For the past two days I’ve been working on this video interview of Parisians for Mail Online. Going out on the streets and getting the sentiments of people here after the attacks.
I have so many feelings that words alone escape me and I’m sure there are many out there more eloquent and formulaic than I am, herein lies my sentiments: my heart is heavy and yet I carry on. I’m a mixture of sad and happy. ?Sad for the lives lost and happy to be alive.
Like many here in Paris, many in Beirut, many people all over the world who have to live in moments of incertitude, paying with our lives the mistakes and decisions of a few powerful and terrible men (politicians and terrorists). But we carry-on, myself with more compassion and awareness.
Normally, every morning I rise I make a list of 5 things I’m thankful for – on November 14th. All listed was 1. ?Life. I am thankful to be alive.?Usually, I?take nothing for granted, coming from a country where violence was all around. But here I was with all my years of upbringing, and knowledge on political issues. Here I was naively and falsely sheltered by the lack of such history in France when in fact (now that I think about it all in retrospect), Paris in effect was an easy target.
To me it seems like the attacks were against “joie de vivre”. In locations where people were enjoying life, at a football match, dinner out with friends, a concert… many young people, working class, “normal”…
I’ll be the first to say that life in Paris is not always easy ?- there are many things that are far from the cliche and cinematic views we have of the capital. But this is a beautiful city full of life.
All of these locations with the exception of the Stade de France – are places I frequent regularly with my family and friends. My favorite was Le Carillon. It hold a special place in my heart for many reasons.
Freelancing I worked there every morning for 8 months; the bartender loved reggae and it always made me feel good to work with reggae or funk music. The cat would walk across the bar counter towards me all the time. It was a local bar – just your average spot where neighborhood people come for morning coffee and drinks any time of the day. On weekends it would get packed with young people – usually celebrating someones birthday or some accomplishment in groups.
I have photos with my son falling alseep in my arms in one of the sofas at the back. I have photos and memories of so many things here that I feel violated, I feel like I could have been there, that I too could have been dead. I remember the moment of sheer panic Friday night as I texted and call all I knew to find out where they were and if they were ok. ?It took me 2 and half hours to contact everyone and get back confirmations from everyone. We simultaneously?were contacting each other and the people we couldn’t hear from, we started to assume the worst. So we followed each other tracks via social media – for any news, any updates. ?A few hours later Facebook prompted the Terror Safety featured that allowed you or someone to declare that you are indeed safe.
Is this?how people felt, during the bombings of 1940s – you feel that something terrible is happening yet you are alive – you’ve survived, you are surviving and that makes you want to carry on more. ?Is this what war feels like?
Saturday morning there were people on the street – few but still people. On sunday everyone was out – there was hardly any place to sit along the Canal St. Martin. I walked with my son to Ten Belles for a coffee to go then went to pay our respects at Le Carillon and Le Petit Cambodge just in front. There were so many people and media there we had to wait a bit to even see that there were candles, flowers and notes all around. People cried, hugged, took photos and share a moment of hurt together. But just ?50 meters away at neighboring cafes and bars people were out enjoying the sun (maybe tired of staying in all Saturday), having brunch and for a split second I could see the dichotomy?of life.
PS there is a longer video (this one was heavily edited)…that I’ll share in the future.