Who is the Enemy? “Them” or “Us?”
At the family reunion in Dallas last weekend, you can just imagine the kinds of questions I got about living in France “among the large Muslim community.” It reminded me about the general ignorance there is about “them” — the “others” that are so misunderstood by the “non-Muslims.” My own sister made a statement that she wasn’t traveling to Europe any time soon for fear of terrorist attacks…as if that’s the only place events of this kind take place. That was just one day before the horrific attack in Orlando — the worst mass shooting in American history…by an American-born…yes, of Afghan immigrants, Omar Mateen.
When I was in Chicago the weekend before, the headlines on the New York Times read: “Three days, 64 people shot, six of them dead: Memorial Day on the streets, and the violence that has engulfed families and neighborhoods.” This year thus far in Chicago, there have been 1,177 shootings, 50% more than the year before, with 230 people dead. No wonder that on the window of a restaurant in Chicago was a “No Gun” sign.
The violence in Chicago and the rest of America has nothing to do with Muslims. It has a lot to do with many other factors, including the lack of gun control. So, why would an American fear safety in Europe when the danger is right there at home?
Meanwhile, tourism in France has been largely affected since the terrorist attacks last November — every business dependent on tourists is complaining. We residents see it on the streets, in the cafés and museums — there are clearly less people than usual everywhere. The excuse: terrorism. It’s the fear that’s keeping them at home, but from my point of view, the fear should be being at home!
After the Orlando shooting, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump responded with what is being called by the press “a no-holds-barred attack” on Muslims with a call for a ban on Muslim migration into the U.S. Does he talk about gun control instead? No. That’s because he has the support of the NRA (National Rifle Association), so he dare not. His remarks continue to contribute to the blind ignorance and gross racism.
In response to my cousins’ questions, I explained that of course, yes, there is a large Muslim population in France — about 5 million, but they are a part of our community — just as Americans and Jews and anyone else (the “them,” the “others”) who is not a native-born Catholic French person (the “us”). As an American Jewish immigrant in France (among almost 500,000 Jews), I’m a lot more part of the “them” than are the French-born Muslims who consider themselves part of the “us.”
Of the 5 million Muslims, about 82% are of Maghrebi origin (from Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia). Many famous French people are of Maghrebi descent — such as Edith Piaf (singer), Isabelle Adjani (actor), Arnaud Montebourg (politician), Alain Bashung (singer, songwriter, actor) and Dany Boon (comedian, filmmaker). What would France be without them and their contribution to the culture and society?
Let’s get this straight. Muslims are not terrorists, even if terrorists are Muslims. Jews are not Zionists, even if Zionists are Jews. Americans are not murderers, even if murderers are American.
When are we going to come to our senses and realize that our enemy may not be “them,” but in fact is “us?”
A la prochaine…
The Adrian Leeds Group
(with Kathy Borrus)
P.S. Kathy Borrus enlightened us all on more than 40 of Paris’ most illustrious buildings, as taken from her book, “1000 Buildings in Paris” at yesterday’s Parler Paris Après Midi. Read all about it on our site.
P.P.S. Many thanks to Candy’s Dirt for hosting the Open House and my presentation in Preston Hollow, Dallas! You can read the full report about our event last Thursday on CandysDirt.com.
P.P.P.S. Mark your calendar for our newest House Hunters International, “A Paris Shoebox for Six”!
Liz and Tony love life with their four kids in Melbourne. In fact, they love it so much that until very recently, they’ve never left the area. All that changed when they visited Paris a few years back, and now Liz is determined to break into their modest savings and buy a dream Parisian apartment. Unfortunately for them, Paris isn’t so obscure to the rest of the world, and affordable real estate is hard to come by. With Tony stuck in Melbourne for work, Liz will only have her teenage daughter to help find an affordable Parisian gem big enough for six and she won’t take ‘non’ for an answer.
Monday, July 18th at 10:30 p.m. EST and Tuesday, July 19th 1:30 a.m. EST. You can find more details on HHI