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Unknown Pianist Performs John Lennon’s “Imagine
Tribute to victims of terrorist attacks – Paris – France – November 13, 2015

This past week has been a difficult one for me. Today, November 15, I said goodbye to a couple and their six-year-old daughter: my dear friends and neighbors for the past six years. They are moving to another state to be close to the wife’s family. A victim of the toxic fumes and dust damaging his lungs, in the aftermath of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center, the husband and father now faces a battle to keep breathing.

Unlike those who sought vengeance and war against the “barbaric” enemy, this man did not fill his heart with hatred for those responsible for taking away the life he once had. Instead, he and his wife raised their daughter with a bounty of love. At eighteen months old, on recognizing me, she ran towards me with her arms open in flight. Since then, she has been my joy and gardening companion. She and her parents welcomed me into their hearts and lives.

Today, my heart is heavy with loss. Though far away, they will remain close to my heart.

On Friday, November 13th, came the news of the attacks on Paris in France, leaving 129 dead and 352 injured. I feel the pain of the people of Paris who have lost a loved one during these attacks. I mourn their loss.

I feel the pain and desperation of millions of refugees from across Africa and the Middle East who have also lost loved ones, as well as their homes and means of livelihood, and have turned to Europe for a safe refuge. The attacks on Paris – allegedly carried out by jihadists posing as refugees – now place their lives in even greater jeopardy.

Following the 9/11 attacks on New York City, our government initiated what has now become an endless War on Terror. How does one fight terror with more terror? It beats me. Over the past fourteen years of terrorizing our enemies with our military might and raining bombs, we have created what I consider our “Terrorist Beast.” Created with deception, lies, and greed, this Terrorist Beast feeds on our hatred and acts of violence in its hunting grounds.

France’s President Francois Hollande called the recent attacks on Paris an “act of barbarism.” How easy it is for us to demonize our enemies as barbaric! Warfare is barbaric, no matter which side wields the weapon. Will France and its allies continue to feed this Terrorist Beast with more bombs and boots-on-the-ground?

Lest we risk losing touch with our shared humanity, I highly recommend that you set aside time to watch the three-part series of the documentary film, HUMAN. It’s producers give us a remarkable opportunity to listen to and reflect upon what it is to be human as expressed by other humans across our diverse planet.

The fate of humanity rests in our hands. Let us not allow the powers that be to continue stoking our fears and sabotaging our lives.