Michel Martin on Borderless Grief

Why it's important to mourn those who died in Paris, as well those who died in Baghdad and Beirut.

As bellicose rhetoric among our would-be leaders emerged out of the still to be sorted and grappled with attacks in Paris this weekend, NPR’s All Things Considered weekend host Michel Martin delivered an ATC segment on Sunday that asked listeners to remember their own humanity, instead.

Martin began by honoring a close friend who had died last week, connecting that death to the deaths that were caused by terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, Baghdad, Egypt–all ocurring this week.

“Of course, I mourn her because I know her and appreciate her, but I also mourn her because the grieving of one merges into the grieving of others. Can I just tell you? I think both kinds of grief are important,” she said.

And for Martin, the nationalities or religions of the dead should make no difference in how, or if, they are mourned.

Paris calls out to us because many of us have been there or wish to go. For many of us, it is the city of our dreams. But there is terrible violence being perpetrated all over the world, in places many of us will never visit, by some of the same people and the same ideology that led to the massacres in Paris.

But their lives matter. They matter because when we draw the line between those near and far, and those who look like us and those who don’t, those whose names we can easily pronounce and those which we cannot, we participate in the same kind of dehumanizing that allows people to do such awful things to each other in the first place.