To Haters, With Love: Why #IStandWithParis + #BlackLivesMatter Are the Same Thing

I stand with Paris's my most beloved international city! Those close to me know that I am a lifelong francophile - a lover of all things french, but Paris has my heart.  My bedroom decor is Parisian-themed. I’ve traveled to, dined and shopped in Paris all alone but, in my awe of such a gorgeous city with amazingly friendly people, I was never lonely.  I've studied french (on and off) since age 12 with plans to someday live and work in the city of lights, and I still hold on to achieving that dream someday.  

Again, I LOVE PARIS!!! But here is my issue with the “Twitter Twits”, as I’ve coined them, who DARE compare the terrorism Paris has experienced to the racism experienced in the U.S. (and in Africa and other parts of the world, for that matter): WHY ARE YOU ONLY #prayingforparis?  Why do they get a meme and hashtags and become a trending topic without ANY backlash from you that we should, perhaps, #prayforallcities?

Furthermore, why can't we pray for Paris AND agree that Black lives matter in the U.S. and abroad? Why are you suddenly conscious of tragic world events when it involves a city with beautiful landmarks and synonymous with elite culture though have not uttered a word when such attacks have been the norm in some African countries for decades?! Why is there a bias in which people and what places you’ll “pray for” and “stand with”?

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Why would you use this opportunity to say #BlackLivesMatter supporters don't know what "real" terrorism and oppression is, as if the spirit of hatred one uses to blow up a concert at the Bataclan and shoot down innocent men and women around Paris isn't the same spirit of hatred that leads one to shoot dead in the street a child “armed” with an iced tea and a pack of Skittles, or massacre churchgoers after an evening of Bible study? And why do you believe one has to die a bloody death before they can be said to have experienced terrorism in their lifetime? As if racism - which may, but may not always, end one’s physical life -  doesn’t also pose a threat to one’s livelihood and quality of life? Why are you comparing manifestations of hate and dispensing unequal and inconsistent measures of love and compassion?!!!!!!

You have been very vocal and adamant that #AllLivesMatter since #BlackLivesMatter gained traction, so why are you now comparing mishaps, misfortunes and tragedies? With this line of logic, it’s as if you’re saying a woman who has been raped doesn’t know real pain because another woman was beaten and killed.  What is going on in that mind of yours? Perhaps I’m having a hard time understanding your stance because the logic of hate is rooted in evil and all things evil were designed to be senseless. Satan is the author of confusion, after all.

But for those of you with an ounce of goodness remaining in your hearts, please understand that our humanity and compassion should not stop with only those with whom we identify. Jesus tells us that even an evil person is capable of loving his own. He said this to highlight that we should be SO humane and full of compassion that we have the capacity to love and bless even our enemies. But you can't even have compassion for someone because their skin color differs from yours?  

If you haven't figured it out by now, #IStandWithParis and #BlackLivesMatter are the same because the events leading up to the creation of both hashtags imply that something went painfully amiss and it now requires immediate attention, broader awareness and organized social action. They are the same because the lives and well-being of human beings are at the center of both issues. They reiterate a truth that all mankind deserve to feel a general sense security. None of us should fear being terrorized - whether attending a concert or soccer game, walking home from the local convenience store or walking across a college campus!  

I LOVE PARIS! I stand with Paris! The woeful attacks there break my heart and we should take this time to mourn with them in solidarity. Don't make this event an even greater tragedy by spewing ignorance and embracing the hateful spirit through which these acts were able to occur. Don’t act as if terrorism and hatred can't and don’t also exist in the absence of gun violence or an unexpected explosion. Don't act as if the domestic terrorism, racism and systematic oppression one experiences in the U.S. aren't also real with real effects on the lives of their victims.

I'd submit to you that if students like those at Mizzou, and campaigns like #BlackLivesMatter and the Civil Rights Movement didn't take a stand, we'd certainly see heightened examples of hatred boiling over and resulting in even more senseless massacres right here in our own country. But why do things have to get THAT far before you acknowledge that hate, in any form - ANYWHERE, is a threat to mankind everywhere.

#IStandWithParis #Solidarité #IStandWithMizzou #BlackLivesMatter #OnlyLOVECanStompOutHate #UseLightToExposeDarkness

~ @VeritéEtFeu

Note: My Twitter handle is a combination of three french terms "verité et feu", meaning "truth and fire" - the name of this blog...for those who were wondering.