November 16th, 2015

important, lives

Finding some way to be useful in the current crisis

Since the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, I have been gripped with the vague feeling that I ought to Do Something. The question is, "What?" There is a school of thought that seems to think that it is very important that we should go out and Fight Terrorism. I am bothered by the extent to which this seems to translate into "bomb civilians" and also I am not the sort of person you would send to fight anything. The last thing I fought was a house fly - we went three rounds and then negotiated a settlement whereby I waved it out the front door and it left me in peace. This does not seem applicable to the current geopolitical situation.

And then I thought about changing my Facebook picture, but really what the situation seems to call for is an icon of Marianne in an Eagles of Death Metal t-shirt, and I don't have the Photoshop skills for that.

And there is a strain of thought that says that We Must Not Let the Terrorists win by continuing to be unafraid as we go around living in cities, and drinking in bars, and going to rock concerts. I can do this with great gusto, but it's hard to feel virtuous about it since it's exactly what I was doing before the Paris attacks. And as much as it entertains me to imagine little terrorist cells exchanging urgent communiques along the lines of, "Wendy is going to see Behemoth again! Will nothing stop this woman!" I cannot really imagine that they are that bothered.

But then I was looking at the news about all these state governors saying that they don't want their state to accept Syrian refugees. And I'm glad that California is not among them. I want California to accept Syrian refugees. I want California to *welcome* Syrian refugees.

So, I made a donation to the Northern California chapter of the International Rescue Committee. The IRC helps refugees all over the world, but the Northern California chapter is helping refugees find housing, education, health care right here in my own community. I can't really think of a better way to Not Let the Terrorists Win than to help the people that they've driven out of their homes makes new homes here.

(If you want to see if IRC has a chapter in your city, go to their website, click on "Where We Work", and select your location.)