Fellow Americans and People of France,
First, allow me to express my deepest sympathies at the tragedy that struck the people of France on Wednesday, January 7th, and then on Friday, January 9th. Seventeen families are now without sons, daughters, parents, brothers and sisters, and we in the U.S. and its Congress join the people of France in mourning and unity.
Freedom of speech was also attacked on January 7th by cowards who lack the maturity and tolerance to allow anything they find sacrilegious to be said. These attackers in Paris were Islamic extremists, which leaves them on a unfortunately growing list of smaller, less coordinated attacks by Islamic extremists around the world ever since 9/11. And as can be expected, there will be
the usual cries for the expulsion of Muslims from European countries, Australia, Canada, Britain, and here in America (but only in political talk forums, not by actual political leaders, unlike in Europe).
People will squint their eyes a little more at Muslims, whisper hateful things about them, and equating all Muslims to those who carried out the deadly attack on France’s Charlie Hedbo newspaper on the 1/7 and the Jewish deli on 1/9.
And of course many non-Muslims will launch into their typical, rabid, “kill all terrorists” rhetoric and proclaim such things as “the only good terrorist is a dead one!” The responses to these acts, in many instances, will be calls for acts just as barbarous, like expulsion from nations, concentration camps for Muslims, more drone attacks, to waterboarding them and sticking them in cold cells with creepy insects, to out-right assassinations. Thus extremist murder begets extremist murder, perpetuating our current cycle of violence and intolerance.
Really, why all they contemplation and discussion on what uncivilized, atrocious acts and reprisals should be enacted on these and other future Islamic terrorists, when deep inside, in our hearts, we know that all they need is just a big, long, warm old bear hug to assuage their rage and nihilistic aims?
That’s right, America and France —just the body heat from a loving, accepting Westerner; a giant embrace from a liberal Frenchman or Dutchman or whatever-Westerners’ arms around a raging jihadi will fill them with the kindness and love we’ve all experienced over the holidays the last few weeks. It only takes a hug, I say! No guns, no shock-grenades, no secret raids in the middle of the night, no snipers or armies, no waterboarding or forced-listening to Kenny G songs. No, maybe all these terrorists need is a big old bear hug!
I remember when I was a little girl and had temper tantrums, the worst being when President McKinley was shot. I was so upset at the news that I tore up my stuffed animals and threw furniture around my room. And you know what stopped me? It was a simple ol’ bear hug! Yep, mommy came into my room and said, “Difi” (that was her nickname for me), “Stop and just stand there for mommy. Catch your breath and just freeze for a minute.”
Then, just as sure as can be, mommy came over and gave me a hug, a long, warm embrace, melting away all my anger and hostility and extreme feelings (“extreme”...hence extremism...heh? You all following me here?), and suddenly I felt that all was right with the world; McKinley’s death was unfortunate, yes, but not something to throw my life away over, and that humankind wasn’t that horrible after all, and that there are beautiful things in the world, like butterflies, morning dew, a snowflake landing on your tongue, a person picking up and delivering his neighbor’s morning newspaper for them, dead NRA members, the sunrise after a cloudy day, newborn babies suckling, grandma’s meatloaf, and so much more! In a moment I was reduced from a raging maniac to a humble, reflective, loving little girl with drying tears on her cheeks now flanking a bright smile.
In so many ways I feel like those Muslim terrorists in Paris are me reacting to the death of President McKinley. All they needed to wipe away their hatred and fanaticism would have been for someone to come up and give them a big old, nice bear hug, a hug that reaches right into their little brown, furry souls! There is no hatred in the world that a simple (yet so complex) little (yet so big), tight (but so releasing) bear hug can’t cure, no beheading psychopath a hug can’t subdue, no suicide bomber can’t diffuse, no wild-eyed “Allahu Akbar!” fanatic can’t alleviate, and no C.I.A. waterboarder it cannot water-down. Bear hugs, fellow citizens of the world... Bear hugs are all it takes!
So give your local Muslim terrorist a hug today, people of Paris, France, Europe, and everywhere else in the world. If only those terrorists in Paris had had a nice old Western lady or jolly old Santa-like Frenchman to run up and hug them as they were going about their rampage then probably nothing like what tragically occurred last Wednesday to Charlie Hebdo and the Jewish deli would have happened. A big old bear hug would have shown the terrorists that there was something else, something warm and inviting; a world outside of their hateful, calcified, throw-back ideology, and just urged them to put down their guns and unite with the French people around a nice hot cup of cappuccino or tea...and all after a bear hug!
Trust me, my fellow Americans and brothers in Europe: bear hugs! Great big old bear hugs are the way to go with disarming the mentality and actual arms of today’s Islamic terrorists. I plead; I implore you, please, just give it a try (as I sit in my comfy Senate office surrounded by armed security guards). Just give it a go, will ya? What’s the worst that can happen?
U.S. Senator, California