Just like everyone else in the free world, I've been increasingly disturbed about what's going on. I, too, feel worried and apprehensive, with so many questions and very few answers. Mostly I wonder about how these atrocities could have gone on for so long now, with no one putting a stop to them. I'm wondering how much longer our politicians and world leader believe they can continue to assuage us with what now feel like empty words, such as, "We will catch them and make them pay."
"Pay"? What does that really mean anyway? Could there possibly be any consequences that would actually be appropriate for the horrors these gruesome bullies of the world are inflicting upon others as we speak? Considering that they want to 'die as martyrs,' even death seems to be little incentive to them. I can't help but wonder--what will it take?
Although some may at times attempt to explain the psychological underpinnings of what goes on in the hearts and minds of people who think that it's totally okay to brutally murder, rape, and torture others, it's impossible for me to fathom why this has been allowed to continue. I just seriously don't understand it.
But, I digress.
What I really want to talk about is a young man I read about recently in a Huffington Post column -- an extraordinarily courageous and compassionate human being who saved a number of lives in the Parisian Kosher Market, at precisely the same moment that another man was fanatically intimidating and killing others in that same store, all in the name of religion.
If you haven't read about this amazing young man, his name is Lassana Bathily. He is French and he is Muslim. While that horrific brutality was happening in the Kosher Market, he had the foresight to lead several people into the freezer area of the store, turning off the power so they wouldn't die in there. He was later quoted as saying, "We are brothers. It's not a question of Jews, of Christians or of Muslims. We're all in the same boat, we have to help each other to get out of this crisis."
How right he is!
When he managed to slip out through a freight elevator and encountered the police, Bathily was immediately assumed to be one of the terrorists in question -- due to the colour of his skin --and was physically taken down and handcuffed. Although I'm sure we can all see how that could have happened, especially in the heat of that moment, thankfully the police didn't shoot at him as part of their retaliation.
What an amazingly brave man Lassana is -- how gutsy and honourable and heroic. He stood up for what he believes, in that exact instant when it was most critical for him to do so. Would you do this? Would I? I'd like to think we all would, but until we're faced with our own moment of truth, do we really know?
I find it so heartwarming to hear a story like this -- especially now, when everything else we're hearing is so negative. There truly is good in the human spirit, and people like Mr. Bathily continue to show us that.
Lassana, I wanted more people to know about you; the world is a better place because you're in it. My deep gratitude and appreciation are with you. I can only imagine how terrifying this situation was for everyone -- and having you there made it that much easier. I wish I could meet you in person -- you are definitely the kind of person I'd like to call my friend, and I wish the best for you always.
Je Suis Charlie ~ Je Suis Juif.
JE SUIS LASSANA!
ALSO ON HUFFPOST: