Allons enfants de la Patrie...Peace for Paris

Please give credit back to original artist: @jean_jullien
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Citizens and tourists have lined up to donate very-much-needed blood for the victims. Protests are banned until Thurs, schools will re-open Mon., moment of silence scheduled for Mon.
Tour Eiffel will not have lights on to mourn

#PorteOuverte Social media campaign Friday night:
People offered others places to stay and taxis offered free rides since the metro closed
To all: Merci pour le Bleu Blanc Rouge

So many thoughts running through my head right now about what happened in Paris.

If you know me, it's not like Paris is special to me because I passed through one time or am using this tragedy as an opportunity for me to share a photo of myself there. And if someone did, I suppose it's just their way of trying to unite for such a tragedy and show that you're not alone. One city can represent so many things for so many different people, and even if someone has been only once, it's like realizing that any one of us who have ever visited Paris could have been those innocent victims had these attack been during that time. It's like hitting home and realizing that it could have been you. Sometimes, people need things to be personal in order for them to care about it and realize that it does affect them. They aren't immune superhumans to the reality of our world.

But it's not like I only care about tragedies selectively. I always try to search for news outside of what gets broadcasted via mainstream media in the States. I try to learn about what else goes on in the world and try to share that with others all the time.

Coming from a Cambodian heritage, where we didn't learn in school about why the genocide happened, I try to learn about why these things happen and where else these things are happening that we're not talking about...not just what is happening that the media shows us.


Paris is my home. I've been going since I was little, I have my own set of family and friends there...I have a completely different life in Paris. I attempted a naive move to Paris when I was fresh out of undergrad, and I suppose I've really been planning a permanent move abroad all along ever since I was little. 

Paris is my home. 

When a friend alerted me about the on-going attacks and hostage situation, I pulled up the live updates ASAP and started reading from the beginning. "OMG. Le Petit Cambodge!" Of all the places, a Cambodian restaurant in Paris??? "OMG. The Bataclan?!" There are so many people I know who frequent that place. It's right on the 3rd-11th border, right where our spots are. "OMG. RUE DE CHARONNE NOOOOOOOO!" I know it's a long street, but of all the places, this street in particular has tremendous significance for my family and friends. All of these locations combined (including the others later released) are immensely personal to me. And in Paris, everything is nearby to each other, BUT these places in particular are SO SPECIFIC to my family. 

Image from BBC News

Before I can call my parents to see if they know what's going on, I try to contact the people who live or play right near all of these places to check up on them. That was my first thought. 

I couldn't do or focus on anything else but try to contact everyone and make sure they're okay.
I wasn't going to get into a political debate or put up a picture of myself smiling in Paris or criticize people even say #PrayforParis because I needed to make sure people were safe first, bc, OMG, what if something happened to them? 

Of course, my WhatsApp version ended yesterday and I didn't have anymore phone memory to update, so I started deleting photos and videos in order to download the newer version to message Parisian friends and check up on them. That. fb. E-mail. Instagram. Twitter. 

Thank goodness one responded right away and let me know they are okay, so I could call my Mama and 1.) Tell her what was currently going on in Paris, and 2.) Let her know that her family is safe.

After I filled in my parents about what was going on, more coverage started popping up online and on TV.

I started hearing back from friends, started getting "likes" or hearts on social platforms to know that they were okay, started seeing them mark their safety via the facebook app...
But we still have yet to hear back from a couple people.

Staying hopeful that they are okay but maybe their phones died, maybe they're dealing with the trauma of what just happened and also trying to contact everyone they know. I can't imagine what it's like for the friends and families of the 150+ people who died. And especially those who can't get a hold of them or who aren't living in it's like they're going through what I'm going through, only their people never got back to them or weren't able to mark themselves "safe" using the facebook app, and I can't even begin to imagine the scale of emotions they must be going through.

If you are a citizen, you can call to find out more info about the victims of the 
Paris attacks:
Call: 0800 40 65 05

I can't even begin to imagine what victims, survivors, and those who have to live with the trauma of this event have to go through. 
Shirt that survivor Isobel Bowdery wore at the concert
Memory of the Bataclan events as shared by Isobel Bowdery on social media

But just as I'm still trying to find out if everyone I know is okay and safe, I start seeing criticisms, viewpoints from radical outlets, or bold opinions from people who I will assume 1 of 3 things: found out ASAP the people they know in the area are safe; don't personally know people in the area who could have been directly affected; or who don't know what it's like to be a refugee from something our government had a hand in.

I'm not going to criticize people right now. 

We all process things differently. All of these tragedies are tragedies. It's sad when some citizens of some countries live in hostile situations like this day in and day out. Just because we may or may not be aware of it does not make it any less important, but telling people they are stupid for not learning about the attacks in Beruit, Lebanon earlier this week, Boko Haram during Charlie Hebdo last year, or any of the other tragedies that happen around the world on a constant basis (Kenyan attack last April which many people are only hearing about for the 1st time now, or even the 371 American school shootings as of 1 Nov. 2015)...mocking them for not knowing info like this is not going to help open them up to a wider view or analyses on these events. 

Right now, I feel so bad for the victims. 

I feel bad for my friends and family who have gotten back to me and have told me about how shocking/horrible/terrible/scary it is. 

I feel for innocent Muslims who will get the racial backlash of these events, and I feel for people who will unknowingly channel their fear into more racial hate and discrimination, mistakenly thinking that this is a way to show strength, power, and courage...but instead, this is actually a way of perpetuating the cycle. This is a way of accidentally breeding the reactionary hate crimes and tragedies. This is a way of accidentally giving people a reason to "join the other side" to prove a point after feeling like they don't fit it, can't fit in, and never will feel accepted by the society in which they are members. And what's sad is that "both" sides are just reacting to each other and will keep doing something justified by the logic or reason that it's because the "other" side did something. And it's going to keep going back and forth like this. 

And I hope the people who haven't gotten back to us yet about their safety are indeed safe but just unable to answer because they're caught in the middle of the storm.

To be honest, I just don't know where I stand right now. 
It's so easy to get carried away by radical sides when these emotional events happen, because that's what they're made for. It's hard to take a step back and try to study everything with a sound mind because things turn personal when you know someone who has become injured or killed. But then it becomes personal on "both" sides, so how will we ever come to a safe resolution?

Déclaration du président de la République à la suite des attaq...
Déclaration du président de la République, François Hollande, à la suite des attaques à Paris
Posted by Élysée – Présidence de la République française on Friday, November 13, 2015

I got goosebumps watching President Hollande's speech last night.

I would not want to be the President of any country right now. What do you do? What can you do? What's "right" to do?

Are we on the brim of a Third World War? Are we suddenly going to repeat the horrors of internment camps of WWII with a different racial group this time?  Are we going to unknowingly breed the next generation of atrocious world leaders who will secretly seek revenge for the backlash they're going to grow up in today? Are we going to launch a new day Crusade where historians of the future will look back on us today and mourn for our foolishness? Will people of the future be able to look back at our society and be able to point out a peaceful solution that we just can't see because we've been stubbornly living too long in this fog?

That's how personal this is. I don't even know where I stand right now, and I don't even know what to say or if I should even share this post because I'm still processing the events.

How are you supposed to feel? What's "right" to feel? Triste? Furieuse? Confus?

Personally, the outpouring I have for Paris isn't trying to take away from what happens in other places of the world. For me, it's because I feel like there was an attack on my home. Paris is home. The Cambodian restaurant is home. The streets that were targeted are home. 

There was an attack on my home. 

Do I feel any racism when I'm in Paris? Yes, of course there are times, just like there are times when I feel racism in the States. But identifying so closely with what just happened in Paris isn't because I live in a magical bubble where proof only counts if it happens to a white person or if the mainstream media covers it or if someone tells me I should care about it...I feel all of the atrocities but especially identify with this one so deeply because it's home. 

Everyone has their own version of home. 

Indian blogger Karuna Ezara-Parikh sums it up well with this viral poem she wrote


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