This morning, I read the words of Tariq Ramadan in regards to the horrible attacks in France and the following protests in Paris,
"Demonstrating for dignity, for freedom, against terror. Yes, a thousand times yes! And yet ... marching with whom? Difficult to walk beside (or behind) leaders whose ideologies and political decisions have killed thousands of children, women and men, and are one of the causes of extremism. They march in Paris for human dignity and freedom of expression while their government is killing, torturing and destroying."
This resonates with me. I have been feeling so frustrated by the dominant culture's lack of perspective and lack of historical memory (or just plain ignoring of it?). But I digress...
So today, I feel I need to highlight acts of solidarity. And so we have, "The Grand Mosque of Paris" a non-fiction book by Karen Gray Ruelle and Deborah Durland Desaix. People helping people. Yes.
From the publisher,
"When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place--the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, especially children. Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched."
I am an elementary school librarian in an urban setting in Massachusetts. Through the work of creating a more representative and inclusive library collection for my students, I learned a lot about the politics of the publishing industry, the accepted institutional racism and purposeful exclusion of communities in books and that we should be outraged at the continued disenfranchisement of our children.
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