#NousSommesUnis

Wednesday, November 18


When I got off from a night train on Saturday morning and found out about what happened in Paris, my heart was breaking. I immediately went on Facebook to check on my friends there, and even though it was a relief - to find out everyone was physically okay - it felt so wrong to press the like button and say I'm glad they're alright in the comments. The very feeling of gladness seemed so out of place in the light of previous night's events.

I've been contemplating whether to write or not to write a blog post expressing my thoughts on this horrible tragedy for a few days. On the one hand, terror attacks do not quite fit the concept of Appelez-moi Ana - on the other, it just feels so wrong to leave it out as if nothing ever happened and go on writing cheerful articles on Christmas lights, pretty books and roasted chestnuts.

As I do obviously feel deeply touched by the subject, I apologize in advance in front of everyone who has a different opinion and whose feelings may be hurt by my words - raw and inconvenient and, at times, contradictory. But as I said two weeks ago when 9268 was - as proclaimed yesterday - brought down by terrorists, I may be many things but I'm not heartless.

***

If you live in a cave (or a deserted island - which I'd personally prefer) and haven't been on social media lately, then you may not know that on Saturday Facebook started suggesting to change users' profile pics to a photo overlayed with a French flag. I personally did that straight away, as I do believe it is a kind and beautiful gesture that shows off that united we stand - no matter where we live, what we do, who we believe in.

However, couple hours later many of my fellow Russians started acting hysterical over the fact that two weeks ago nobody offered them an opportunity to... overlay their photo with our tricolor. My question is, what's wrong with your values if instead of spending time sympathizing (even if only online) you choose to spend time typing hateful posts? Some people were even saying that there were more people killed in the plane crash, and therefore the world should have mourned the victims of that tragedy more. Firstly, the world did cry its heart out for the people who died in Sinai. I couldn't stop crying for a good week and I even remember bursting into tears in the bathroom of our office because it was so hard to control the emotions. Secondly, what kind of a cynical dumb*ss (excuse my French) one has to be to count and compare the number of victims? To me, 129 and 224 are absolute equals. And even if there was 1 versus 353, nothing would've changed for me either.

But what frustrates me the most, is that people that left all these horrific and petty comments genuinely don't seem to understand the crucial difference between these two tragedies. From the 31st of October and up until yesterday most people blamed Kogalymavia for what happened with 9268, whereas it was obvious from the beginning that Paris was attacked by skilled and merciless terrorists that were killing indiscriminately, without asking for passport or which church does the person go to. And therefore the option that Facebook gave its users is not just a shallow method of drawing everyone's attention to the social network (which worked perfectly though) or simply expressing your compassion and solidarity with the Frenchmen/Russians/Lebanese/Japanese, but a way of showing them, the members of ISIS, that we are not scared. That we will not panic. That we will not see a traitor in every single Muslim man we meet on the streets. That we will not give up or give in. That we will defend ourselves and that we will stand proud, together as one.

***

I planned to go to Paris for a couple of days in the beginning of December, and even though I'm still eager to go and stand strong and united together with French people, I know my family will go mad worrying while I'm away. I'm tired of trains passing metro stations by and shopping malls evacuated because of bomb threat calls. I'm sick of seeing policemen everywhere I go and being surrounded by alert, anxiety and distrust. But there's hope, and there's love, and there's faith - and it's important to keep them in your heart in such challenging times.

Photos: Facebook

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