The last week has been hard. France was attacked by ISIS sleeper cells and over 130 were killed. That is what the history books will probably remember from this week. It will probably be the event that alters the trajectory of history more than anything else.
This is not a post about hating on France. I grieve and mourn along with the rest of the world about the horrors that they have faced.
In the meantime, Chicago YTD: 2674 shooting victims, 432 homicides. Mostly black bodies. Mostly black young men. I’m pissed off. Nobody seems to give a shit about them. France gets a Facebook photo filter of the Tricolore, but Chicago gets what? People from outside these city limits don’t even know what is going on in their own backyard.
Lebanon falls victim to terror in Beirut, with another ~60 killed by ISIS. Most of the world probably has no idea what the Lebanese flag looks like.
What is our knee-jerk reaction? Most of the Republican Governors grandstand. “We won’t accept any Syrian refugees.” “Our first priority is keeping our residents safe.” “I am just doing something that Obama should have done already.”
Since 9/11, over 750,000 refugees have been resettled in the United States. Not a single one has been picked up on any sort of terrorism related charges. States don’t even have the right to refuse refugees that have been granted asylum in the US. Once they pass the national screening (which takes more than a couple of years in many cases) it doesn’t really matter what the states say. Grandstanding to create a climate of fear, politicking for a police state, concentrating power in the hands of those who already have it.
Yesterday I was at an event where a moment of silence was observed for France. We all took a moment to reflect on the tragedy of magnificent proportions. And then some knucklehead screamed right in the middle, “Let’s kick [ISIS’] f****** a**!”
Yes, let’s answer violence with violence. Let’s answer terror with fear. Let’s close our borders to refugees fleeing the same violence we had a small taste of the other day. Millions dead and displaced in Syria over the last four years – How many people could recognize a Syrian flag? – stuck between chemical attacks, beheadings, and drone strikes, and the “City on a Hill” that asks for “Your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” but also wants to block them because it is too easy to confuse terrorists with bombs strapped to their chest with someone who has lived in a refugee camps for years waiting on asylum. “Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.” No, literally, send them to me. The ‘hood in Chicago ain’t necessarily the golden door, but I’ve got a spare bedroom.
But we could live like we follow a different King. Love God, Love People. Perfect love casts out fear. In fact, we have no better picture of what love is than laying one’s life down for another. Welcome the foreigner because you were once foreigners in a strange land, fleeing persecution, and just trying to find a place to lay your head. Take care of them, and feed them, visit them in the refugee detainment centers across the American Southwest and in Greece and Italy, and give them cool water. Who knows, you may just entertain angels.