Friday the 13th of November, started as a good day. But before it came to it’s end, it ended worse than anyone wants to imagine a Friday the 13th.

On Saturday, I expressed my shock, but I tried to quickly move away from the darkness. I did so by writing about all the things that happened on Friday, but also about other terrorist attacks that happened in the past. I even dove back into old essays I wrote on terrorism at university. Initially I had panned to share my writing today, but like a letter that is never sent, this relieved me a lot and might not need to be shared.

I thought about why the events from Friday night impacted me more than others, after all Paris was not the only city hated by terrorists that day. And I came to the realisation that often times we are more touched, if we have been to the place where the atrocities take place.

I was very much moved by the events of 9/11, I had been to New York the week prior, and I had a year before visited the twin towers. My dad was meant to take a plane that day, but ended up driving to half of the US to get home.
I was shocked and shaken by the London bombings in 2005, but as I had never been to London before, and knew no one there, the shock lingered for only a short moment. And I was immersed in the news day in day out as I was interning at a newspaper in Berlin Germany.
I only vaguely remember the events that happened in Madrid. Being absorbed in my daily routine at school, and never having been to Madrid either, I was far less exposed to these events.
And now a terrorist attack has  happened at a place that is in the city where I live, I don’t even have to change metro lines to get to Republique. What happened in  Paris on Friday happened close to home.

So why is Paris important? Paris is in the heart of the Western world, it is a city known for its liberties. It is considered to be the city of love. It is a city that attracts tourists every day. This attack, was an attack on freedom, on Western and European values. It was an attack on people enjoying life.
Still it does not make any other terrorist attack happening in the world less shocking, sad or unacceptable. It is just that Paris is located a free and safe country where civil rights and liberties are important. Paris is a city that is loved, that people dream of, that people carry in their hearts.

Now anyone who says that Europe’s gates need to be closed to no longer let refugees come in, should think again, and again! Because the people, the families, the children who arrive every day, who risk their lives do so to escape exactly what happened on Friday. Their cities, towns, and villages do not offer the same type of security as we have here and that going outside to live life has become impossible, it is too dangerous. You might want to read this eye opening article on the refugee crisis The tip of the iceberg by M. L. Kappa.

Statue of Liberty, Paris, Statue de la Liberté à Paris
Liberty in Paris

© Solveig Werner 2015. All rights reserved.

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12 thoughts on “Paris a Loved City

    1. It is definitely strange how we behave, I think that being close to, having been to, or knowing someone in a place struck by terrorism leaves us a bit more shaken. I though this morning about how many people probably relate to Paris too as so many movies and books are set here. Peoples eyes often light up when I tell them “I live in Paris” it has a drawing power on people.

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      1. I walked the street where the Boston Marathon bombing happened less than week before and I was there a week after the attack. I understand. And you are right about Paris. It does have a magical name, even to those who have never been there. There is a great draw. It is etched so deeply into the popular imagination.

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  1. I agree with you.

    We (France and the EU) must take security measures but we CANNOT refuse hospitality to the refugees who flee the horror we saw during one evening and one night. And we are a country with hospitals, health services, water, electricity, food, houses, shelters. We are a rich country. Western Europe is rich – even some Eastern European countries are rich compared with where the refugees come from. They need us and who knows if we do not need them? France made wealth with the skill of refugees before. Other countries did the same with French refugees at other times.

    And that would be a victory for the terrorists. We shall not bow before them, and deny all our values.

    As to what touhes and touches less, it is certainly true. I have lived or stayed in these towns you mention with my parents. Therefore they are close to me. However, Paris is even closer: it is my town, my roots. Saturday and Sunday were out of touch with reality, disconnected. It was odd.

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    1. I was trying to make sense of why we are touched more by certain events than others. Having a connection with a place definitely influences our state of mind and heart after such events.

      I really do hope that Europe will react correctly (people and politicians). I hope that Europe will continue to welcome the refugees, who come with skills, wisdom and other qualities we can use here. And that the reactions to the attacks won’t be too horrible.

      I have the feeling that today I am returning to normality, but it will take a long time for it to be real normality. I am realising how calm Paris normally is, I have never heard so many police and ambulance sirens as I am at the moment.

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      1. Yesterday, I felt better. Today, my mind is a mish-mash of disorderdered and disorderly thoughts. Perhaps I have been discussing the potential consequences too much.
        Paris is so much quieter than any US town, not to speak of cities.

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  2. Paris is an open museum, a city of light. The people who destroyed Palmyra cannot be expected to appreciate this. We cannot become like them. We must keep being human and hospitable, but we must also protect ourselves, otherwise there will be nothing left.

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    1. Thank you! Your words are full of wisdom!
      The reaction of many people on Friday has showed how human we can be, but then the reaction of governments, politicians and people who tend to jump to conclusions has not been too good. I do hope that refugees can feel safe in Europe.

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  3. I hate these atrocities that happen to any people. I have friends here in town, the husband is from France and his wife is from Israel. I was concerned that my friend’s family or friends might have been hurt in the bombing. Fortunately none were hurt, but I learned that his wife’s cousin’s one son lives there in Paris. His brother, from Israel, came to visit and they went to dinner at the restaurant that was bombed. Luckily they left at 9:30 and the bombing took place at 10. They were SO VERY LUCKY!

    Why can’t we accept one another for our differences instead of bombing one another? Plus, now all our countries are being threatened that more bombings will occur. Why hurt innocent people?

    I am so glad that you are feeling better by continuing your writing. Excellent post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, they were lucky!
      I do hope that things will better themselves, we do need a little faith.
      Today, I have the feeling that I am returning to normality, but then I hear news from people who know of people that weren’t so lucky and all gets a bit dark again.

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    1. Thank you Gulara. I tried to make sense of it all. As I wrote quite a bit about what went through my head, I tried to organise it all.
      I think that I omitted one thing in my post, Paris is a city that so many of us know through films, books, friends’ travel accounts, music, etc. that a lot of people independent of whether or not they have been there, feel like they know it.
      Thank you for all the love Gulara!

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