My husband came into the room while I was still sleeping on the morning of the attack and told me of a deadly attack in Paris. In my half state of sleep I blocked the news out. I didn’t want to take in another pain. My body wasn’t ready to grieve.
I slept on hoping I would wake up, and it would all have been a mistake or a dream. I woke up and refused to watch the news or go onto social media. I didn’t want what I thought I heard my husband say to be true. I lived in cowardly denial.
I finally put on my phone which I had switched off, and I then had a call from a friend. They said, “Yes, there has been an attack. And, yes, many died!” “Oh God!”, I cried out.
“Has anyone claimed responsibility?”, I asked fearfully. “ISIS.”, my friend told me. “Not again,” I groaned.
To lose a loved one so brutally is horror. To know that somebody somewhere decided to kill your loved one who never offended them and whom they probably had never even seen is painful. An accident, I can understand, but that I can never.
In a month’s time my daughter will be going to France for a ski trip. Will she be looked at differently because of her hijab? My thoughts are that someone in Paris may look at my daughter in her hijab differently from the rest when she is as much victim.
When an attack happens in places like Paris it’s not that their lives are more important, but that the outcry is high even from other countries that have their fair share of terrorism. It’s fear! With all the security in such places? How can this occur?
If these tragic events can happen in places like Paris with their state of the art, high level security then they can wipe us out, here, in Nigeria with our best security. This is what goes through our minds.
It can embolden some to attack with all the copycat crimes going on. We have had so many attacks in recent times. It leaves a palpable fear in the air.
I then saw outrage on social media of people who felt that too much emphasis was placed by the world on the French lives rather than on all lives. I couldn’t find it in me to be outraged. The French cried out to the world and the world joined them in their moment of grief.
When we are attacked in Nigeria a lot of us within Nigeria seem to not care. Even our government. So how would the world cry with us when we have refused to cry for each other?
An attack happened a while ago in which over a 100 were killed it took more than 3 days before there was an official statement from the President condemning the attack. There was outrage from a few of us, and we were attacked by so many for demanding the government acknowledge an attack and death of Nigerians.
With such callousness from our own, how would the world acknowledge our grief?
When the world gets no official statement from Nigerian government, how can they grieve with us when we haven’t even acknowledged that ours were killed?
I am a pragmatic person and would always tell myself the truth no matter how it hurts. I cannot begrudge the French and the world supporting them when we haven’t supported our own. Until we take our lives seriously no one else will, and it would always be painful when my government within hours would commiserate with other countries when they are attacked and refused to acknowledge attack in our own country until days later.
I have been shown I matter by individuals reaching out to me when there is attack from different parts of the world, especially the World Moms Blog family. You would not understand how touching those moments are. It shows I am a member of the human race.
My daughter asked me just yesterday if she would still be going to Paris next month. I told her, “YES!!!” No one will make us live in fear.
Do they have heart? Do they know what it is to lose a loved one? Why do they inflict such on others? What is Islamic about terror? NOTHING!!!
Islam preaches peace. Islam enjoins a right of environment & animals on us. One is not allowed in Islam to cut down a tree.
God said in the Qur’an to kill one human is like killing humanity. We have to unite and let the goodness in us all outshine the few evil ones. Terrorist attack to anyone anywhere in the world is terrorist attack to everyone everywhere in the world.
God rest the souls of the dead and console the families of the departed all over the world. It’s not easy.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by contributor Aisha Yesufu of Nigeria.
One day this spring, after taking the kids out to dinner, I checked my Facebook feed before I set out to drive home. I saw the news that my high school French teacher, Mrs. Warren, had passed away.
I began to drive home, and I felt such an emptiness, and I began to cry. I hadn’t seen Mrs. Warren since I graduated high school in 1994. That was 21 years ago. But, the impact she made to my life was so grand that I didn’t realize that there was a part of her that was always with me.
Mrs. Warren was an amazing French teacher. However, her greatest impact was not what she taught us about French, but what she taught us about life. For me, she was a teacher who peeked through hypothetical doors with her students, and said, “Look what is possible!”, and then said, “Go do it!” She listened to us, and she knew that we all had different wants and needs.
I remember that Mrs. Warren had a husband and two sons who she loved and spoke about very much and who were very into camping. So ironic because she, herself, belonged walking the streets and museums of Paris.
Every year she arranged to lead a bunch of school kids to France after school let out. She treated us all like her own. In the 1990s we had lectures at every step of the way: about the value of the Franc at that time compared to the dollar, our safety and what not to do and what to do in the French culture. She went over everything and then set us free to make our own decisions.
She led us up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and as much as she treasured the view, she seemed to be more excited about us seeing it for the first time.
Before this trip, I had only been on an airplane once to go to Florida and my parents had never been out of the country at that time. Mrs. Warren extended our boundaries. She taught her students that there was life outside of Brick, New Jersey, USA and how fun and interesting it was to explore the world!
The next year, after having exhausted my summer job savings on the trip to France, Mrs. Warren told her class about a scholarship competition from our town’s Board of Education for a summer foreign exchange. Since I had already been to France, I chose Japan because I yearned to see more of the world, and it was the country I knew the least about on the list. Everyone else who was applying chose a country which coincided with a language that they were learning at school. I realized that I had to come up with a different strategy for my essay and interview because I didn’t know any Japanese.
I wrote down all the stereotypes of Japan that I could think of and explained that I needed to go to Japan to get answers to questions such as, “Were the Japanese really obsessed with American baseball?” and, “Did the women walk around in kimonos everyday?”
However, although it was a very formidable obstacle, winning over the Board of Education, wasn’t the toughest thing in my way to get to Japan. After telling my parents about the scholarship for the foreign exchange, they said that I wasn’t allowed to apply.
As I mentioned before, my parents had never traveled internationally at that time, and I had extended them beyond their comfort zone when I went to France. But Mrs. Warren had been with me for that trip, and she had reassured them at the time, so that had been ok. This was different. There was no way they were going to allow their 17-year old daughter to go to another country on her own when she didn’t know the language. So, that was that.
Well, not really. I wrote and submitted the essay anyway. Not quite Malala standing up to the Taliban for her right to an education, but for me, it was rebellious.
My mom actually came into my room the night I was writing the essay and asked what I was doing. I didn’t lie. I told her the truth. I assured her that I probably wouldn’t win anyway and writing the essay was good experience for me. She looked at me, gasped in disbelief, and then since it was so late and she was tired and going up to bed, she said, “Ok, just don’t tell your father.” So, I didn’t tell him.
I remember the day I was in my AP Biology class and Mrs. Warren was standing outside the door. I had no idea why she was there. I waved to her and she kind of hid. I thought it was strange. It turned out she was trying to surprise me, and when I got out of class, she handed me a folder from the nonprofit foreign exchange organization, Youth for Understanding, and beamed as she gave me the news…
I couldn’t believe it!! I had won the scholarship, and I was going to Japan!! But, OH, NOOO!!!! Mrs. Warren didn’t know that my dad forbade me to apply. I had to tell her. So, I did.
My mom worked at the time as a teller at a bank, and without my knowing, Mrs. Warren went down to the bank and spoke with her. What teacher goes through the trouble and gets involved like that? Linda Warren did.
Mrs. Warren’s support justified to me that dreams were possible. That anything was possible! Even getting past my strict father and his sometimes totalitarian rule. (He doesn’t read my blog, so I can be all high school dramatic like that here.) It took a lot of convincing, but I did finally get permission to go to Japan for the summer. And, it definitely was one of the best experiences in my life.
Since Mrs. Warren encouraged me to travel internationally as a student, I have now visited sixteen countries. But perhaps some of the best things that have come out of my love of all things international are my English husband who also loves to travel, and the amazing opportunities the women at World Moms Blog and I have created together. We’ve spoken on a panel at the World Bank in support of the universal education for all children; accepted invitations to the White House and the United Nations; been on various delegations around the world to view health and education programs, and I still feel like we’re just getting started!
I can’t help but think that World Moms Blog may not have been, if I didn’t have Mrs. Warren’s support and invitation to the world when I needed her most.
Au revoir and thank you, Mrs. Warren. I am so grateful for your life. You are an inspiration. You are very missed, and I promise, I know now that everything IS possible. Your impact exceeds the number of the many students who had the opportunity to have you as a teacher.
Your life lessons proved much more valuable than what we thought we were getting when we signed up for your French class in high school. You were much more than a French teacher to me. Thank you for sharing your life with your students and inspiring us.
This is an original post to World Moms Blog by founder, Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA, who is greatly missing her French teacher today as she heads to a memorial mass for Linda Warren.
Photo from the Brick Memorial High School Class of ’94 Yearbook.
It takes a lot for me to leave my family behind for a week like I did to go to Uganda. Actually, it was the only time I’ve ever done it, sparked by an URGENT matter. Did you know that every 20 seconds a child dies from a vaccine-preventable disease?
Doesn’t sound pressing enough?
Well how about some math…:
In the time it takes for the Shot@Life 28 Days of Impact campaign to run through the blogosphere, statistically,120,960 children will succumb to vaccine-preventable deaths in the developing world.
And February is the shortest month.
That is 1.5 MILLION children in a year will die a death that we could have helped prevent for a few bucks. Yes, a few bucks, even just one buck, in some cases. It’s so simple.
Last October I left my family for a week and flew to Uganda with a delegation from the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life
On Monday I am told, “you need to go to Paris for 3 days next week.” I say “OK”, but think, “How can I pull that one-off? I am still nursing!”.
So I go into action, first calling my mother (who happens to be French, has a large family that live in Paris…and who is the primary caregiver during the day while I am at work), and then I start looking up plane tickets and hotels. The only way for me to be able to go on this business trip is to take the baby, and therefore, I need to take my mother to care for her while I am at work.
In turn, I need to take my 4-year-old son as well, since he would be otherwise left without a caretaker while we are away. Tickets are bought, hotel reservations made (which is a process on its own, since I need is a place with a kitchen, so that we can prepare food for the kids and are not forced to eat every meal out), bags are packed, and we are off! (more…)
When I was a child I went on a car trip that I spent decades wanting to repeat. At the time, my family lived in a tiny inland town in northeastern Brazil, where its 3,000 or so residents live perched on a beautiful mountain 900 m above sea level.
An older cousin who lived with us was getting married at what was then considered to be the “ripe old age” of 25 and needed her baptism certificate for the traditional Catholic Church ceremony. This needed to be picked up from her native town several hours away. (more…)