#PorteOuverte (#OpenDoor)

From regular citizens giving blood at hospitals to opening up their homes to strangers displaced by the Paris attacks on the evening of November 13, there’s more to the story than the horrible events that transpired that day. In trying times such as these, it is difficult to focus on anything other than the lives lost, the threats of terrorist acts, and the many people displaced and traumatized; in fact, it almost becomes a challenge to recognize acts of kindness, courage, and humanity.

Taking to social media as documented by The Washington Post and The Guardian, Parisians used the hashtag #PorteOuverte (open door) to alert people nearby who needed shelter in the face of the carnage. Globally, the hashtags #PriezPourParis (pray for Paris), #Solidarite (solidarity), and #Paris were trending, as Facebook notified the world of their Parisian friends’ safety.

While these gestures of kindness remind us of the human capacity to love despite hard times, the Guardian article shines a light on the Parisian Muslim community that fears they will be blamed for Friday’s attacks:  

“I am worried some French people will think Islam did this, that all Muslims are terrorists,” said Kaber Bouchoucha, 24, who works in a market to support himself through his part-time studies in fine art and design. “Already people in France look at us badly. There already is racism and this will make it worse.”

We must not forget the trials the Muslim community (and the Islamic religion) has faced not only in Paris but globally. We must also not forget the violence and trauma faced by others globally in Lebanon, Syria, and Nigeria  (to name, sadly, just a few), and the millions of refugees who may never be able to return to their homes. The compassion shown by Parisians (and the world) uniting in fear but also in solidarity, is evident in the slew of supportive messages, texts, phone calls, tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts, as well as by global leaders voicing their sympathy. We must learn to navigate the world with a #PorteOuverte.

How do you deal with the seemingly neverending slew of tragedy? Where do you find hope in humanity? How do/can you work to build peace and equity in your communities?  


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