“Pray for Paris and…”

Yes. But I’m sure by now you’ve all heard “but not only for Paris.”

I’m pretty sure the attacks in Beirut wouldn’t have even made global news had it not been for the Paris attacks, which then prompted people to say, Hey, this other thing that’s just as important also happened in Lebanon. Why is that?

Is it because the world in general thinks European lives matter more than Middle Eastern lives?

But stuff like that happens all the time over there, so it’s not news.

Actually, “stuff like that” doesn’t happen in Lebanon all the time:

“The implication, numerous Lebanese commentators complained, was that Arab lives mattered less. Either that, or that their country — relatively calm despite the war next door — was perceived as a place where carnage is the norm, an undifferentiated corner of a basket-case region. …. A reminder of the muddled perceptions came last week, when Jeb Bush, the Republican presidential candidate, declared that ‘if you’re a Christian, increasingly in Lebanon, or Iraq or Syria, you’re gonna be beheaded.’ That was news to Lebanon’s Christians, who hold significant political power.” (Source: Beirut Feels Forgotten)

Why did Facebook not activate their safety check for people whose loved ones were in Beirut at the time of the suicide bombings? Facebook later saved face by saying the high social activity surrounding the Paris attacks prompted them to activate safety check:

“As for Facebook, it declared that the high level of social media activity around the Paris attacks had inspired the company to activate Safety Check for the first time for an emergency other than a natural disaster, and that a policy of when to do so was still developing.
“‘There has to be a first time for trying something new, even in complex and sensitive times, and for us that was Paris,’ wrote Alex Schultz, the company’s vice president for growth, adding that Safety Check is less useful in continuing wars and epidemics because, without a clear end point, ‘it’s impossible to know when someone is truly “safe.”‘” (Beirut Feels Forgotten)

(Some people also complained that Facebook only offered a profile pic filter of the French flag, but that’s not as a big a deal, in my opinion. Just make your own filter, or do what I did and make your profile pic the image of the Lebanese flag.)

So, if we follow this logic, then the Beirut bombings was barely a news blip in the media. Indeed, many people had no idea it had even occurred until after the Paris bombings.

Why do Arab lives seem to matter less? Even if you do make the assumption that “stuff like that happens over there all the time,” why does that make it any less horrific? In actuality, it should be more horrific. Innocent lives were lost in both Paris and Beirut. Both were tragic events. But the world is only saying Pray for Paris. (To sugarcoat it, it’s like saying Rue’s death in the Hunger Games movie was less tragic because she was played by a black actress… which ties into the whole notion that Black lives matter less, but that’s a whole other topic for another time…)

Everywhere I go, I see the French flag now. Driving around downtown, I saw it waving on a billboard with its accompanied hashtag.

Look, send your love and thoughts to France. But also Lebanon. And Syria. And Kenya (which suffered a similar terrorist attack from al-Shabaab, but no one seemed to notice). And everyone.

Just.

Everyone.

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Be safe. Be kind.

Peace.

Rainbows! Rainbows everywhere!

Man, it’s been a “horrible, no good, very bad week” for conservatives, huh? Just take a look at this article.

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But today truly is a day to celebrate. I was starting to think it would never come. The U.S. is now the 21st country to legalize same-sex marriage – took us long enough. But, what took so long? Why were people so afraid of and offended by homosexuality that they would deny them the right to marry?

Sure, people cite the Bible as evidence in their arguments against gay marriage – and I agree that churches should not be forced to do anything against their respective belief systems – but if you’re going to follow the Old Testament, I hope you’re also abstaining from pork and killing people who work on Sundays. In any case, people tend to leave out one important bit of information: Christianity didn’t create marriage. It existed long before the advent of Christianity. So, if you’re a champion of “traditional marriage,” I hope you conduct your weddings pagan style.

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Others oppose gay marriage because it would lead to people marrying animals, and it would turn children gay, and good heavens! We wouldn’t want that, would we?

‘Kay, look. First of all, I don’t know what you’re smoking that makes you believe you can talk with animals, but animals can’t give consent. Adult humans can. Therefore, adult homosexual individuals who love each other have the right to marry. Animals? Not so much. And I’m pretty sure they don’t care…

Secondly, you can’t “turn” people gay. And you can’t “choose” to be gay. Believe me, I’ve tried to change my sexuality. I’m heterosexual, but I tried so hard to be asexual because I was sick of being hurt by guys. And there were times when girls hit on me, even as guys rejected me, and if I could, I would have just made myself gay. But, you know, vagina’s not my cup of tea. It never was, never will be. Many people I’m close with are LGBT. You’d think they would have influenced, or “recruited,” me ages ago. Doesn’t work that way.

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Likewise, a gay person can’t just turn straight. Let me put it this way: Some people are left-handed; most are right-handed. We don’t know why. It just is what it is.

So accept it. If you’re not LGBT, then this decision does not affect you. If I eat a cupcake, you won’t get fat. Etc, etc.

Take time to celebrate. Love wins! LOVE wins today. What poor soul is too blind to see how beautiful that is? You know what this reminds me of? The last time love overcame hate and ignorance:

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Look familiar?

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Why, yes. Yes it does.

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I have friends, cousins, and siblings who can marry whomever they want, anywhere in the country. Their happiness is my happiness. When I heard the news, I was off-my-rocker ecstatic, and I’m straight.

You know something, though. I have been quite invested in this struggle not only because many people I love are LGBT, but because had I lived 50 years ago, this same kind of hate and ignorance would have affected me, too.

My very first serious relationship was with a white guy. We planned on getting married – it was pretty much a given. His family made me feel at home. And during this war on the gay agenda, I couldn’t help thinking it was history repeating itself. What if I couldn’t marry the person I loved just because someone else didn’t like it? Someone I didn’t know, someone who had zero effect on my life. Someone who didn’t want me to marry just because they thought interracial marriage was wrong because it was Communism and the Bible said so.

We weren’t hurting anyone. We just loved each other, just like same-race couples do. Likewise, LGBT couples love each other, they fight, they make up, they go grocery shopping, some want kids, and they all just want to live their lives. We’re people. We’re human. We’re consenting adults. And it took a long time – too long – but we’re here. Love has made history yet again.

Way to go, ‘Murika. Every once in a blue moon, you do something right.

But we’ve still got a long way to go. Here’s a list of things the LGBT community and their straight allies still need to fight for.

But for now, let’s celebrate this victory! 😀 Have some rainbow cake.

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