Empathy Doesn’t Need A Passport.

Posted on
Nov 16, 2015

I was in Oklahoma when the news of the attacks on Paris broke, but my heart and mind have been in the City of Light ever since.

The outpouring of support for Parisians and France has been a beautiful thing to see, but has brought forth a sad reality: we have not exhibited the same support for Beirut, which was attacked the day before. The people of Lebanon say they feel forgotten.

I’m guilty of this as well. It becomes easy to look at a town we know and love and grieve for it; it’s harder to do so for a place we’ve never seen, or know little about.

A brief reminder, for all of us: do not let your empathy begin and end at a country’s borders. Paris, Beirut, Oklahoma – we are, rather incredibly, all connected. We should not be exploiting atrocities for our own political motives. We shouldn’t be turning a blind eye, or ignoring what doesn’t fit with our personal agenda. We shouldn’t be shouting hateful rhetoric during moments of silence.

And most importantly, we need to remember this- that the world is a surprisingly small place. We’ve got to be wonderful to one another, because in the end, we’re all we’ve got.

Oh, and we also have cookies, I guess. And pyramids. And the Eiffel Tower. And Bruce Springsteen. But still, being wonderful to one another? Totally important. Also, you shouldn’t blow stuff up. And you should share your cookies.

(And just like that, humanity was fixed.)

Leave a Comment

  • Theresa

    Geraldine, over the span of a year or two – since I’ve stumbled across this blog – there have been countless times that I’ve thought to myself, “I like this girl”. But after reading this, I just have to say it to you: I really like who you are (or at least what you reveal of yourself here in this space). I think you’re swell. All of this… I couldn’t agree more. I stand with Paris. I stand with Beirut. I stand with humanity, because I am in fact very human… To my everlasting shame, and to my everlasting pride. We humans are capable of such terrible things and such wonderful things. To more of the latter…

    • Everywhereist

      Thank you. This comment was lovely.

  • SmallBlondeChic

    I agree with Theresa below. I just like you. Your humor, your writing and your view of the world. Don’t blow stuff up and share your cookies. The end.

  • Thanks so much for writing and sharing this, Geraldine. Beautiful and deep, with the perfect touch of lightness—your reminder is important indeed!

  • Thank you so very, very much for this.

  • Gigi

    It really is pretty much that simple…along with love your neighbor. If we could all do that what a wonderful world this would be.

  • Thank you for these words. Such an important reminder for us all.

  • Everywhereist

    Thank you all for these lovely comments. You all have said what I wanted to far better than I could have. Hugs to you all!

  • Well said, Geraldine. To be completely honest, I didn’t know about the incidents in Beirut and Lebanon until I saw comments on social media about them being ignored in the media. They’ve hardly featured in the UK news over the past couple of days. I think it’s easier for Westerners to identify with and feel horrified by what happened in Paris, because it’s so close to home, especially in England. A lot of people have been to France, and it’s not considered a war zone or somewhere in turmoil. Whereas, the goings on in the middle east are all a bit too far removed from us, and a bit confusing. That doesn’t make our ignorance right though.

    I don’t care where something happens, what nationality or religion victims are, I do not stand for innocent people being killed and injured.

    At the root of everything, we are all human beings and our geography, race, or religion doesn’t change that.

  • Beth Eby Shia

    I echo these comments. Thank you so much for saying just the right words that echo,how I feel.

  • creativenomad

    This is amazing! Sharing on… more than I have ever shared anything in my life! I did not even know about Beruit… Now what does that say about our Media!

  • Rawad

    A special thanks from Beirut !

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