Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The French Connection.

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The French Connection. 1

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

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

The terror continued at 9:25 pm, at restaurants Le Carillon and Le petitCambodge, where masked gunmen killed 15 people, and left 10 moreseriously wounded. A hundred shell casings were discovered at the site.9:30pm saw the second explosion at the Stade de France, 9:32pm saw ashooting at A La Bonne Bierre, where 5 people were killed and 8 wereseriously wounded, 9:36 pm saw another shooting at the La Belle Equipe,with 19 deaths and 9 more wounded, 9:40pm saw the double attacks at theComptoir Voltaire and the Bataclan, 9:53pm saw a third blast near the Stadede France (about 400 meters from the stadium). It all finally ended at12:20am, with the French Elite Police storming the area more than 2 hoursafter terrorists shot and slaughtered the concerts’ patrons. Survivor DenisPlaud later said,
“There was blood everywhere. Even people alive werecovered with blood. There was especially on the ground floor a lot of deadbodies and blood, and some people had been alive and had to stay forseveral 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 victims all over. In Beirut, Japan, Baghdad, to name a few. We change our profile pictures to the colors of the French flag 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 boarders.

“Et tu, Brute?” (you too, Brutus?) were Julius Caesar’s famous words to his trusted companion, and ultimate betrayer, Marcus Junius Brutus. It was with these words, that 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? 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.

The French Connection. 2

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