The Rampage

Point and Counterpoint: Tragedy in Paris

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Anaelle’s view:

When I heard the news, all I could think of was that time last year that I was in Paris, when I was told not to wear my favorite magen david necklace while going out. That’s all I could think of: the fear that was instilled in me by concealing my identity. At approximately 5:30pm, during my synagogue’s Shabbaton on Friday night, November 13th, my friend asked, “Did you hear what happened in Paris? So crazy! 130 people are murdered, maybe more! Do you think you’re family is okay? Do they live around there? Will you call them even if it’s Shabbat?” She, along with the rest of her questions, fizzled out of my focus, and my mind was instantly clouded with fear and anxiety. I hadn’t found out exactly what happened in Paris yet, but in all honesty, I didn’t want to know. Most of my family still lives in Paris; secular ones, religious ones, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends, and even thinking for a second that it was one of them, felt like a thousand daggers slit my heart. I reached for my magen david necklace, holding it with a tight grip; hoping all the heaviness will leave my heart, but it didn’t.

We couldn’t sleep, debating whether we should call, reassuring one another that they were all fine. That everyone was fine. The only source of strength that we had came from praying; praying that half of our heart, our other life, thousands of miles across the sea was okay. That they were in their homes, safe and sound, comforting one another. That’s all we could do until Shabbat was over. Our friends attempted to help us keep the time pass, but nothing could take the deep fear away from your heart; a fear so big it makes you feel so heavy that you can’t eat or walk.

As soon as Shabbat was over, my family ran to the phone to call our French family; I was too fearful to sit and listen, fearful of the worst possible thing that could happen to my family. With my hands shaking I took the phone, I  heard their trembling voices, trying to keep it together, for us. My Grandmother, the matriarch of the family, who proudly walks around Paris with her Jewish identity, starting speaking of the idea of leaving as soon as possible. Never have I heard such worry in their voices; the voices that once tried to beg us to stay for me to grow up in Paris.

My cousin had been in the area of the shootings that night, out having fun like a normal teenager would do. His life had changed forever; speaking to him constantly, his voice still quivers thinking about going out again. Diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he can hardly bring himself to think of anything else other then that day. I wish I could travel there right now and comfort all of them. Rough winds have overtaken Paris; not only for the French, but for the Jews are constantly targeted and badgered in their everyday life. Although it is too dangerous to wear my magen david necklace out when walking around in Paris, I will always keep it under my shirt, staying true to my real identity, my Jewish identity.

Ayelet’s view:

The recent attacks in Paris changed the world in fundamental ways. Just as 9/11 opened a whole new chapter within our modern day civilization, yet again we got a gruesome reminder that freedom needs to be defended. The targets struck were chosen at random or in some unpredictable fashion. The sole purpose of these attacks was to terrorize, to fundamentally shake the entire free world. It is almost impossible to protect every restaurant, stadium, tavern, or even music venue. However, in order to prevent similar occurrences and repeated actions, we must come up with a resolution that will deter any group or individual from carrying out another attack. The world should not stand idly by and once again allow ISIS to get away with what they’ve done.

Moreover, the tragedy in Paris is connected to what is happening in Israel right now. Although no one can deny that what happened in Paris was a terrible and a huge tragedy, what is happening in Israel is just as bad. Everyday innocent civilians just walking on the street are being murdered, just because they are Jewish. What was the world’s reaction to this? Nothing. The media and the news were silent, as oppose to how they reacted to the Paris attacks. Snapchat even put a filter to show support for Paris, and Facebook gave the option of adding France’s flag to your profile picture. This is a great way to show that we care and stand with Paris and all those who were effecting by the attacks. However, it is not right that Israel does not receive any attention like this from the media, being that everyday another Jew is stabbed to death for no particular reason.

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The student newspaper of the Ramaz Upper School