As many of you may know, I took a bold step last year and moved to Paris, France. Although I am currently in the states visiting my family and working that move to Paris changed my life and my view of my own country. I have expressed my personal opinions of France being safer than the US and it’s something many disagree with me about. I think it’s something only an american can see, feel or understand with their own hearts. You don’t experience a difference til you’re actually living in that place and seeing what is going on, til it effects or hits you or your loved ones directly.
In Paris, I DJ and work out of a lot of clubs. Sometimes I am leaving work at 4-6am in the morning, either taking the metro or walking home alone. Besides for the exception of a run in with a crooked cab driver, I have never felt unsafe in Paris. Upon returning to the states, there have been several times my friends and I have been in danger. I was raised Persian American, my father being persian from Iran and my mom being american of french decent. I grew up in the South. So I have seen my fair share of unfair things that we in america feel are normal. We get used to things that shouldn’t be out of fear.
Not to mention I have watched my Father move to this country and work his (pardon my french) ass off from the age of 18, educated and things have been very hard for him. He didn’t receive his citizenship til after living, working, and paying taxes in this country after 30 years. I remember it like it was yesterday, I, his american daughter in the 11th grade studying US history- and he 40 something years old studying for his citizenship test. I by no means, want to make my country seem like some crazy place void of privilege, but our government isn’t set up to help those who work hard flourish and that’s a sad truth. From the cost of healthcare, taxes, and minimum wage hardworking americans from good families suffer everyday to provide for their families on low unlivable incomes.
When I first moved to Paris, I was living with a family and I discovered just how pleasant things were on the flip side. Tax paying Parisienne’s receive good healthcare for no to low prices, they receive food tickets that can be used at restaurants as well to flourish the economy, and taxes are put back into things that matter like school, education and preserving the beauty of the city. People spend time in the parks, and monuments. It’s not only a beautiful place, it’s inhabitants are beautiful because they are living life the way it should be. As I have moved around in my 20’s I have learned how to live with less, and thrive from experiences and Paris taught me more of that.
I have made some of my best friends in France, and the tragic events that hit Paris yesterday hurt my heart. Something that I have personally taken from Paris, is my right to artistically create freely. I have written for a french fashion magazine, developed my blog, and broadcasted my own english radio show at RM in Paris. I have gotten to contribute in any way I could artistically and never felt judged, bothered, or creatively stiffened like I have at times in LA. This past year was one of my most internally rewarding years creatively and professionally, and I owe it to this beautiful place and it’s open-minded people.
Charlie HebdoÂ is aÂ French satiricalÂ weekly newspaper, featuring cartoons, reports, polemics, and jokes. Freedom of speech and creativity is something that should be respected. Violence and Terrorism by no means are acceptable for any given situation.Â She is the LightÂ stands with the beautiful people of France in sayingÂ SHE IS CHARLIE.Â
I remember years ago during the 9-11 attacks, someone at a gas station in my small town of Roswell, GA yelled out a racial slur at my persian father and I remember being so upset. I remember him telling my brothers and I at dinner at night not to tell anyone at school that we were persian.
We shouldn’t be afraid to express ourselves.
My prayers go out to the families of the victims. Next week with the help and 250,000 euro donation fromÂ google,Â Charlie Hebdo plans on printing it’s biggest run ever of one million copies suggesting defiance, grief and mourning. The French President has declared a moment of silence today for the victims.