A few weeks ago, the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satire newspaper in Paris were attacked by terrorists. The terrorists went on a rampage, eventually killing more than a dozen people resulting in a heightened state of terror in the city of Paris and causing many to question the extent to which freedom of expression can go.
In the aftermath of the attack, a rally held in support of the city and those who had lost their lives drew more than 1.5 million people. The rally was attended by many world leaders from Germany, Spain, England, Palestine, Israel, and other countries, all of whom had come to show their support and to display a sense of solidarity against a war on terror that continues to be more and more complicated every day. While many countries were in attendance, one country was noticeably absent…..the United States.
For whatever reason, the United States didn’t feel that the attendance of its key leaders was necessary at this rally. Instead, they sent their condolences and remained absent…..until…
Until the criticisms started to fly.
Once the criticisms started to fly, it seems that the leaders began to second guess themselves. Understandable considering the circumstances. Forgivable? Certainly…..until…
Until they decided how they were going to make up for it. And how they were going to make amends? By sending Secretary of State John Kerry with his friend James Taylor to sing and, in the words of Kerry, to, “share a hug with all of Paris.” So, of course, how fitting that Taylor would sing his popular song, “You’ve Got A Friend.”
Really? Someone thought this was a good idea?
We miss an important rally to show our support for and send someone over to sing a song?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I like James Taylor. I like “You’ve Got A Friend.” But was it really appropriate to send him over to try to address a blatant mistake we had made?
I’ve only been to Europe once in my life, and it was for a very brief time. While there, it seemed fairly evident that the people were not big fans of the United States. Not the first time that I had heard that but certainly the first time that I had experienced it.
Frankly, I’m not sure that our little effort to make up for our absence helped to change the hearts of anyone who already didn’t like us. But maybe it’s just me.
What do you think?