I’m writing this at 8:05 pm. I’ve been reading tweets about the attacks in Paris for a couple of hours now, and even though I’ve never been to France, I’ve felt an affinity for that country since junior high.
My heart is breaking.
Prior to hearing the news of the attacks, I was thinking of all the things I was grateful for: a BYU basketball game, a really cool piece of journalism the video yearbook staff did today, the upcoming jeans week at school, leftover takeout for dinner.
Three hours later, all those things seem so trivial.
Next week, I will teach a lesson that sets up a screening of the film Casablanca. I love this film–I never get tired of it. There is a scene where the patrons of Rick’s Cafe, in defiance of Germans singing the anthem of the Third Reich, sing “La Marseillaise.” There is a closeup of a woman singing, with a tear rolling down her cheek, and nearly every semester, in every class, students laugh at her emotion. Some years, I pause the movie and use it as a teaching moment about what a national anthem can mean to displaced citizens.
On Tuesday, prior to starting the film, I will take some time to discuss what it means to come together as citizens, irrelevant of geography, and try to explain why the French woman cries as she sings her national anthem.
I wish I didn’t have a timely event as a catalyst for that discussion. I wish I could guarantee I won’t weep when we get to that scene. But I’m grateful for these kinds of teaching moments, for the chance to share with students that sometimes being a citizen of the world is just as important as pledging allegiance to a country.
Nous sommes tous Parisiens.