Dear MoveOn member,
Yesterday, a horrendous series of attacks in Paris claimed more than 127 lives, terrorized the city, and sent shockwaves of grief around the world.1
While there is no single "right way" to react the day after such a senseless massacre, a good place to start is with compassion.
In the hours after chaos broke out, Parisians of all walks of life used the hashtag #PorteOuverte—literally, "Open Door"—to welcome displaced neighbors, including complete strangers, into the safety of their homes.2 People from every country, ethnicity, and religion shared words of solace and solidarity over social media, and nations around the world pledged support to the people of France.
In that same spirit, let us act with compassion today and gather at 5 p.m. this evening outside French consulates across the United States at Vigils for Paris and Peace.
(That link will lead you to an event listing on Facebook. If you're not on Facebook, that's OK—you can still see the details without logging in. We'll gather at the French consulate at 5 p.m. Bring a sign if you'd like, and look for others gathering there as well.)
At these vigils, we will stand in solidarity with the people of France. We'll stand with the people of Lebanon, who suffered a horrific double suicide bombing on Thursday that killed at least 43 people—without nearly as much news coverage as the attacks in Paris.3 We'll stand against politically-motivated violence around the globe—and for peace and compassion.
We will share our hope that France and her allies will seek justice, not vengeance—while we work to counter those who immediately turned to violent, divisive, and inflammatory responses. We encourage you to bring signs that show your opposition to violence and hatred.
Some are calling this "France's 9/11."3 We remember in the days after the attack on the World Trade Center how New Yorkers pulled together and how people around the world found material and symbolic ways to support America.
We also remember how a misguided and fearful response to those attacks led us down a path of intrusive security tactics that curtailed civil liberties at home and, ultimately, into unnecessary military action abroad.
Let's help make sure the people of Paris, Beirut, and other communities riven by violence feel that same compassion Americans experienced in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. And let's all work together to prevent a repetition of some of the mistakes that we made months and years later—to ensure that the international response to these horrific acts supports, not undermines, the French principles of "liberté, egalité, fraternité."
Thanks for all you do.
–Anna, Ilya, Erica, Justin K., and the rest of the team
1. "Paris Attacks Kill More Than 100, Police Say; Border Controls Tightened," The New York Times, November 13, 2015
2. "After Paris Attacks, Parisians Use Hashtag to Offer Shelter," Wired, November 13, 2015
3. "ISIS Claims Responsibility for Blasts that Killed Dozens in Beirut," The New York Times, November 12, 2015
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