. Goodness knows what is the answer, but there won’t ever be one unless the politicians and the generals do some serious thinking about how to stop IS in their tracks.

    1. Grannymar Post author

      Nick, if the politicians cannot agree on the problems at home, what hope is there of them sorting out the problems of the world and IS in particular.

  10. mybeautfulthings

    That’s a brilliant post echoing so many of my own thoughts. I didn’t change to the Tricoleur overlay either, awful asFriday was. I wanted to think of those in Beirut, in Kenya, in Gaza – I cannot name them all, just the world!
    I love the quotation you ended with and may quote it myself before long.


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