THE BLOG

Helpless But Not Hopeless In The Wake Of The Paris Attacks

11/16/2015 10:12 EST | Updated 11/16/2016 05:12 EST
Sandy Huffaker via Getty Images
LONG BEACH, CA - NOVEMBER 15: Students and mourners hold candles to honor Nohemi Gonzalez, 23, who was killed during the attacks in Paris, on November 15, 2015 in Long Beach, California. Gonzalez, from El Monte, California, was a senior at CSULB studying design and attending Strate College of Design during a semester abroad program. At least 129 peope died on November 13 when three teams of terrorists attacked multiple locations around Paris. (Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

I went to see a film with my husband last night and I couldn't shake this feeling of guilt. We rode to the theatre, silently and listlessly gazing out the window as our Uber driver fiddled with the radio, neither one of us picking up our phone to see if any more news had unfolded. I just couldn't take it anymore. How could I go about my Friday night when a city I cherish is suffering beyond measure? It felt really unfair.

After scrolling through hundreds of articles and images paying homage to the city of light, I considered keeping my thoughts contained to my buzzing brain. What could I possibly write that would articulate how I was feeling? About Paris, about a band I love, about humanity. About Beirut and all the other regions of the world that face these atrocities daily. What's happening to us?

I can appreciate why some people feel outraged about Paris receiving such an outpouring of support and sympathy in the wake of these recent attacks, with so many other cities suffering in the same way. But not every tragedy is going to resonate equally. When the nightclubs in Bali were bombed in 2002, for example, my heart was broken. For me, it has more to do with having a sentimental attachment to these places because I've spent time there, regardless if they're westernized or not. Either way, each event is equally tragic and senseless.

I've traveled to Paris many times, most recently during my honeymoon a few years ago. It sounds cliché, but...

Paris has always been and will always be a symbol of love. Which makes what's happened in the city all the more unbearable.

Eagles of Death Metal have been on my radar from the moment their punchy single I Only Want You hit the airwaves in 2004. Despite what the band's name might suggest, the music they play couldn't be farther from what one might consider death metal. It's funky, dance-worthy pop rock with cheeky lyrics to match, which makes their name somewhat ironic. The California-based band, co-founded by Jesse Hughes and Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme, is all about returning to the roots of rock and essentially putting out feel-good music you can groove to.

They didn't have any hidden agendas when they stepped on stage at the Bataclan; they just wanted to put on a good show. It's still unclear whether or not Homme was performing with EODM for Friday's show, which ended in the tragic death of over 100 people. But the band made it out alive, save their merchandise manager Nick Alexander, sadly, according to Rolling Stone.

I can't begin to imagine the scene inside of that theatre when the shooters took hold. To be in the audience, letting loose on a Friday night, innocently enjoying this great band. It's incomprehensible to me. I came across an Instagram post from Juliette Lewis that kind of encompassed everything I was feeling. "Rock shows are a sanctuary for pure expression, celebration, and release. We are beyond words that these beautiful lives were lost in this place of collective joy and fearlessness."

I think a lot of the guilt I'm feeling stems from a place of helplessness. What can I possibly do to alleviate the pain our French friends are enduring? All I can think of is to be as kind as I possibly can. To my friends, family, and neighbours. To the young guy who always bags my groceries with a smile or the mom I helped hoist a doublewide stroller into her car the other day. To the dapper gentleman I bike by regularly that always says good morning. You just have to love the shit out of your fellow man, you know, because what else can you do?