Those of you who have followed me during my year abroad will already know that I lived in Paris for six months and moved back to the UK at the end of July this year. For those of you who have only recently followed/subscribed to my blog and my new Facebook page, now you know. Because of this, the City of Light holds a rather special place in my heart, and one week on from the tragic events of last Friday, I thought it appropriate to say something.
When I heard the news about the attacks in Paris last Friday night, I was getting ready for a night out with my friends. I was going to enjoy an evening of drinks and laughter, just as the innocent victims of the massacre that took place had planned to do with their friends. Luckily for me, my night ended with a McDonalds and a cold walk home, whereas the nights of those people at Le Petit Cambodge, Le Bataclan and the other locations across the 10th and 11th arrondissements and out near the Stade de France ended in tragedy. Some ended their night in a state of shock, others wounded, some seriously, and, very sadly, others ended their nights without the people they had started them with.
When I heard the news, my first thoughts were to my friends and ex-colleagues who lived and still live in Paris. Thankfully, they were all unharmed and far away from where the attacks took place, but even knowing this, while relieving, still didn’t quite set me at ease. During my night out, I ran into quite a few of my friends who I shared time and memories with in Paris this year. We all felt this horrible sense of dread, of loss, and most strangely of guilt. We felt guilty. Guilty that we could not be there for friends, classmates, colleagues. Guilty that we weren’t there to mourn with and support the people of Paris, of whom we once formed a tiny part.
Because there was physically nothing else I could do, and despite arguments that it “doesn’t do anything or change anything” and that I “didn’t do it for other countries so why do it for France?”, I have overlayed my Facebook profile photo with the French flag. If it does nothing else, filling Facebook with the Tricolore should hopefully provide some sense of support to the people of Paris at this difficult, dark time. I have also shared various posts and photos about the attacks across my social networks to show my #solidarité with the French people in the face of this cowardly terrorism.
While there is a lot more to say on the subject, I’m not really sure what else to say without turning this into a dissertation-length essay, so I’m going to leave it here.
I’m going to end this with a video which has been circulating Facebook over the last few days. It’s very touching.
How do you feel about the terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night? How have you reacted?