Peace for Paris.
This is the prayer of many and this has been the sentiment shared almost nonstop across social media these last 24 hours, illustrated rather cleverly in the Banksy Eiffel Tower/Peace sign mashup. But I can neither pray nor hope for peace for Paris because there is no peace to be had in Paris.
The gunfire may have been quieted and the explosions may have ceased, but Paris will not experience peace. Daughters and sons, mothers and fathers, friends and lovers have been lost. They will not be brought back. No amount of "pitiless" war will bring them back. No justifications of retaliation will soothe the pain. No body count will be high enough to satisfy.
French soldiers will be dispatched. A war has been promised; it will be long and bloody, but it will not bring peace. More deaths — French and Syrian; soldiers and civilians — will come. This will be pseudo-solemnly lauded as tough but necessary. The French dead will be honored in the West; their “sacrifice” celebrated. The Syrian dead will be forgotten in the West; their expandability will be their silent legacy. Brown bodies will be demonized and vilified because of our fear, a fear that we will not seek to combat, nor even seek to understand, because we do not believe in fear. And yet this fear has just condemned thousands to death.
There is much I do not know, but this I know: in the wake of the attacks in Paris, there will be war, there will death, there will be hubris, there will be xenophobia, there will be loss, there will be loneliness, there will be despair, there will be unquenchable pain, and we will have been the author it. But there will be no peace for Paris, for it is we who will not allow it.