Reflections from Paris – the day after…

Reflections from Paris – the day after…

Saturday, 14th of November. It’s 11:25h in the morning when my flight lands in Paris. I make my way through the airport and to the hotel, so far I am not feeling too much unease by what I see. But a few hours later I step into the streets in the centre, and everything changes.

I wish I could say it looked as if nothing had happened. I wish I could say people were out in the streets, filling up restaurants and cafés, shopping in stores. I wish I could say so because the truth is I can’t. I’ve been a few times to Paris but I had never seen its streets so empty, its stores closed down on what should have been a busy Saturday. In turn, dozens of wreaths have flowered in front of any monument that remembers the courage of the French people, or anything they ever fought for. The air feels rare and yet somehow… there’s calmness. It’s like you can feel the city’s heart, listen to its silent cry. Because that’s what Paris has been doing ever since Friday night: cry. And the world with it. Thousands of people from every corner of Earth have sent their messages of support. Surely, many will say these words won’t change anything, that they won’t bring back those who we lost nor will they bring those responsible for it to justice. They’re probably right. However, I like to think sometimes it’s not all about taking drastic solutions. Far too many times this has only brought less tolerance and more suffering to people who didn’t deserve so. I like to think that sometimes it really is about solidarity, about sharing a conscious mind and standing together against injustice. I like to think that sometimes words speak as loud as actions and that sometimes it’s about being free to shout them without fear, or motivated by a new mind-set perhaps. I like to think that sometimes it really is about liberté and fraternité, about crying together and helping each other as siblings would do. Sometimes the worst allows us to see the best in people.

And just because sometimes it really is about all of this, I would also like to dedicate a few words to the victims of the attacks in Lebanon some days ago. Their story didn’t make it to the media the way Paris did, but they undoubtedly deserve our full support and condolences  just as much. When it comes down to the loss of innocent lives, countries and distance shouldn’t matter. Egalité, they call it.

Written by Celia Iordache

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