A profound sorrow envelopes the sitting room tonight. The events of the weekend of 13/11/2015 have reduced us to balls of torpid goo, messes of quandary and fear. On the television, live, Matt Frei is mid-report when, in Place de la Republique, hundreds of people run for what they think is their lives. This time, it’s just a scare. Last time it wasn’t. G and I huddle an inch closer on the sofa, acutely despairing within the safety of our student house. We are five hundred miles away from the horror in Paris, and we are scared.
This time, the sadness is exhausting. It wasn’t like this with the Charlie Hebdo massacre. For some reason, I didn’t feel as close. This time, my solidarity is fervent; now, I am pained in a way I haven’t been in a long time. As my friend said to me, ‘Yeah. There is something about this one.’ But neither of us could place it.
Frei is talking to Lauren, a young woman, on the television. She says first in French that we have to show we aren’t afraid. And then, in English: We have to fight panic, to stay strong, free, together. She says that she, they, everyone, will show that they are united and strong, because ‘it’s worth it’. As her spiel continues (‘freedom, love…’) Frei ushers her away.
Lauren is the voice of the people. And Paris—France, Europe—will stay strong. Even as my sadness, my despair and fear consumes me, I will show solidarity. And love—’It is beaten by the waves but does not sink‘.