Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rodez marches against terrorism

The crowd assembles on the Place d'Armes

My husband and I were determined to participate in the "Marche Républicaine" in Rodez today. Although it was announced as a "silent gathering," it turned out to be a march around the city, under sunny skies and through biting glacial winds.

"De Damas à Paris, le terrorisme, c'est le même"

On the Place d'Armes, we waited near this quiet yet visible group reminding us that "from Damas to Paris, terrorism is the same thing." 

Nobody I was with was able to recognize their flag, which I have now identified: Kurdistan, or at least Southern Kurdistan, not a country but a roughly-defined region where Kurds are the majority population, and have often been victims of violence.

They made a highly relevant point. While the recent acts in France are appalling and merit strong condemnation, we mustn't forget that most terrorist acts do not take place in Western nations.

Just yesterday, a "girl-bomber," estimated to be 10 years old, killed 19 people in a market in Nigeria by penetrating the area, her own body covered with explosives. 

That act of terrorism will be quickly forgotten as the press covers the march in Paris.

The first wave leaves Place d'Armes

Unthinkable violent acts take place pretty much daily all over the world: a sobering, even depressing, a thought that I had trouble kicking while waiting for the march to start.

As the march ends: a ray of light; a ray of hope

Yet, in Rodez, a town of 25,000 in la France Profonde, 17,000 people left their quiet Sunday routines to show their support for peace and tolerance.

The experience left me invigorated and hopeful.

May the terrible Charlie Hebdo/Montrouge/Hyper Kacher attacks in France pave the way for an enhanced awareness of the ravages of terrorism all over the world.


Anonymous said...

Moi aussi, Madame, moi aussi.

Susan said...

I wish I'd thought to take our Australian flag to our march. We were amazed at how many people turned up -- about 130% of the population of our small town.

tut-tut said...

Something has got to change.

Sue Brady Ardington said...

Betty, How wonderful that you and your husband did this. The acts of intolerance around the world are something we should all stand up against.

bookworm said...

I fear too many of those acts, so far away, will be forgotten. The only coverage I saw of the horrendous incident in Nigeria was on a ticker (some of our news networks have had continuous tickers scrolling news events since September 11, 2001). I had read tat perhaps 2,000 people were killed in one attack in Nigeria this week. But now, our world is tied together. Happenings in one part of the world must echo everywhere. Alana

Perpetua said...

What a wonderful turnout. Let's hope that, as others mention, notice will be taken of all atrocities, not just those in the West.

Katie Zeller said...

Wonderful that you were able to join. We watched....
It's good that there is such a strong show of people not willing to tolerate such acts.... Bad that it seems to be just for the 'western' world. Hope springs eternal....

Betty Carlson said...

I am catching up on has been an emotional time, and I'm still a pretty uneasy about it all. I personally don't agree with Charlie Hebdo's decision as to the cover of their new issue. Everybody is saying there is a "before" and an "after." "Before" C.H. was a fringe publication whose caricatures were allowed in this land of freedom of speech. Fine.

But "after" they have suddenly become a symbol of France itself, which makes me fear further attacks. I don't think everybody should necessarily back down, I just think there would have been many other legitimate choices for this historic issue.

What do you all think?

Anonymous said...

Sorry Betty C, don't agree. Not an inch (or cm) must be given to terrorists and if 'survival' CH had failed to publish a Mo cartoon cover it would have signalled exactly that -- letting terrorists dictate terms. Laicite has been a fundamental tenent since 1905 and as Eric Conan wrote recently, all the other religions in France have learnt to bend to the law over the past 100 years and the time has now come for the religion of Islam to bend to it also. Also of course there is no blasphemy law in France so CH is at liberty to lampoon all religions (as it does) without hindrance, while freedom of expression is non-negotiable. (French-News-Online)

Betty Carlson said...

Well, anonymous, thank you for your comment. I think you have good and enlightening arguments, certainly better than any others I have heard on the subject as you founded them on laws and a clear philosophy.

So I think you have altered my point of view somewhat. I just wish I knew who you were...I think people should sign their comments, or at least identify themselves in some way.