“Put brain in gear before putting mouth in motion.” This was one of my father’s favorite sayings. Yes, he could have said, “Think before you speak.” However, the words he used created a clear visual picture. Truly engaging your brain and organizing your thoughts prior to speaking is a skill that not everyone posses. Responses to recent events here in the United States and abroad have shown the lack of this skill, by some individuals.
I have many opinions of the recent events in Paris in addition to other events. Events like the deadly attacks in Beruit the same week as those in Paris. So often we seek one clear opinion or side. It is easy looking from the outside in and forming an uninformed & biased opinion; I choose not to do what is easy.
I am fortunate to have a dear friend who has resided in many other nations. There are others by nature of their profession have traveled specifically to Paris, France. One such friend has given me approval to blog her words. Following are the words of Jocelyn Milhous; her bio follows at the end. These words are in response to many negative and uninformed posts to her page. Because of insight and experience as a resident in multiple nations, I believe her words spoke volumes. I thank her for allowing me to share them with you.
If you’re thinking of sending me yet another private message in relation to the terror attacks in France, don’t do it. Don’t try to post to my Facebook page again, either.
When I was in Paris last month trying to catch up with Kevin and attending Sunwoo Jung-A’s concert, I felt as if I was at home. I know the city, from posh arrondissement to poor immigrant district. Our first production partners were French, so I feel a loyalty and affinity for Paris because Parisians helped me advance my company.
I speak enough Arabic to get a meal, a hotel, tally up my profit, and play with children. I studied the language in university. When we lived in Shoreditch in London, we would swing with the Muslim residents as opposed to the newly imported hipsters. Most of the food in my cupboards bears Arabic labels or Arabic writing. I choose a fresh spice from an ‘ethnic’ market over that soulless stuff mass-marketed in glass jars. I don’t care about a uniform on the outside. I care about a vibrant inside.
I hold an American passport with English, Dutch, and Swiss residency permits. I am American. I keep an American passport. I call myself an American. I vote in every U.S. election no matter which country I live in at election time. That said, I have not been in the US since 2008, and that was for a two week trip because the U.S. drives me nuts.
I am a migrant. I am a ‘highly skilled migrant worker’, but I am a migrant. French, ‘Arabs’, migrants, and Americans are in my heart. I love them all. They all drive me crazy. Human relationships are like that. I can’t relate to your generalizations about races, migrants, and countries because I know individual humans, not sweeping generalizations. When I get mad I don’t dislike the French, I dislike Ceci for very specific reasons relating to our interactions. When she gets mad, she gets mad at Jocelyn. She does not get mad at all Americans. Why? Because we are adults with reasoning skills and logical brains.
Don’t message me your anti-American sentiments, and stop trying to post those incendiary articles on my page. You are worried about French people in general. I am worried about specific French friends. I’m worried about the one who messed up his ankle trying to help kids at a soccer game run from bullets. I’m worried about the investor who went to Paris when we chose to stay and watch ‘The Shameless’ yet again. I’m worried about E.’s staff who are of Middle Eastern descent who will get uneducated hate thrown in their direction because they’re the ‘wrong’ colour and have the ‘wrong’ god. I’m worried about the people who fled war-torn countries who will now face even more closed borders and unrivaled hate. How much more unfair will life get for these people who, at the end of the day, just want a job, a home with walls and a roof, and a safe place for their kids to be educated just like they used to have at home before war broke out?
My relationship with America is very conflicted. You are a simpleton if you believe that one thing or one country led up to yesterday in Paris. There are a million things that every one of us in every country should have/would have/could have said about events and political choices that led to Friday night, but we didn’t say it loud enough, often enough, or at all. The only place blame has in this is at the feet of the ones who actually planned it and did it. Blame moves nothing forward, and boxing me into some pro-American corner that I have never solely believed in because I have an independent functioning brain is NOT the answer, nor is it blaming the French, ‘Arabs’, migrants, gun control laws, or any of the idiocy YOU types are coming up with.
If you have nothing to say that contributes to forward momentum then please shut the hell up. You know me, and you know that I do not give a crap what someone else thinks, even when it’s in my best interests to pretend that I do. I do not respect you, your politics, or your particular brand of racism because if it’s ‘them’ today I can guarantee that it will be my kind tomorrow – that’s how racists like you operate.
Sit down, shut up, and think. Everyone else I know is thinking and reflecting because there are shotguns, bombs, crooked cops, dead nine year olds, and governments blasting citizens with water cannons just for having an opinion – and that’s just last week. Enough. It has to stop, so reflect on how you can be a part of the solution, reflect on how you can sway someone to a peaceful proactive frame of mind. Stop re-posting hate. You’re too stupid to even write your own insults, so you have to copy someone else’s.
Stay off my page with your generalizations, racism, and hate, and consider this goodbye. You don’t think enough to be called my ‘friends’.
Jocelyn Milhous, Contributor
About the Contributor: Jocelyn Milhous has a wealth of successful administrative and development experience and a dynamic network of contacts in the music, art, and film worlds.
As Exhibitions Manager at the Art Institute of Chicago, she worked with such artists and estates as Anselm Kiefer, Georgia O’Keefe, Helmut Jahn, and the Courtauld Collection, and with arts patrons such as Shell North America, Calvin Klein, Grace Jones and Donald Trump.
In Canada, Jocelyn practiced stage costume design with MuchMusic and provided independent design services to Allanah Myles, Cowboy Junkies, Look People and other popular Canadian bands. She also served as creative sound engineer for CTV, where she worked on many dramas, countless commercials, and the breakout hit Beetlejuice animated cartoon series.
She has since also enjoyed key roles and directorships in outreach, development and fund-raising with the San Francisco and San Diego Operas in her native California, as well as with the Houston Grand Opera, and Chicago’s Lyric Opera. She most recently served as Senior Development Director with the Royal Opera, London. Her recent film and television credits include Naked in London, Eating Dust, and Charles Dance’s Inn at the Edge of the World.
Jocelyn works on a consultancy basis with a number of US, UK and Icelandic-based film production companies, including Virtual Content, Jinx Films, LeftFeetDancing and Kisi Films. Most recently she is Co-President and Director of Development at 1LnoE Films. Jocelyn holds a BA degree in Political Science and Drama from UCLA, Berkeley, and a BS in Music Management and Sound Engineering from the Harris School of the Arts, Toronto.
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