Apologies in advance for the non book-related posting.
Less than two weeks ago, in a city over four thousand miles around the world from Paris, between 500,000 and 800,000 locals and visitors crowded into the streets and public grounds and walkways around Union Station, a recently rehabilitated railway station built during a grander era, to celebrate the World Series victory of the Kansas City Royals baseball team. All of the space that you see in front of the building was a sea of people in blue jerseys and caps. The fountain was full. The streets were full. The crowd went up the hill from which this picture was taken, onto the grounds of the beautiful monument to the First World War, the Liberty Memorial. Whatever you may think of sport, it was a time of tremendous local joy and pride.
Now, this building is lighted in the colours of the French national flag, in solidarity with the city and citizens of Paris, with France, and with all people, everywhere, who value individual liberty, fraternity, and equality. It is a much more sombre reminder that there is still evil (and I do not use that word lightly) in the world, and that monsters who scarcely deserve the sobriquet human are abroad on the face of the earth… for now.
Cities around the world have lighted monuments, memorials, and public buildings in this fashion. Lights do not help, of course. Yes, something as simple as lighting can be an act of solidarity, I suppose. However, lights do not ease the pain, they do not diminish the memories of monstrous acts. Only time and distance can do that.
We grieve for you and with you.
And we spit in the eyes of the monsters, before grinding them under our heels.
If you do not already support an international aid organisation and wish to contribute something to support relief efforts, here is the International Red Cross / Croix Rouge update on their efforts in Paris. You can donate from this link.