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.