Friday, November 13, 2015

Terror in Paris

****Content warning: This post discusses the Paris terror attacks, 9/11, and is one of my occasional forays into non-autism blogging.****

Wounded people are evacuated from the Bataclan Theater in Paris

On September 11, 2001, I was living temporarily with friends in Portland, across the country from my then-permanent residence in St. Pete, Florida.  The phone rang just before 6:00 am.  My friend Phillip's girlfriend, who was working as a journalist on the east coast, was calling.  She told him to turn on the TV.  He did and immediately started shouting for us to come see, waking the rest of the house.  Five minutes later, we watched the second plane hit the South tower and understood unequivocally that we were witnessing a terrorist attack.

That weekend I went to a march and rally for peace in downtown Portland, as it had become immediately and painfully obvious that the Bush administration would use those horrific attacks to justify some form of war in the Middle East, likely entirely unrelated to the attacks themselves.  I knew that protesting was essentially pointless, but I felt like I had to do something. I was, regrettably, quite correct on both points.

Tonight, on the bus ride home, I looked out the window and saw a news ticker on a television playing CNN through a bank window, "At least 60 killed in Paris terror attacks."

"Holy fuck," I swore, involuntarily.

Every time this happens I'm back in front of our crappy 24 inch Portland flophouse TV, watching Flight 175 turn into a fireball.

The death toll tonight is over 150 with over 200 more injured.  Francois Hollande is calling this a war and American idiots are calling for a ban on refugees.

So.  Here we are again.

French exchange students sing La Marseillaise in NYC's Union Square

Words are fully inadequate in this situation, but believe me when I say that I understand and I'm so sorry.

And if I can speak from experience very briefly: this may be a war, but it will not be won with guns.

In solidarity.

One World Trade Center, lit in blue, white, and red