Saturday, November 27, 2021

The French Connection.

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The French Connection. 1

Last morning, I woke up to Facebook telling me that my friends in Paris were marked as ‘safe.’ In a state of drowsy naiveté, I thought that they were celebrating a ‘safe’ Diwali. Then, as I went through my newsfeed, my naiveté was quickly replaced by shock, followed by confusion, and finally, sadness. #PrayForParis quickly became the most dominant thing in my newsfeed. And for a good reason. On Friday, the 13th of November, Paris was racked by a series of attacks- bombings and shootings, taking the lives of a hundred and twenty-nine people and counting. The Paris attacks quickly became a tragedy felt by the rest of the world, with people all over changing their display pictures to the colors of France.

It all started at 9:20 pm, at the Stade De France entrance, while France and Germany played a soccer match. Moments later, a second blast occurred in the stadium. Both of the attacks were carried out by suicide bombers, who, heartbreakingly, well and truly believed that they were acting for the greater good. The blasts took place on the same street, RueRimet. French President Francois Hollande was in the stadium watching the match. There’s a video going around, an 8 second shot of reality when the people in the stadium first heard the explosions. Their confused expressions were caught on camera. The scariest part, however, was the fact that they were literally seconds away from death. Four people were killed outside the stadium. This was just the beginning.

The terror continued at 9:25 pm, at restaurants Le Carillon and Le petit Cambodge, where masked gunmen killed 15 people, and left 10 more seriously wounded. A hundred shell casings were discovered at the site. 9:30 pm saw the second explosion at the Stade de France, 9:32 pm saw a shooting at A La Bonne Bierre, where 5 people were killed, and 8 were seriously wounded, 9:36 pm saw another shooting at the La Belle Equipe, with 19 deaths and 9 more wounded, 9:40 pm saw the double attacks at the Comptoir Voltaire and the Bataclan, 9:53 pm saw a third blast near the Stade de France (about 400 meters from the stadium).

It all finally ended at12:20am, with the French Elite Police storming the area more than 2 hours after terrorists shot and slaughtered the concerts’ patrons. Survivor DenisPlaud later said, “There was blood everywhere. Even people alive were covered with blood. There was especially on the ground floor a lot of dead bodies and blood, and some people had been alive and had to stay for several hours among dead corpse[s] and they went out covered with blood.”

And so, the hours of terror finally came to an end.

The attacks were a reminder of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, how even the beacon of freedom, the home of Liberty, Fraternity, and Equality could become the target of terror. However, as we mourn the deaths of a hundred and twenty nine innocent people, we must not forget to mourn the deaths of victims all over Beirut, Japan, Baghdad, to name a few. We change our profile pictures to the French flag colors to show our solidarity, but is that us basically admitting that some lives hold more values than others? We mourn for Paris, but maybe we should mourn for the world instead? For the inhumanity that seems to transcend borders.

“Et tu, Brute?” (you too, Brutus?) were Julius Caesar’s famous words to his trusted companion and ultimate betrayer, Marcus Junius Brutus. With these words, Caesar realized that Brutus and humanity had ultimately betrayed him just as humanity has betrayed Paris and the rest of the world.

The terror organization ISIS has taken responsibility for the attacks, and theories about the refugee crisis being used as a tool for the attacks are flying around. Once again, our humanity is in question. Do we turn our backs on the thousands who need us because of the actions of a few 100? Or do we stand, once and for all, in solidarity? Do we let our solidarity go beyond a simple hashtag and DP change? Or is this when we finally realize that tragedy and humanity have no borders?

“Later that night, I held an atlas in my lap, ran my fingers across the whole world, and whispered where does it hurt?

It answered

everywhere

everywhere

everywhere.” –Warsan Shire.

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