Mondays Meditation to Pray for Paris

You will have been gutted and shocked by the recent atrocities done on French soil on the 13th of November when seven ISIS members waged a gun battle and suicide bombings on the City of Lights, Paris.

Still in shock, grief and horror, France enters now into three days of mourning.

On Friday night, inside the Bataclan theatre, murderers unleashed a deadly hail of bullets that lasted for 15 minutes, killing 89 people and injuring many others, whilst simultaneously at five other sites, horror and death exploded all over the City of Love.

Their one objective was simple, kill as many innocent people as they could. Over 400 lives were directly impacted by this trauma.

Lives have been forever changed, families, friends, nations grieve and mourn.  

Hospital Emergency doctor  Patrick Pelloux said, “When people talk of an attack like Friday’s they’ll say 129 dead. Behind that figure are 129 people, 129 families crying for their children, their friends, that means something. That is atrocious. We must never forget people who have been killed like that.”

Western Democracy has been challenged to not give in to terror but to stand firm.

Whilst those of us with compassion and empathy cry and lament this heinous act, others use it as an excuse to blame and shame.

“Those who do not weep do not see” Victor Hugo.

Should we pray for Paris, of course we should.  We should stand in solidarity, in our compassion and in our humanity.  We resonate because our hearts are broken for the wounded, the dead, the bereaved.  We should respond in love and in compassion.  It is right that nations show their solidarity and stand with the French through their darkest hour since the horror of WW2.  A nation that stands for liberty, equality and fraternity.  They are our allies.

In the midst of huge social media reaction to the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night, one Indian blogger has called on the world not to pray for Paris, but to pray for the world. Delhi-based writer Karuna Ezara Parikh’s poem has been shared more than 73,000 times on Facebook and has also been circulating on Twitter and Instagram (reference).

In her Facebook post, she wrote:

“I woke this morning deeply disturbed by the news from #Paris, but more amazed by the attention it received on social media. I understand Paris is a beloved and familiar space for a lot of people, but it troubled me that #Beirut, a city my father grew up in, had received so little attention after the horrific bombings two days earlier.

Posting this:

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I totally agree with this poem but I also feel very challenged by it and I have many questions.

It is wrong that atrocities happen across the world and it is also wrong that they are not recognised or reported.

I ask myself why?  Is it because of the color of the skin?  Is it racism?  Is it religion? Is it media conspiracies?  Do we resonate and respond more to western societies that are similar to ours?  Is this wrong?

Should we not pray for Paris because we haven’t recognised other horror elsewhere, I don’t thing so.  I agree with Karuna we do need to pray for the world.  Of course we should.  Yes gut wrenching horror in other parts of the globe need to be abhorred and grieved over.

We shouldn’t use this moment of terror to play the blame game.  It is not the fault of all Muslim people, it is not the fault of all refugees.  We should pause to consider the difference between the attacker and the people running from the attack.

Not all refugees are terrorists yet now the cause of refugees and asylum seekers will become even more difficult.

Not all muslims are full of hate and murder yet others full of hate will use this event as an excuse to demoralise and target innocent people.

Not all atrocities are acknowledged – I don’t know the reasons for this, but I won’t stop acknowledging the atrocities that I am aware of.

Our world has gone mad but its not the first time.  I wonder how humanity felt in the world wars.  Surely people thought then that this was the end of the world?

Evil is not new, evil, hatred and fear are not just a modern phenomena.

The potential for evil and hatred and fear lives in every one of us.  When we confront our own darkness, recognise our own shadows, then maybe we are in better position to be loving compassionate and inclusive of all people who are suffering or marginalised.

“Today we pray and we cry, and together we raise a mighty, defiant middle finger to those who believe that the goodness and light of who we are can ever be overcome.

Yes, hate is powerful but it never, ever wins. Never. No matter how much violence says hate, love will always have the last, loudest word”. John Pavlovist

So today please pray.  Please pray for Paris.  Please pray for the plight of the world and the reign of terror that it is enduring.  Please pray for refugees and those whose lives are decimated by war and violence.  Please pray for us, that we do not become apathetic to suffering and trauma. Please Pray

Lisa Hunt-Wotton

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2 Comments on “Please Pray for Paris

  1. Regarding the poem … I just wanted to point out that nowhere on the poem it says we should stop praying for Paris. Although the poem does suggest that anyone who does not acknowledge tragedies of Beirut and Baghdad are racist, it suggests nothing near the lines of stop acknowledging the more well-known tragedies.

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    • Great point – I was writing more from the questions that I am wrestling with and how this piece jolted me. Such a great piece – thanks for taking the time to write your thoughts. Lisa

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