Doing things differently since 1984
You may not remember me, but I believe we used to be friends. I learned your language (mostly – at least I tried), visited your shores several times, and grew a deep appreciation for your culture and people. I hope you can receive my message as one from an old friend.
Last week, when I heard the news about the tragedy that had struck your beautiful nation, I was shocked with you. When you mourned the deaths of innocents, I mourned with you. When you remembered why you have values to be proud of, I was proud with you. When you came together in an unprecedented march of solidarity, I marched with you.
But today, as tens of thousands of armed policemen flood into your streets in the name of security, I am afraid for you.
In America, we too were struck with a tragedy 14 years ago which caused our nation to experience shock, then mourning, then pride, and then unprecedented solidarity. I remember that time well – the mix of fear and pride was innocuous, and in some ways I wish we could always be so focused on the things that really matter.
In America, everything has changed since then. You probably know the story – our potent mix of fear and pride led us blindly into fruitless war; we surrendered freedoms in the name of security, and estranged ourselves from allies. Whether this was necessary or would have happened anyway, I can’t say – I can say, however, that 14 years later, we still live in the same kind of fear, but without any of the solidarity.
I do not want to claim that I have all of the answers, or tell you how to run your country. By all means, defend yourselves, and take whatever precautions are necessary. But, I beg of you, do not let your fear supplant the very thing that makes you proud. Fear is like greed; it is never satisfied, and can be difficult to control. Don’t let this be the moment that you regret 14 years later.
Avec toute mon affection,