On occasion when talking to friends about travels abroad, I oftentimes come across people who’ve been to Europe, particularly France. Whether it’s sightseeing in Paris, hanging out at the Louvre, or crashing P. Diddy’s white party in St. Tropez, I hear it’s an amazing place full of sexy accents, beautiful people and all of the cheese and wine.
But some people have also told me how some French people think Americans are pretty downright foul. If there’s an armpit of the Universe I’m pretty sure they would think it’s us and not their smelly cheeses.
Understandably, our football-loving, beer chugging, rowdy population probably wouldn’t be invited to a fancy soirée full of skinny people in fashion-forward threads. That’s without saying how we would still try to find a way in with our head-to-toe H&M Balmain hoping to pull them off as the real thing. We’re cunning, ya know.
I’m proud to be an American. Being given opportunities that are often taken for granted is a privilege so it’s not the most encouraging Yelp review I would want to hear on my Land of the Free.
After hearing about the tragic terrorist attacks that happened in Paris the weekend of November 13th, I couldn’t help but notice how little those presumable opinions of America mattered when something so much more serious and heartbreaking was showing up on the news.
You wouldn’t expect something so heartless to happen on a country who was already affected by similar attacks earlier this year with the Charlie Hebdo tragedy. Our perceptions of Paris emulate beauty, fashion and romance, not war and terrorism. And to hear that the ugly head of ISIS attacked yet another country with its unforgiving plan to make statements of power was selfish, hateful, and every negative word in the motherfucking dictionary. (I can’t really think of any considering how upset I am).
Like us, the people of Paris were probably out on a Friday night having a good time with friends, celebrating the end of a busy work week and enjoying a much-needed drink or two (or three). Essentially, we are all one in the same at the end of the day regardless of where we come from.
It’s important to remember that it’s not just countries like France that experience acts of terror. A day before the Paris attacks, Beirut was hit with bombs in an urban community that took many lives, as well as leaving the nation of Lebanon shocked and saddened. We mustn’t forget other Middle Eastern countries like Turkey who experienced their own bout with terrorist attacks with back-to-back bombings in July and October of this year.
The list goes on in other countries and the results are the same. But with tragedy comes a sense of unity and strength and standing strong against threats while rebuilding a nation in the process is not only commendable but something we, as Americans, are familiar with after attacks of the same kind.
We may cheer for different teams, have different opinions on politics, or what the definition of fun is, but we have more in common with each other than we may think. And that’s not a bad thing. Because we never let tragedies defeat us. We come back stronger or more determined than ever.
No matter what is or isn’t said about ‘Merica from visitors of faraway lands, we’re here for you with all of the love, bacon, and rock n’ roll you could ever dream of. Universally, no one wants to take shit from the big bullies of the world. So let’s stand together and not let them take our lunch money. We pray for Paris and all those countries struck by acts of violence and terror from years past and those still recovering.