“No man is an island…”

Two days ago, over 40 people, mostly Muslims, died in Beirut because of an ISIS suicide bomber … their lives: as important, as real, as human, as the people murdered in Paris last night. Two days ago, listening to the radio, I thought “that’s awful” and continued getting ready for work. Now last night, as I listened to NPR and watched CNN and absorbed exactly what happened in Paris, it impact me, to my shame, in a much more concrete way, as after all, I’ve been to France; I’ve been affected deeply by French literature, art, film, culture and food; and intellectually I am well aware, America wouldn’t exist as a country without French help. But that’s not good enough. I should have been more conscious about the Beirut attack 2 days ago too. These extremists, who actually don’t follow/honor the religion that they claim to kill in the name of, WANT to divide us into Us and Them. That’s the point of terror. So, I can’t help thinking right now of John Donne’s beautiful poem that we collectively don’t strike at the innocent in the name of revenge against the guilty: “No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

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