Friday, February 4, 2022

Killed by Indifference: A Challenge to our Collective Conscience


It was my last day in Paris in October of 2016, and before I left for the airport to return home to Boston, it was my goal to walk from my hotel across the street from Sorbornne University to the Saint-√Čtienne-du-Mont Church near the Pantheon in order to venerate the relics of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. I had to leave early in the morning if I was to make it on time. By my calculations, it should have taken around 10 minutes to walk, but I didn't take into account that most of the walking would be uphill. And another surprise awaited me that early Tuesday morning. Along my path I had to walk over the bodies of a family of sleeping refugees or homeless people (husband, wife and two children). The busy street was too narrow to walk without risk, so when I saw this family sleeping on the sidewalk, I had no choice but to walk over them to arrive at my destination. For all I knew they could have been dead, they were so motionless and spread out over the sidewalk. But assuming they were sleeping, I walked on, and decided that upon my return I would drop off whatever euros I had to spare before my European departure. I arrived at the church, venerated the relics, and when I returned to the spot where the homeless family was, they were gone. At least I knew they were alive.