Yep. We should have sent someone to Paris

It would have been the honorable thing to do.

But we didn’t, so we didn’t have a high-ranking official at Sunday’s ginormous unity march burst into “Imagine,” with our neighbors.

From that CNN link:

More than 40 world leaders, including the British, German and Israeli heads of state and Russia’s foreign minister, joined at least 1.5 million people on the Paris streets Sunday for a unity march that became France’s biggest-ever public demonstration.

The “no religion, too” line should get my goat, but it doesn’t. I flat-dab love this song, and love that in their pain, the people in Paris reached for this:

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  1. I’m not surprised Obama decided not to go. I am a little surprised we didn’t send anybody.

    1. I was frankly surprised Obama didn’t go, but it was a really bad idea not to send anybody. Was Biden busy? Kerry? It just didn’t look very neighborly of us.

  2. Despite assurances from others that adequate security could have been possible, Obama himself would have been far too attractive a target. How many among the type of extremists blamed for that massacre would be willing to give their life for a shot at the Drone King? (Especially followers of Anwar Al-Awlaki.) I have to believe that reality, coupled with a genuine concern for the safety of the demonstrators, informed his decision not to go…even if he doesn’t say so. It may well have been a consideration in deciding not to send any official representative.

    Another consideration might be that the United States has close political and financial ties to governments, (Saudi Arabia…Qatar…the UAE…Bahrain), that embrace the same type of fundamentalist Sunni Islamism to which Salafist jihadis claim adherence. The fact no official representative was present…apparently not even an ambassador…may indicate a desire to not strain any diplomatic relations. Especially with Bibi in attendance. One would think our government would be concerned with affording any cogency to a fully predictable anti-Muslim response.

    1. That’s true, but I wish, on a human level, that we’d thought enough to send someone everybody would recognize, as a show of solidarity against this kind of heinous act. I know. That sounds trite. I can’t help myself.

          1. I was free, but I would not have gone. I think Cinzia Arruzza said it better than I ever could:

            In this worrying, and honestly scary, context [French and European intolerance], the repeated publication of vignettes caricaturizing Islamists by adopting religious symbols and stereotypical representations that by the same token identify five million oppressed people living in France was not an act of courage.

            …I cannot bring myself to participate in the choir and say that “I am Charlie.” But here is the problem. This attack and these murders push people like me into a corner, as they make it extremely difficult for us to say that we find this act of violence disgusting and unacceptable, that we deeply loathe the politics, strategy, and means of radical Islamists, that we are in pain for the people who have been murdered, but that yet we cannot identify ourselves with Charlie Hebdo. And we cannot deploy the expected slogan of “We are all French” in this moment in which a specific version of French national identity was mobilized to oppress those French citizens who cannot possibly identify with it.

            This tiny space, the space for a solidarity capable of challenging identities, rather than reinforcing or restating them, for a solidarity that does not need the affirmation of a common identity to express itself, is the space that the attack against Charlie Hebdo risks closing, forcing all of us to participate, willingly or unwillingly, directly or indirectly, in the renewed farce of the clash of civilizations.

      1. The Saudi ambassador to France attended the get-together…so forget that theory.

        And, as it turns out, the world leaders and government representatives attending didn’t lead anything but a photo-op, so Obama could have easily participated. Or Holder, who was actually in Paris for “high level” security talks.

        1. I don’t buy the idea that Obama’s presence would have created too much of a security hassle. The leader of Germany’s presence didn’t? The leader of Israel? C’mon.

          1. Yeah…I’m not buying it anymore either. Stand in the street and get your picture taken. Happens every day.

  3. Yep. I agree, Obama would have been too much of a target, jeopardizing public safety. But…we should have sent somebody.

    Thanks for the music.

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