This is the current revolution. Eleven candidates are vying for the office of president. Marine Le Pen, an outspoken anti-immigration candidate, has a strong chance of getting through round one of voting on the April 23rd. There are two other candidates running on a Frexit platform.
France and the world is on a precipice.
A few days ago, we stopped to help a woman in a push wheelchair who was stuck on the ubiquitous granite pavers in an alley. In perfect French I asked if I could please help her. Seems I am not afraid of this language when the cause is strong. Yes. She said. Yes. Push me down the street next to the beggar. She then needed our help walking up the steps and getting her wheelchair into the church. She dismissed us and thanked us–we left her there, our hearts heavy, in an empty church in her push chair. Presumably she was there to light a candle and to pray.
All the people who passed her while she struggled for escape from the cobblestones–Why? These same cobble stones were ripped from the streets by people who used the stones as weapons and barricades in the 1968 Paris riots and were fighting for the cause of student rights. Where are the protests and outrage now about HUMAN RIGHTS?
The handicapped, impoverished and immigrants all want the same thing–a better life. A family of four Syrians hovers on the concrete floor of a metro station with a nursing baby and this IS a better life. I ask myself with trepidation, how can that be better? I don’t want to fathom the worse.
The French are different from Americans in a way I admire. They don’t seem to pursue wealth. But Trump’s rise to power was not about wealth, as some believe. It was and is about mostly good people who are at the very bottom of their Hierarchy of Needs. They lack security and they fear the surplus of immigrants. Fear is what drove Brexit and fear is what is driving Frexit.
If we are to become a world without fear, each of us must embrace these humans on the street. The man with a starving family sees no choice but to beg–or to bomb. He needs HOPE. Our world powers must address the macro problem of poor governance, deplorable human rights and struggling economies in other countries.
This will not be fixed with a wall.
There is a man down the street from my apartment who sits every day with his golden dog begging for spare change. Tomorrow he will receive my spare change, but he will also get a smile from me and I will ask his name. He will appreciate the ‘hello’ and introduction far more than the change. How do I know this? Because he’s human, just like me and you.
On Sunday morning he will be there, when passers-by are on their way to Easter Sunday to celebrate their risen savior. On the way to their churches, they will dismissively pass my beggar, whose name I will soon know but for now you may call him Jesus.
Matthew 25:35-40 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in,…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.