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I'll write about the attacks in France, because I feel I should, but I can't say I have anything useful to say. Very few people in America have anything useful to say, except for expressions of sympathy, perhaps. Yet it's not as if I think we should go on social media and make grandiose statements of how we are all French, or anything like that. Grandiose statements are of no use. Actions would be more useful.

And yet, what actions? America often seems to feel as if we must step in and do something. The LAST thing we should do is that. France is a grown-up country with a longer history than ours. The attacks were perpetrated by either French citizens or residents who are very disaffected (encouraged by ISIS), or by ISIS itself, and either way it's up to France to work out what they must do, and to ask for help if they deem it useful.

Which leaves America still groping for responses, and many of those are knee-jerk useless ones. Michigan's governor has decided we should halt processing applications from Syrian refugees in the wake of the Paris attacks. How these two go together is at best tenuous and vague. It seems mean to me to take America's already tepid response to the refugee crisis and lessen it further. (Yes, southeast Michigan could be a good destination for Syrian refugees, given the significant population of people of Levantine heritage already here.)

I have no idea what to do. Almost any idea seems to cause additional problems that would severely worsen things. I have a fear that no matter what, we're entering a period of war and destruction and hate, which will only put off a solution that can only be reached through negotiation and compromise.

Of course, one could argue that with the Paris attacks coming on the same day as horrific destruction in Beirut, and continuing wars across the Middle East, we're already in such a period. That's something we should mourn, but more importantly, try to end. Somehow.



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