November 17, 2015

#noussommesunis

November 17, 2015 {321/365} 
"America is my country.
Paris is my hometown." ~ Gertrude Stein

Like so many Americans, I had just shifted into weekend mode when I heard the devastating news of the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday night. In the hours that followed, I struggled to balance my emotions: I dreaded more violence and destruction in the city that I've grown to love; I was proud of Milwaukee's display of solidarity with Paris; I felt guilty for enjoying the plans we had made for the weekend; and above all, I worried about the physical safety and emotional well-being of my friends in France. How could I support them just as they supported me in the wake of the September 11th attacks? As Monday approached, I wondered how to talk about these horrific attacks with my students and how to answer their questions objectively without revealing my own anxieties. Yet today, as we began to discuss the events, it occurred to me that by virtue of their own decisions to study the French language and culture, my students' francophile hearts were broken too. Their honest reactions and Tweets to Paris clearly illustrated that #noussommesunis -- that we are all united in our love and support of Paris.