Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vive La France!

Fluctuat nec mergitur.
(She is tossed by the waves but does not sink.)
-- Motto of Paris

Je suis triste.  I am sad.

Vive La France! | The ESL Connection
Coat of arms of the City of Paris; source: Bluebear2 via Wikimedia Commons
I was going to write this week’s post about being thankful and tying it in somehow to promoting my one and only Thanksgiving product.  I hadn’t planned it out though and then after Friday it seemed rather trivial.  If you are interested in my resource, you can get more info by clicking on the link to the product in the sidebar at the right.  That’s all I have to say about that.

Instead, I want to spend the rest of this post talking about what happened in Paris and how to talk to students about it come Monday.  And I'm publishing a day earlier because, well, I just don't want to wait another day.
Vive La France! | The EESL Connection
Eiffel Tower charm given to The ESL Nexus by relatives who lived in Paris in the 1960s
Actually, there isn’t much I have to say because, really, how can mere words express the horror, the devastation, the sadness, the defiance, the inchoate feelings of guilt and relief that are sure to be felt by some of the survivors and the solidifying “keep calm and carry on” feeling that others are already beginning to express.
Vive La France! | The ESL Connection
Poster originally created as British propaganda in WWII; this version created by The ESL Nexus
I am sad because no one should ever die the way 129 people in Paris died.  I am sad because yet again, Islam has been perverted by mass murderers.  I am sad because once more, world leaders and governments will pass laws that are probably necessary but which restrict ordinary citizens’ freedoms.  I am sad because the world has changed, another screw has tightened, and schoolchildren won’t know a way of life that is more open, more welcoming, more adventurous, more carefree, because they have to be on their guard all the time now.

How do teachers talk to their students about such things, human atrocities beyond the scope of imagination, let alone understanding?  These resources might help: 
* The Washington Post published an article with tips.
* Save the Children has a webpage with some guidelines.  
* The Fred Rogers Company has some suggestions.
* Bright Horizons has two e-books and although they were created to help children deal with earlier catastrophes, the advice in them is still useful.
* The Guardian newspaper has an article describing a leaflet for children created by a French publisher; excerpts in French are shown.

I remember Oklahoma City.  I remember September 11th.  I remember Beslan, Russia.  I remember the London transport bombings.  I remember the Taj and Oberoi Hotels in Mumbai.  I remember Sandy Hook.  I remember the Westgate Mall attack.  I remember the Boston Marathon.  I remember.  

Too many to have to remember.  But we must remember.

Je me souviens.

I remember.

Je suis triste.

I am sad.

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