Publisher’s Point: The Last Time I Saw Paris

11-20-2015 2-11-24 PMWhen I came home from Iraq for the last time, my friend Rita Campbell flew over to Paris and met me. It was an absolutely extravagant way to experience re-entry from a combat zone, and it is a trip neither of us will ever forget. Together we explored Paris in the legendary month of April, as well as parts of Germany and Italy, and we were bathed in the beauty of it all, especially the museums.

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I had been made aware while still in Iraq that there were now whole sections of Paris that the police would not enter due to the presence of shariah-ists, if I may coin a term, and there were kids who sported T-shirts that said (in French), “2030, We Take Over.” These areas are known as “no-go zones,” and there are several of them in the city. While I was there, I was on high alert for the presence of backpack bombs, and I suppose a certain part of me will stay that way until Yeshua, and not the Madi, comes back and sets things straight.
Right across the street from the Louvre, there is a long row of shops that have probably been there nearly as long as the Louvre has, and they “witnessed” the dreadful occupation by the Germans beginning in 1940. While shopping for souvenirs, I happened to look to my right, and on the inside wall of an arch was a brass plaque that commemorated the arrest in 1944 of several members of the French Resistance. As I looked down the mall of the shops, there was a giant Nazi flag hanging because a WWII period film was being made in the same area. It gave me the creeps, and I thought of a song I heard often when I was growing up. It was the Oscar-winning number written by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein, from the 1941 film entitled, “Lady Be Good,” and immortalized by Kate Smith, of “God Bless America” fame. The name of the song was “The Last Time I Saw Paris.” Some of the lyrics are as follows:

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay
I heard the laughter of her heart in every street cafe
The last time I saw Paris, her trees were dressed for spring
And lovers walked beneath those trees and birds found songs to sing

The last time I saw Paris, her heart was warm and gay
No matter how they change her, I’ll remember her that way

The heart of Paris was ripped wide open on November 13th, 2015, when approximately 150 people were killed in several attacks. And while the worth of people does and will always outweigh the worth of things and buildings, please understand that it will be the intent of the “2030 crowd” to also destroy the contents of the museums, and possibly the buildings themselves. By contrast, the Nazis wanted the artwork for themselves, and expected to co-opt all of it for the Fuhrer. The great irony is that while the justification for destroying artwork is because it is idolatrous and an offense to Allah, often times it is sold in order to fund ISIS. This has already happened in Syria and Iraq, and I will be surprised if it doesn’t happen throughout Europe.

So, what do we do? Obviously, for people of faith, the first and most powerful option will be to pray, then to count the cost of being believer, and make our whole selves ready. We were told from the get go that in order to be a true Christian we are to consider our lives as not being our own. Furthermore, we are to be willing to literally lose them for the One we love. That One goes so far as to say,

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

A better translation is “be of good confidence and courage; I have conquered the world.”

I can say with conviction that the bad guys are counting on us being afraid, and that will be our greatest temptation. But if we can say, along with Paris, “our heart IS warm and gay,” then, “No matter what they do to US, we shall always be remembered that way.”

God bless you and your families this 2015 Thanksgiving, and please remember to thank a Vet for your freedom.
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