another beach and thoughts on Paris…

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This was going to be my posted image yesterday, but I kept thinking about Paris…

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I’ve thought about it long and hard and I can’t say it any better than Jesse Berney in this Rolling Stone article. The link takes you to the entire article, but I’ll include the pertinent (to me) last two paragraphs:

We’ve bombed hospitals and weddings. We’ve killed children with drones. If those are the only responses we can muster to terrorism, we will create generation after generation of people who want to strike back. That doesn’t make us responsible for attacks against us; only those who carry them out bear that responsibility.

Our responsibility is to be better than the terrorists, and to show those who might be seduced by their hatred that the world isn’t narrow and ugly. Closing off our borders to terrorized refugees sends exactly the wrong message.

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35 thoughts on “another beach and thoughts on Paris…

    • I do try to keep politics out of the blog, but there are times when I feel compelled to comment. The discussion certainly turned out to be interesting. It helps to know that I’m not alone in my yearning for a better world.

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  1. Terry and I were talking about this very topic last night. When will we learn that violence as a response to these attacks will only continue to raise the level of violence…a vicious circle.

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  2. Beautiful shots and yes as to your repost. As to “why don’t the young men stay and fight” (which one of your commenters said) – with whom? The government is probably the main entity killing the people – shooting, bombing, gassing, you name it. The resistance is fragmented. ISIS is picking up the fringe elements. Meanwhile, your sister and wife and daughter are in danger of being raped, your children may be completely accidentally killed or completely purposely subverted, there is no medical care, no viable infrastructure, nothing. At that point, I think caring for your family by getting them the hell somewhere else is a viable choice.

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  3. Beautiful images Gunta! Really beautiful. President Bush and Blair went hand in hand into Iraq and to my mind, both should be tried for war crimes. As for Guantanamo Bay, America should hang its head in shame and I know that many Americans would agree.
    We do need to be better than terrrorists but this is now a problem that will not go away and will have to be dealt with decisively and with force no matter how much we’d like it to be otherwise.
    I question why so many of the refugees fleeing Syria are young men who should be fighting the terror in their own country rather than running away. My grandfather’s generation stood up and fought the tyranny that threatened to engulf Europe in 1939. No running away there. It was England and England’s young men alone who took on that fight, only later to be joined by others but all were willing to give their lives to fight for what was right. These Syrian young men seem much more interested in the economic opportunities that Europe and other countries offer than defending their country and their countries women and children.
    Regardless of any of this, we do not hear enough Muslims condemning the horrors being perpetrated in their name, certainly not in the UK at least where we now have very large Muslim communities that will not integrate. As a teacher in East London, I was told by 14 year old Muslim boys on many occasions that my life had no meaning, I didn’t count because I wasn’t Muslim. That the women in my country were sluts and no better than whores because of the way they dressed. Boys from families who fled to the UK from Bangladesh and were welcomed with open arms. That disturbed me greatly and continues to disturb me to this day.
    We most definitely are not all playing by the same rules. While Christians in the UK are being told they cannot wear their crucifixes, more and more Muslim women take to the Burka and we defend their right to be counted as second class citizens and to not to be offered the rights in their communities that women have quite rightly fought for in the west and while apparently moderate Muslim states continue to stone women for adultery and execute gay men I find this all to be a very strange paradox coming from the liberal classes here.
    We are told that ISIS are not Muslims and yet it is my understanding that if one reads the Quaran, ISIS are being very, very good Muslims indeed. Perhaps that accounts for the lack of outrage and loud, sustained condemnation.

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    • I can only reply from my experience. I see our own homegrown terrorists (fundamental Christians) to be as bad as the same sort of extremists on the Muslim side. It’s pretty much about groups twisting the words in the Bible and Quaran to their own purposes. To me the main issue is the blending of politics (power) and religion. It’s what has warped this country as well, this preemption of political power to try to force religious beliefs on others. I couldn’t agree with you more that the Muslims ought to be working out this problem themselves. I believe the Saudis are probably as much to blame for the current insanity as any group as they appease and encourage the spread of Wahhabism.

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    • Of course emotions tend to fun high after a horrific event such as Paris, but I just hope that France doesn’t follow the same path we did after 9/11. That only made things so much worse.

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  4. Dear friend, one of the main reasons I am grateful, every single day, to be an American and to be back living in America is because of people like you. The openness, the offering of a helping hand, the desire to help the terrorized, the traumatized, the under privileged, the respect for all human life, the humanity. The humanity given without second thought to all simply because they are human. That’s America.

    I get asked all the time about my 2.3 years in the Middle East. I haven’t written about it because I truly do not have anything good to write about it. From my own experiences, I have searched high and low for something, something good about the place, about the people, about the culture, about the customs. Nothing. Truly nothing. From my own life lived experiences, they do not feel the way we do about human life. Your life, the life of the Rolling Stone reporter is not precious and would never be respected the way you respect theirs. They do not carry the humanity gene, it’s been lost through generations of hatred. The respect and dignity we give to another person for simply being born a human being is something that is missing in the Middle East and in it’s people. Do I generalize here? Yeah, I sure do, but it was my experience and what I took away from the region and from the people.

    My parents are immigrants from Eastern Europe, if America’s borders had not been open and welcoming, I would not be right here right now. Should we close our borders? No, we certainly shouldn’t. Should we close them off to some? Yes, I believe we should. Do I agree with France retaliating with force? There was a time, not to long ago, where I would of condemned Frances actions as much as I would have condemned the terrorists. But what I learned even from the most generous, non-radical, non-extremist people in the Middle east – They would not have the same respect for mine or your life if our god/religious book/prophet were not the same as theirs. There is no room for debate with them, there is no reasoning, there is no discussion. What is, is. What isn’t, isn’t. It is black and white. I talk about the non-extremist here with that sentence. Think about what my sentence would have been about the extremist.

    I apologize for the amount of space I just took up. I am always grateful to be back in a place where I can write such things and not be afraid of literally being arrested. 1.5 years later I STILL check myself and every time I check myself, I give thanks for being back. So thank you for giving me this forum to speak MY thoughts.

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    • I’m an immigrant from Eastern Europe myself. I’m utterly grateful that we were allowed to come to this amazing country when I was five years old. The bit I fail to understand is how many of the other Latvian kids I grew up with turned into rabid bigots against other immigrants in their later years. Perhaps thinking there isn’t enough goodness to go around. I’ve never understood it.

      I certainly can’t begin to understand what your experience in SA must have been. It just seems that there OUGHT to be a better response somewhere, somehow than violence on violence. I’m plowing through a book by Rabbi Sacks “Not in God’s Name” trying to find some understanding. I suspect there are no easy answers, but our invasion of Iraq presumably taught us (or should have taught us) that our intervention did nothing but open a can of some monster worms.

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      • Me too! I truly can not understand immigrants now condemning other immigrants!
        And yes, there really OUGHT be a better response but those answers are going to be very difficult to come by. We all, all of humanity, have a tough road ahead of us. Thank you for this great ‘gut check’ post.

        Oh. And did I mention the great photography?? Lovely, as always!

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  5. It is sort of hard to know the right response, though. As I understand it, this all started when the terrorist groups started mass killings in their various Arab countries. The book “I am Malala” is one very good source of information on this, as the young girl experienced it first hand. On the one hand, we talk a lot about not wanting to allow another Hitler to arise. But the terrorists don’t play by familiar rules. The leaders hide in hospitals and neighborhoods, and they do their own bombing of schools and weddings. The media is quick to point blame at our government, no matter what. When no troops are sent, then I hear us criticized for doing nothing. When troops are sent, then I hear we are monsters bombing innocent countries. I suspect that the media has very little actual knowledge of what is really going on.

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  6. I live in a suburb that has many refugees who have been through absolute terror in their home countries. The atrocities committed on them have been unbelievable . I welcome them to my country with open arms. Despite what some government ministers and prime ministers have said, many Australians feel as I do. They have become my friends and the thankfulness they’ve expressed at being able to give their children a safe and peaceful life is humbling.

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    • It seems that violence begets violence, but then where does it all end? We have our chicken hawks over here, too, squawking about bombing and retribution… but could we maybe spare the innocents at the very least?

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  7. Sad to read, but true.

    Striking back only re-enforces the Terroists (of any kind and country). They want to create mayhem and destruction to our everyday lives. They want Media (advertising their cause). They want to instigate hatred, violence and the breakdown of our calm and ordered society.

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I wish someone would find it and spread it across the world with loving kindness and a generous dollop of Peace and Compassion.

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