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I want you to read this beautiful story.

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and that’s not because it is so short and yet very promising of changing your life forever; something a religious figure would usually tell you. But because this text is a beautiful manifestation of the storytelling art with social change impact. This story is a healthy example of what we lack in our daily neutron media dish. Please explore the beautiful human inside us.The first body of story appeared  on Monday, December 7, 2015 at 12:13pm by Agata Szymanowicz on her Facebook account:

Please, please share this post and help me find this family!

They are from Damascus, Syria. They were once incredibly kind and generous to me and now, when their country is being torn apart, I hope I can pay it back.

In 1999 during my holiday travels through Syria I lost all my money, credit cards and passport and found myself stranded, alone and scared.
This family took me, a complete stranger, into their home. They not only gave me food and shelter but also treated as a dear guest and made me feel really safe and welcome. They showed me their city and introduced me to their friends. In many long, fascinating conversations they introduced me to their religion and culture. It proved to be a life-changing experience and resulted in my life-long interest in Middle East and Islam.
But even more long-lasting has been my sense of gratitude. And knowing that there are kind and caring people like this out there has always somehow made me feel safer in our turbulent world.

Now, with all that is happening in Syria, these lovely people may need my help. I have long ago lost contact with them (it’s a long story of lost or locked email accounts) and these photographs are the only link I have.

They were taken in 1999 in Damascus. The young man’s name is Fadi. He was a medical student back then and would now be in his late thirties. His sister’s name is Rala (although I am not 100% sure). She was studying architecture back then. She would now be in her mid-thirties. They also had a little brother, about 7 years old (so now in his twenties). The woman on the photograph is their mum. Their dad, on the second photograph, was a medical doctor. (The scruffy blonde is me so ignore :-))

Please share this post as widely as possible. Maybe someone will recognise them and put us back in touch.

(My email address, just in case: agata.anna@gmail.com)

Thank you!

On Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 1:22am and because the post was shared 1455 times (last checked Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 11:20am)   Agata found the family. :)

Thank you so much to all of you who have shared my post. I have just found the family I was looking for! I am still awaiting a message from them but I have been told that they are safe and sound. Can I just say – the amount of help and good will I have experienced in the last couple of days has been amazing and truly touching. Thank you so much to every one of you who shared my post, messaged me and made an effort to help me find these lovely people.

It is NOT really a small world. It is a big heart, It is a beautiful will. Although the original post was only liked by 15 people and enjoyed 11 comments but people SHARED it. Agatha has (381) friends on Facebook, the call for action worked and the 1466 shares helped spread the word. Some would attribute this to the power of special networks, I would definitely give some credit to Facebook but that is just part of the story. Should not Agata in the first place had the will and the compassion this story would not have seen the “digital” light in the first place nor have been rendered into a reality under the sun latter. This story SHOWS the power of discourse, and the interchangeable relation between text, image, and the medium. But more importantly, this story shows the potentials of Human-Driven Media.

 

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Bref, FN Wins . . . France Loses.

 

Notre Dame De Paris

With the unprecedented success of the French extreme-right party Front national (FN) in the first round of the regional elections, few points worth noting.

1- First, the results show CLEARLY that the majority of French citizens do ACTUALLY support FN program.
 
2- Secondly, this is to say somehow that at least 2 out of the 3 French republic’s values have been destroyed, or at least facing serious troubles/challenges, namely: égalité and fraternité.
 
3- The third value; Liberté, is in great doubt if it is still holding true. Under the tighten measurements imposed by the french government both freedoms of expression and access to information are in serious danger.
 
4- In the sense of the above, how a question of importance is: How much the immune system of France is capable anymore to defend French citizens lives and more importantly sense of life!
 
Not only the most genuine values of the French culture are being under threat by the French themselves this time when voting extreme, but also this is a clear manifestation of how the French society is getting closed on itself. This is not only economically threatening but it is a cultural-self-suicide.
 
Those voting extreme are not only abandoning all the French humanitarians contribution since world war two, they are indeed throwing in the name of fear the French culture. Apparently, if 9/11 had enabled Bush to occupy Iraq, the 2015 terrorists attacks in France had enabled FN to occupy France. 
Great job FN! You made unprecedented success, however, the only problem is that with those who voted for you. They had chosen to throw out the champagne with the cork! They threw the baby out with the bathwater! 

France and terrorism | Article Three: An Eyewitness Testimony.

You are a victim of your own mind

French authorities provided hot lines for citizens to give information about last night terror attacks. I have some information, so I thought i should be sharing my testimony here.

I was there. very close. close enough that i can not believe i am still safe and writing these words here now. I witnessed everything, and I know who the terrorists are and where they hide.

But I am afraid. I am afraid that no one will believe. I do understand that people have their reasons not to believe but I do also think it is my duty to contribute as an eyewitness my words. Here they are.

We were few in that street, just two hours before the attacks take place. We were enjoying life, like any free human being on this earth. It looks like they got angry! They approached us and with cold hearts they started to shoot on the air, we were afraid but we did not run away and that is when they started to shoot on us. I will not say there were tanks because that will looks like big exaggeration. Amongst us was a journalist and he was killed. A film directing young student was killed too. We did not know what to do, we were so shocked, but we managed to take the first route, and hide somewhere. One of us was so paralyzed that he could not move, they caught them, pulled their head to the floor forced some of them to pray for their god, and stepped on some others, while asking the rest why they were celebrating freedom and calling them and their sisters bitches!. They followed us, they knew we saw them, one of us is a computer geek, another one is a caricature artist, and a third one was a cute priest. They searched the area, they caught the caricature artists first and they broke his fingers, they ambuscaded the computer expert and took them to the middle of nowhere. The priest was the most courageous amongst us, he went out, walked steady with full confidence to them and stretched his hand as a sign of peace and warm greeting. They hit him and he disappeared suddenly, I could not see him anymore. They started shooting madly, they bombed the area from the sky. They destroyed the neighborhood. The area and the people were scattered into tiny pieces. They used chemical weapons, and they kept doing that for 4 and half years. when they were told this is a violation of human rights, they said the United Nations is not credible. In fact they said they will forget that Europe exists on the map, and threatened to bomb Europe giving detailed information here. Eventually, facing all this terror and madness, some of us escaped.

Ok I told you where the criminals are. Here is the paragraph again but this time with proxies, names, and plenty of useful information to catch the terrorists.

We were few in that street, just two hours before the attacks took place. We were enjoying life, like any free human being on this earth. It looks like they got angry! They approached us and with cold hearts they started to shoot on the air, we were afraid but we did not run away and that is when they started to shoot on us. I will not say there were tanks because that will looks like big exaggeration. Amongst us was a journalist and he was killed. A film directing young student was killed too. We did not know what to do, we were so shocked, but we managed to take the first route, and hide somewhere. One of us was so paralyzed that he could not move, they caught them, pulled their head to the floor forced some of them to pray for their god, and stepped on some others, while asking the rest why they were celebrating freedom and calling them and their sisters bitches!. They followed us, they knew we saw them, one of us is a computer geek, another one is a caricature artist, and a third one was a cute priest. They searched the area, they caught the caricature artists first and they broke his fingers, they ambuscaded the computer expert and took them to the middle of nowhere. The priest was the most courageous amongst us, he went out, walked steady with full confidence to them and stretched his hand as a sign of peace and warm greeting. They hit him and he disappeared suddenly, I could not see him anymore. They started shooting madly, they bombed the area from the sky. They destroyed the neighborhood. The area and the people were scattered into tiny pieces. They used chemical weapons, and they kept doing that for 4 and half years. when they were told this is a violation of human rights, they said the United Nations is not credible. In fact they said they will forget that Europe exists on the map, and threatened to bomb Europe giving detailed information here. Eventually, facing all this terror and madness, some of us escaped.

France and terrorism | Article One: 23 lines.

Flowers in hand near the Rue de Charonne in Paris. Courtesy AFP

Flowers in hand near the Rue de Charonne in Paris. Courtesy AFP

Dear already shocked reader,

We need to come together. Not only as a compassionate act, nor to fight terrorism , but to understand why this happened, happening and possibly sadly can happen again!

Let us agree about the following 23 lines as a start. Otherwise, you will not find any of the coming posts of much value.

1- What happened in France is a large scale terrorism attack.

2- Condemning the attacks is important.

3- Condemning the attacks is not enough.

4- Any one can condemn the attacks, even terrorists themselves.

5- The speed of response to the attacks is indicative, but more importantly the quality of the response.

6- The pain of people should not be commercialized nor politicized.

7- French are not one person and talking to them, about them, with them, should not be like talking to one person.

8- Muslims are not one person and talking to them, about them, with them, should not be like talking to one person.

9- Terror resistance policies seems to be arguably insufficient. And there are solutions for that.

10- Social media activism is important.

11- Many of Muslims are mentally terrorists.

12 – Many of French are mentally colonizers.

13- Unfortunately, most of the time we search media to confirm our beliefs and not to search facts.

14- Unfortunately, most of the big media institutions’ agendas are economically and politically manipulated.

15- The mother of the terrorist is not a terrorist and relatively equally is not his father too.

16- Nothing on this earth, nor in books, bible, quran, or toilet paper, would tell a person to kill an innocent person.

17- Killing one innocent person is a killing for all humans on this earth.

18 – As long as there are dictators in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Qatar and other states there will be terror attacks.

19- Moderate Muslims need support to fight Radical ones.

20- Language itself is a source of terror.

21- So many Muslims are keeping silence/d in such big human events, and this is really dangerous.

22- If immigrants have no problem taking the boats and going back home tomorrow, what will be the next step?

23- I do not care about all this 22 previous shits. I want to enjoy my dinner, concert, football match, love. I want to live my life full, and I am willing to do anything to make this happen.

If you agree, partially at least, with the above 23 lines then you may find the coming series of posts somehow helpful to minimize the probability of a next terrorists attack.

Click subscribe to read the coming related posts.

Peace,

b

I am shocked … The police shot fire and many were killed!

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo, Marseille, Protests for Liberty

Thousands were there. Protesting for a sacred value: Liberty. Then suddenly, police started shooting on them, on us. Killing and injuring many. I mean thousands. I mean a couple of hundreds of thousands.

Do not misinterpret my message/news, i was not talking about France, i was talking about Syria. Where since the beginning, four years ago, pacific protests were faced by Syrian regime’s security forces with fire. Bullets against voices of liberty.

Carlie Hebdo, Syria, Marseille, France 10934323_10152999083068221_2137356598_n

Does that rings relevant? What about considering journalists, cartoonists and directors who were killed by Assad regime security. Or maybe those who were severely injured by Assad regime forces but still covering news in Syria.

This is exactly the reasoning behind my participation like many and  going out for the victims of terrorism in France. The principle is one and it will always remain: Injustice in one place have a domino effect everywhere. And Justice in one place have this butterfly effect everywhere too.

RIP Charlie Hebdo team and all victims of terror in the past hard days.

Why most of the muslims in France betrayed their religion yesterday?

I am a muslim.

I do not like to categorize myself as this and I do not even believe in such categorization. In fact, i think a better way to define myself would be as being a pizza fan! or someone who likes data mining! or maybe that I enjoy good wine, turkish coffee, and macron from Fuchon. I prefer Adidas over Nike, I like Kodak although she passed away. I am a consumer. A consumer of both my own prodcuts and products of others that I find convincing enough. This other sometimes happen to be a god. But i am also a sponge. that is a good human trait. I absorbs. And i am not against consumerism, nor i am a vegetarian, although i like vegetarians and sometimes i tend to think they are way more conscious than i am. I love France. I used to love USA until it became too arrogant. And I used to study bible when was 21 years old and my teacher was an american Anglican young friend. His name was Mark. I like Arabic calligraphy, Spinoza, and I prefer Jung over Freud . I like impressionism and hyperrealism as art schools. I am fascinated with the works of Pierre Bourdieu and I guess he should not ever been considered a classical school. What else? do I have to continue?

As you can read, I can go miles of writing expressing myself. In fact this is how the world is going to be few decades from now. I guess, I hope. A world that is clustered in tribes of preferences. We belong to our tribe of preferences more than we belong to our religion or nation. But we prefer to categorize ourselves based on our religions. Why? It is because we are weak. Even those of us who are anti religion, they tend to position thresmevels based on that antiRELIGION trait! But I guess there are always exceptions. many exceptions. a majority of silent exceptions.

But my first line in this piece of expression was a defence mechanism. A way to tell any muslim who is going to attack me that I am muslim. It is just like blue color can not tell another blue color that he was discriminating against blues! Both of us are sad. or supposed to be so. and both of us are skies or at least perceived ourselves to be so.

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Yesterday, I naturally, went to participate in a silent gathering taking place in the Vieux port area in Marseille south France. 775 Kms far away from the place where the savage crime took place yesterday’s morning at Charlie Hebdo publication.

There were some people in the beginning but then the number increased and increased. I thought it will keep increasing. But it did not. Not for a normal growth algorithm, but out of two reasons. awareness of how critical the subject is and betrayal.

For the first reason, many of my neighbors where at home when i left and they were still there when i came back. i could see this, i could hear this and it was obvious. They were all French. That is a bad sign. It is a clear indication of how much there is a blackness of awareness to the sequences of yesterday event there is. And it is a clear indication how humans all of the world have more in common than in difference. This time the common trait -unfortunately- is this indifference regarding critical issues. Humans Lives!

But my very big concern was not that. It was the betrayal one.

France total population By INSEE for January 2014 was 65.83 million inhabitants. Marseille with a population of (850,602) makes her the second biggest city in France with almost 38% of Paris (2,234,105) total population.

The announced number of particpants in the gatherings all over France yesterday suggested more than 100,000 participants all over the country making it less than 0.15 of the total population. This is not indicative enough number as no one expect children nor elders to participate maybe! But still the number is way bellow expectations. This is the darkest day in French contemporary history since 40 Years.

While 7,000 had actively participated in Marseille between 10,000 and 15,000 had participated in Paris .

it means that around 0,8% of Marseille total population had participated and actively said NO to terrorism and Yes to Freedom of speech. This is almost 8 times of the national percentage. This is the good news part. Marseille is ACTIVE. CONSCIOUS and definitely not LAZY!  While % 0,67 of Paris population did the same.

When i attended vieux port I didn’t realize any people with north african or middle eastern or even basic pacific ethnical features! In fact Pew Research Study proposes, that a majority of the world’s Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region. While the Middle East makes up only 19.8 percent of the world’s total Muslim population. . However, not to be considered as having a discriminative attitude i tried to find an evidence. I looked into my own photos and into the photos of others. My suggestion remained valid. But how would i know there were not muslims of other origins, a daughter or a son of a french lady or a french gentleman! I can not prove this as i did not go into one-to-one check. But i still trust my senses. So i need to find a way to prove my gut and my mere eye observation and quantify it.

There are at least 255,180 Muslims in Marseille estimated at 30% of Marseille’s total population

Females to males ratio is approximately 1/1 which makes the estimated number of muslim females in Marseille at 127,590 .

So i a narrowed my expectations to women and why? because i hypothesize i can find veiled muslim women with a proportionally relevant representation. I assumed (which is far less than accurate numbers) that veiled women would count for only 10% of total muslim women. Accroding to these guidelines i searched for at least 10% of those 127,590 women which is 12,795 veiled women.

Back to the ration of total participants in Marseille which is 0.8% of the total population, that made me expect to see at least 100 veiled women. . I didn’t. and I assumed with a not so scientific evidence that the men who pushed many of them to wear veils were not there too!

I did not see, and that was sad. I did not see and that was disappointing, because I was expecting to see.

But two of my christian male arabs here didn’t attend too! I can easily categorize them in the laziness, or indifference or less harmuly put weak conscious status.

But for those muslims the question remains WHY! I intentionally write this WHY in capitals because while i am writing in silence it is a real big screen inside me. WHY! WHY didn’t you attend? who told you it is against your principles and values!? what kind of principles do you really hold?? I am not going to attack you to win more credit points in case some French intelligence guy was busy now aggregating online expressions and analyzing them! But i need to understand what is the reason you did not participate? Because by answering such question I guess we are half away to solve those terrorism and discrimination incidents alike. Do you really think those journalists, artists, expressers, deserved death!? I do not think you do! at least ONE person amongst you do not ! and I am sure there were some conscious muslims there ! I heard there was one veiled women in paris at the republic ! just one! and because there were a total number of 15000  protestors in Paris and 7000 in Marseille I try to make a sarcasm about myself and think: maybe there was half one here and I didnt notice.

But I know two things now. it is a shame. It is a betrayal to the region you claim you believe! and I am shocked, really shocked how a liberate nation like France go out with only 0.15 of the total population in a horrible incident like this! how!?I strongly belief that the first step towards countering terrorism is to consider this a serious job with committed people to do it. and the first step in such commitment is to think collectively! in a public space, in science and solidarity and for enough time. !

By this, i guess i answered my own question which constituted the title of this piece of expression: “Why most of the muslims in France betrayed their religion yesterday?” Maybe because they are not muslims! and maybe because many non muslim French betrayed their value of  Fraternité and expected Liberté, to be secured by default when they did not consider the value of Égalité.

4 Helpful Questions : Muslims and France

To my muslim believer fellows in this day of grieve in France.

Giving the fact that i am a moderate “Interpreting Believer”, I do fully understand how many of you feel today. There are at least four critical questions that can help you describe your attitude towards what happened today in France and help you better understand your belief:

1- Prioritizing: compassion with victims and their families vs defending your belief system. In fact if your priority today was to defend islam then i am sorry to say that you need to revise your belief system. While on the other hand, if you found yourself concerned with the victims more than anything else then things are relatively normative.

2- Amplified Selfishness: you being insulted vs they being killed. Many today mixed the content the magazine published earlier with the terror act. They are totally two separate subjects. You may be not in favor of the content itself but definitely against the materialized content generated by the terrorists, i.e., the massacre.

3- A battle that is not yours: Defending your own values vs defending mouhamad.

4- Source of condemnation: being afraid of getting categorized as a radical muslim you opt to condemn out of fear rather than a genuine belief.

My advice is to be conscious. You might be what I call a “shadow Muslim” who is not even conscious about his/her own islam. or maybe you are a “muslim by chance”. Inheriting islam makes you in a position where you find yourself obliged to defend things you know nothing about. Or to make it finer, things you heard about!