Friday, January 16, 2015

Visions Of The Past Are Easier Than Those Of The Future

This past Monday, the White House said that President Barack Obama or another high-ranking government official should have joined other world leaders in Paris for the anti-terror rally on Sunday. Oops. For the record, our ambassador to France was there, and Attorney General Eric Holder was in Paris, but was busy with "security meetings." And so, while the rest of the world was linking arms in a show of solidarity against terrorism, the White House Google Calendar failed them. Sorry, rest of the planet, we whiffed that one. "It's fair to say we should have sent someone with a higher profile," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. The administration also announced that Secretary of State John Kerry, who was on a long-planned trip to India Sunday, will visit France later this week. Okay, France, set your charisma-meters on "stun." Here comes John Kerry.
Sure, it would have been great if one of the remaining world super-powers would have shown up, but were we missed? Really? Well, if you happened to be the Prime Minister of Israel, in which case you would have been discouraged to come by France's President. Francois Hollande asked Benjamin Netanyahu to stay away from the big parade. To be fair, it was stated by the French government that they would "prefer that Netanyahu not attend, which sounds just a little more polite than, "We're sorry but your invitation must have been lost in the mail." Why the freeze out? French officials felt that the Prime Minister might use the occasion to make speeches and divert attention to other issues like Jewish-Muslim relations or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. What do those things have to do with global terrorism, anyway?
(Insert photo of kosher grocery store here. Include story about Muslim who saved seven Jews.) In the end, it really is all about coming together in the light. Not as Christian, Jew, or Muslim. Not as Black, White, or Brown. Not as American, French or Israeli. What should have been isn't the point. What will be. Looking back with anger and pointing out that two of the Charlie Hebdo gunmen were on the U.S. "no-fly list" does nothing to bring back the innocent lives. "What if" and "If only" are best suited for looking ahead. Won't it be great when we can feel bad because we missed the celebration of world peace?

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