I had to stop work for a while and put this post together because I feel like I can't just go on about my day and keep posting regular blog posts all week like nothing has happened. Like many of us, I feel connected to Paris. After minoring in French in college and obsessing over getting to Paris for years, I finally got to spend time there in 2008 in a sweet little apartment on Rue Beautreillis (directly across the street from where Jim Morrison lived and died, I soon found out), and I fell in love with the city. The Bataclan, where one of the attacks took place, wasn't far from there. And with a husband who works for a band and plays similar venues (including in Paris, on occasion) for a living, I just keep envisioning over and over how terrifying that must have been for those working the venue and the people just out enjoying a show, and how absolutely devastating it must be right now for the victims' families.
The attacks in Paris, of course, have nothing to do with me, and I don't want to make it seem like I'm making them about me by sharing my personal connections. We all have stories. We have all been to Paris or know someone who has visited or lived there. We've all attended concerts, or soccer games, or spent an evening at a restaurant. The attacks took place at "everyday" places. We can relate in that way. But what can we actually do? I almost felt guilty just posting my two cents on social media and then going about daily life. I figured there has to be more, so I looked into it. And I came up with this small list of organizations doing things to help, along with other ways you can be of assistance:
French Blood Service is accepting blood donations. If you live in Paris you can arrange to give blood using their website.
The French Red Cross has deployed several hundred volunteers to help survivors from Paris attacks and set up help centers. You can donate here.
Open your doors to people needing a place to stay. In Paris, the hashtag #PorteOuverte right after the attacks was used by people to let victims know their doors were open, and is still being used for those displaced after the attacks. It has also been used, along with #StrandedInUS, by people in other countries as an offer of a place to stay for French citizens who are stranded by flight cancellations and border closings.
Secours Populaire Français is a local French Charity that fights poverty and provides aid during emergencies that is working to help the victims. You can donate here.
(These are just a few ideas. If you know of other ways to help, please leave them in the comments.)
This is a lifestyle and design blog - a place for our readers to escape from reality for a few minutes and to focus on pretty things and creative projects and non-heavy topics. But I had to say something. I also want to say that although I do understand why so many have turned attention specifically to Paris (because we can personally relate, as I explained above) when other important attacks have recently taken place and been virtually ignored by the media, those attacks matter too. In April, terrorists killed 147 people at a university in Kenya, yet the story was barely covered. And less than a day before the attacks in Paris, two suicide bombers killed over 40 people in Beirut - but focus swiftly shifted to France. The world in general is in a state of unrest right now, and anywhere (and everywhere) where innocent people are being killed is worthy of attention. I don't have a solution, and feel very confused and helpless about all of it myself. I do vow to continue to focus on practicing compassion and promoting peace wherever I can, whatever that is worth. And if a few dollars can genuinely make a difference to an organization who is providing help to victims in these sort of attacks, then I will donate. I hope I can find other ways to tangibly help as well.
Thanks for listening, guys. Now back to the regularly scheduled light-hearted stuff here at Bubby and Bean.
Image via NPR
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