Notre Dame de Paris, or translated in English, Our Lady of Paris, has been a landmark in Paris and for the Christian faith for hundreds of years. But, last week, the world was shaken to see that this beautiful and significant landmark burnt down.
I will be studying abroad in Paris next semester and the idea of not being able to see the true beauty of such a place breaks my heart. But, I still am grateful that Notre Dame did not completely get destroyed.
It has been truly powerful to see the response to the Notre Dame fire. People from all over the world are joining together in prayer and communion to celebrate the significance of the building and also find a way to rebuild this home of God.
What I found to be so empowering was the fact that the cross within the Notre Dame did not burn down. I truly believe that this was a God thing and that He was showing that through all of the fire and rubble, He still remained for all of the people.
As well, it has been so amazing to see many billionaires/millionaires come together and raise money for the rebuilding of the Notre Dame. It truly shows the significance of what the Notre Dame means to the French.
I just got back from Easter weekend yesterday and find that this international event is worth talking about– specifically because of how current it is and also because the effect and sadness that it has left on the entire world.
On Sunday, a series of bombs exploded throughout Sri Lanka at different churches and hotels. These bombs killed at least 290 people and injured hundreds more. Although the Christian minority in Sri Lanka only makes up about 10% of the country’s population, they were the main target of these attacks.
To voice my opinion, I find it disgusting that people, and I believe terrorists, would find the desire to ruin such a beautiful day and celebration. I do not understand how people find that attacking people is okay, especially on such a significant day in the Christian faith.
According to CNN, “though it wasn’t immediately clear who was behind the eight explosions that paralyzed the country, Manisha Gunasekera, high commissioner of Sri Lanka to the UK, said the blasts are “certainly acts of terror.” Ten days before the attack, an intelligence memo warning of a possible attack had been circulated, raising questions about whether more could have been done to prevent the attack. An island-wide curfew was implemented until the following morning.”
I hate the idea that any person would feel that attacking a church, a mosque, a temple, basically any places designated for worshipping your specific faith, is heartbreaking. These places are where people are supposed to feel safe and as comfortable as possible, but I also believe this is why these terrorists would do it– to make these people fearful of the one place where they might feel most at home.
My heart deeply goes out to the people of Sri Lanka and all of those who lost their lives as well as those who lost people important to them.
Next semester I will be studying abroad in Paris, France. Although French is my minor and with this program I am required to study abroad for a semester– I do not feel forced.
Thanks to French club and being immersed in the French language for almost 6 years, the desire I have to be a part of French culture continues to grow. In French club, we try to speak French as much as possible and I find that as I continue to fulfill classes that are a part of my major, I am truly starting to understand the language and better my skills.
It has been so exciting to learn how to speak French and not just hear my teacher speak and not know what is going on to now having a better understanding and idea of what she is trying to communicate. Although it takes a great amount of time and I am still by no means fluent, being able to better know the language and actually get to write without having to use a translator is amazing.
French club has encouraged me to speak to others in a non-class setting and not be afraid that what I am saying is completely wrong. Sometimes in class I am afraid to speak up because I feel as though I might say the wrong thing, but in French club, I realize that we are all learning and it all takes time.
I cannot wait to come back from France and hopefully be fluent and continue to better my skills.
On February 26 I attended a lecture led by Cajetan Iheka called ‘Ecology of Suffering’, which focused on the effects of oil obstruction in the Niger Delta of Africa.
To be honest the lecture was a little confusing to keep up with, but I learned through pictures and his Iheka’s presentation that the areas around the Niger Delta have been completely overcome by pipes and rigs for collecting ‘black gold’.
There were pictures that showed large pipes where children were playing. It was sad to see because although this was a norm for these children, the fact that only feet away from their homes are large, industrial pipes is shocking.
The economy of the Niger Delta entirely relies on the production of oil because it is all the delta has to thrive. However, although these people live in an area that thrives due to the high demand of oil, they continue to live in extreme poverty.
Iheka revealed that there is a threat for the future in the Niger Delta as production of oil continues and these people continue to live in conditions that no human should. Because Niger Delta primarily relies on oil, what would happen if they ran out? The fact that the delta so strongly relies on oil production, their economy could be greatly threatened if anything happened.
I am writing this blog a little bit later than my actual going to this event, but thought that the information was still accurate and current!
On April 2 I went to a lecture called ‘Mahalleh or Ghetto? The Challenges of Writing a Jewish History of Iran’ led by Lior B. Sternfeld.
The topic of this lecture was basically about the prominence of Jews in Middle Eastern countries, specifically in Iran. To start with, the reason that I went to this lecture was because I am currently in an international studies class called Women & Gender Studies in the Middle East and I felt since I was truly enjoying this course, this lecture would provide even more insight to other types of demographics because “discriminated” against.
Sternfeld focused on the fact that when you try to do research on Jews of Iran, the Middle East, and many other countries– there is hardly any information in regards to Jews in Middle Eastern countries.
To be honest, I never even knew that there were Jewish people in Iran to begin with. I believe this shows the entire world’s false perceptions on what they expect and know about other countries.
Sternfeld’s research continued to show that Jews were discriminated in Iran and lived in a neighborhood that was referred to as the ‘ghetto’. I find this extremely demeaning to these people especially in a nation that is judged itself and looked down by many other nations around the world.
To learn that there were Jews in Iran and the fact that they are discriminated against was extremely enlightening because it was something that I had never known before.