I’ve been extremely hesitant to write about what happened last Friday. However, I’ve decided to post a few words concerning the event.
For those who don’t know what happened, go check your news feed or turn on the news, you’ll understand better.
Without getting into gruesome details, there was a terrorist attack in Paris, France on Friday November 13th. Bombs went off near the Stade de France, a hostage situation at a theater during a metal concert, and multiple shootings near bars and cafés. Over 120 were killed by this attack, and millions were left devastated.
I had gotten off work early that night, and on my way home I checked my Facebook messages like usual. I had a message from a friend who lives in Alsace telling us on a group message that he was in Paris and that he was okay. « Cool » I thought to myself, nice to hear that he’s having a good weekend in Paris. Seconds later someone else on the group message said the same thing followed by an explanation of what was going on. At that moment I felt only what millions of others had felt when they realized what was going on: fear, sorrow, panic, anger, devastation…. Tears burned in my eyes and I couldn’t believe it. All my friends in Paris, were they ok? Who had gone up to Paris for the weekend, are they ok too? I sent messages to as many people as possible, hoping that no one I knew was caught up in the gruesome mess.
Not everybody was lucky enough to have relieving news. So many people lost their lives that night, and so many people lost friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, cousins… Innocent people, just wanting to go out and have a good evening, were at the wrong place at the wrong time. It could have been anybody, anywhere, any day. It could have been anyone, literally anyone. It could have been me and a group of friends who wanted to go to Paris for the weekend. It could have been people I know… And sadly for some it was the case.
So what does this mean?
First of all it means mourning. Mourning for the lives lost, mourning for those who have lost loved ones, mourning for France, and mourning for the state of our world. It’s a moment for everyone to come together and stand with one another. To show that we are one, that we care for each other and that we value those around us.
Secondly, it means staying strong. We can’t let an event like this break us. We can’t fall apart in fear, being afraid to enjoy life and step out of our houses. We have to unite and not break apart. Of course we are scared of what could happen next, and what this could mean for security. But we can’t let this fear keep us from living our lives.
Thirdly it means staying open minded and accepting. I cannot express this strong enough, we must not stereotype cultures or religions. Sure, those who have been terrorizing are of a certain race and religion but that does not mean everybody who shares these characteristics are the same. The KKK doesn’t represent Christianity, and many other terrorizing attacks have been done by Christians but that does not mean that all Christians are terrorists. So the same goes for Islams and Muslims, one group of extremists should not represent the whole religion. Be careful of who you blame and be careful of who you point your finger at.
I’m not going to say much more about this, other than I am grateful for my friends and family who were not involved in this horrific affair. I am devastated for the lives lost, and the state of this world.
Terrorism attacks us all, the attacks in Paris target not only France but everything France stands for and the values of western culture. In a way we are all victims, victims of the terror and panic. None of us know what is coming next, and living in fear is no way to live. Stand together, and stand strong.
So don’t pray for Paris. Don’t pray at all, because praying won’t change the world. Do something instead. Show that you are united with those around you, show that we are one and that we are striving for peace.