I don't wear my francophilia loudly. Americans, and particularly those in my heavily conservative state, tend to have one of a set of reactions to France:
- I've always wanted to go to Paris! Eiffel Tower!
- My aunt went to Paris, she didn't like the food/people/transportation/blah blah blah
- I hate the French.
- (Some ridiculous fake Frenchy accent saying something rude)
I don't like to be made fun of for something that comes perfectly naturally to me, as far back as I can remember. So I don't share it with many people, and those who don't belittle or mock me for my great love of France, and Europe as a whole, are my closest friends. I realize you could replace "France" with "Art History" and everything I just wrote is equally applicable! Ha!
So not many people know that I record and watch the TV news from Paris nightly, and read Le Monde or Le Figaro at breakfast. But tonight Paris is on the world's mind, after the horrible murders at Charlie Hebdo.
Here's the thing, the newscasters keep repeating "This is the worst terrorist attack in France in 50 years." It is certainly the most brazen, and caused the most monstrous casualties. But if you've been following news in France for the last few years, there have been so many small scale terrorist attacks throughout the country. Like over Christmas in Dijon and Nantes. For as much as Americans talk about terrorism, we don't even come close to Europe's experience with jihadist terrorism.
My heart is in Paris tonight, mourning with the city over such cold hearted, calculated atrocity. Of course as a Christian I would never support retaliation, but I can understand why the French are voting more and more frequently for stricter border security and tighter emigration laws. Not much makes me more angry than infringing personal expression and speech, however vulgar it may be. No one should be forcibly silenced.