I write this as I am sitting on a plane from Paris to Atlanta, following an idyllic week in Paris and the South of France, doing everything I love best.
And then this. A disgusting, disheartening, and despicable turn of events, that makes me bubble over with anger – and resolve.
First, get the anger off my chest: To the terrorists who invaded the most beautiful city in the world and robbed precious innocent people of their lives and their loved ones; who tried to shock the world into fear and paralyze the City of Light, who tried to shake up the world economy and aggress those who work for a living, I have a couple of things to say to you: YOU DISGUST ME, YOU HORRIBLE SHAMEFUL, DESPICABLE COWARDS! You are not going to win this way.
You have killed innocent people, who had no reason to die, in Paris, in Beirut, in Baghdad and Russia and created millions of homeless refugees. You may think you’ve scared and intimidated the rest of the world through your cowardice and shameful acts, but you underestimate us. I’m not a politician, a statesman or a world leader and I have no agenda other than I’m a proud American who loves my country and also loves France and the French people. But I’m determined to fight back in the most personal way I know:
- I will go back to Paris! You will not stop me. I will walk the boulevards, take the metro, shop the stores, visit the museums, eat in the restaurants and marvel at the beautiful views on every street corner and bridge, just as I did this past week and always will;
- I will happily fly on my favorite hometown airline and show my support to them and to all their brave crew who do not fear your taunts;
- I will do what I can to encourage a public gathering of support in Paris and then fly over to be part of the event and hold hands with fellow concert attendees who are proud to stand with courage and dignity against your cowardly actions;
- I will appreciate the fragility of life and take in all the moments of joy, like a gorgeous sunrise, an unexpected song on the radio, a snippet of conversation between two wonderful colleagues at work sharing little moments from their weekend, or unexpected happies that surprise and enchant all day long;
- With Meg, I will encourage our best-ever team of employees at our store and gallery to continue to be even more empowered to use friendliness and helpfulness as an antidote to your negative approach and to make our stores welcome havens of comfort and hospitality;
- And with Meg, I will continue to happily work with our wonderful French colleagues and appreciate even more our dealings with them ,which are always strengthened by our mutual respect and admiration for each other and a shared love of life (not to mention a laugh, a twinkle in the eye and a glass of wine!);
- I will be reminded that life is fragile and try to be a better mother, wife, family member, friend, business partner and boss and ask for a little forgiveness along the way;
- I will lead my life with more intensity, appreciation, resolve and love.
Yes, I am hurt, shocked, angered, and sad. But I am also buoyed by all the people in the world who share the view that our best weapon against terrorists like you is to lead our lives — in a way that you are not capable of — with kindness, faith and love. We will not be intimidated. We are one. We are stronger than you.
I am now back in Atlanta and want to say thank you to the people who have reached out to me, to Meg and Linda and to our store and gallery to make sure that we’re OK. Like you, our hearts are heavy and we mourn the loss of innocent lives in Paris, and around the world. We thank you for your thoughts and hope and pray that your loved ones are safe too.
P.S. About the image above: According to Wired magazine, French graphic designer Jean Jullien created the image, “Peace for Paris,” and posted it on Twitter and Instagram at around midnight Paris time, November 13th. It went viral immediately.
We think it says it all.