I had intended to post about how I rewrote my will to include a mandate that my cats attend my funeral in formal wear. But then shit went down in Paris, and I didn't feel right making light of death.
So, on Friday, I stared at the computer screen and tried to think of meaningful words to say about such an important subject. I know that these are vastly inadequate, and everything I say here has most likely been said before (but with less cursing). But I'm not doing this for posterity. I'm doing it for my posterior. My hypnotherapist said that sharing my feelings on a platform such as this will somehow help curb my emotional eating, and I don't want to be a butterball forever, so here goes...
Let's start with a quiz, shall we?
What country is this?
What country is this?
How about this one?
New topic: Which country is represented by this flag?
Ooooo! This one?
I'm surmising you at least have a guess for this one...
Here are the answers, y'all: Lebanon, Kenya, France, Nigeria, Lebanon, France.
How'd you do?
REASON FOR THAT QUIZ:
You and I both know that nobody should die the way those 120+ individuals did on Friday in Paris. But people do die that way all the time. Nearly 150 students were massacred in Kenya earlier this year. The day before the Paris attacks, religious extremists in Beirut staged suicide bombings, killing dozens of innocent folks. Oh, and let's not forget how the Boko Haram kicked off 2015 by slaughtering about 2,000 people in ONE WEEK in Nigeria.
All of these incidents are terrorist attacks. Yet I didn't see any of these stories on Facebook. I didn't see them trending on Twitter. And I sure as shit didn't see everyone changing their profile pictures to Kenya's flag or posting memes instructing us to "Pray for Lebanon."
You probably were able to pick out the French flag, because you've seen it flood Facebook. But did you see any of those other flags I shared above on your social media sites?
NOW I RAGE:
I want to be clear. I'm not upset with you. I don't mind your French flag filters on your Facebook page, because I know you are showing that you care. I don't begrudge you your "Pray for Paris" memes because we should be supportive of our historical allies.
Instead, I'm mad at the state of journalism, which prizes headlines like "Kim Kardashian flaunts baby bump in skintight dress" above "Almost 200,000 violent deaths documented thus far in Syrian's conflict."
I'm mad at institutionalized racism and classism, which tells us that the lives of affluent white European/American people matter more than minorities in poor countries.
I'm mad at our politicians, who demonize ALL Muslims rather than blame a relative handful of extremists who are vilifying a religion based on love.
Oh, and I'm still mad at politicians. All across the globe, they're calling for Muslims and refugees and any other scapegoats to be refused entrance to their nations. I'm particularly perturbed with Poland. Immediately after the Paris attacks, the nation decided to stop admitting the people fleeing from persecution and war in Syria because those refugees tend to be Islamic. Seriously, Poland. Fuck you. You might not remember it, but during World War II, when your people were up shit creek, an Islamic country took in your masses. Iran is credited with saving the lives of up to 300,000 Polish refugees.
To all of those mentioned above in bold font, I condemn you to drink the piss of a person who has just consumed asparagus.
THE PART WHERE I ASK "DO ALL LIVES MATTER?:
When I got online Friday night, it seemed that every single site I visited mentioned the Paris attacks. I couldn't escape it.
And as I saw the overwhelming global focus on this one incident, I turned to my husband and said: "You know what this reminds me of? It's like when a white girl gets kidnapped on her way back from her private Catholic school and then is found dead and every news station in the country covers it, but the low-income neighborhood just a few blocks over has had half a dozen black girls kidnapped and killed and nobody says 'boo.'"
THAT is how I feel right now. I feel like everybody is sad for the little white girl that is France. And they should be. Because it's tragic. But we should be every. single. bit. as devastated about the little minority girls that are Lebanon and Kenya and Syria and Nigeria and Pakistan and Yemen.
I understand (if I continue with this mediocre metaphor) that we Americans live in France's neighborhood and our daughters played with their daughters and it could have been us reeling in horror. Lebanon and Kenya? That's all the way across town. We don't know anybody who lives there, and we certainly don't visit, because, well, it's always been a troubled community, so of course we expect it to have problems.
And that's the crux of it, in my opinion. We don't think that we deserve to be attacked, so naturally, we don't think that people/nations who resemble us deserve these attacks. But, when it comes to the others, we conclude that they must have done something to create the chaos in their countries. We say that they need God, they need more guns, they need to elect better leaders, etc.
How about we just call it now? We Americans love to say "All lives matter." (Just watch a political debate for 10 seconds.) But we don't mean it. What we mean is "All lives that resemble ours matter."
And that's bullshit.
THE PART WHERE I ACKNOWLEDGE I AM A HYPOCRITE AND PART OF THE PROBLEM:
Of course I'm mad at myself.
I couldn't have picked out Kenya on a map if my life depended on it, and I had to Google which country Beirut was in because I had no fucking clue, and I expected Nigeria's flag to look exactly nothing like it actually looks.
And that's pathetic.
I am a literate, educated American with access to the massive wealth of knowledge that is ON MY GODDAMNED phone, thanks to 4G, so I have no excuse for my ignorance.
And then there's this other thing: What am I doing to battle the global privilege granted to white people of European descent? Short answer: Nothing.
How do I go about fixing that? Another short answer: I don't know.
So, any ideas, anybody? How can we change the world?