I have been reticent to write anything about what happened in Paris a little over a week ago. Partly because there are very few ways to ramble sentiments without being tragically cliché and partly because I am one of those people who was frankly least affected by the entire thing. I was home in my apartment completely across town and I was fortunate enough not to have any friends or family near the danger zones. I had spent the early part of my day cleaning my apartment and the latter part at my job, all in the 16th arrondissement. I grabbed some McDonald's on the way home because I didn't have anything in reserve and I was frankly settling down to read and sleep in preparation for an early day to follow. While chit chatting on whatsapp with my dear friend in Vienna, he all of a sudden messaged that there had been shootings in Paris. I almost immediately got an email from a friend at home who must have been watching the news at the same time. He wanted to know where I was and if I was ok. Over the course of the next couple of hours, my friend in Vienna gave me updates from his 300 channels while I struggled to find information on the internet. Texts and emails poured in and I had to assure all that I was safe and well away from danger.
But the truth is, I easily could have been in any of those places on a friday night. I have pictures of myself and friends at Le Carillon four years ago. A week prior I was in the same neighborhood taking a writing workshop and wandering around on a friday night to similar bars and restaurants with my new writing compatriots. The difference between this act of terrorism and previous ones us westerners have been touched by was that it was open warfare on civilians rather than government buildings or political antagonists. It doesn't make it right that something terrible happening in Paris gets more news time and recognition than other parts of the world, but it does make it feel more real. Because I have seen and been and walked the streets where fallen bodies lie.
I don't know enough about high politics and terrorist groups and conspiracy theories to sift through and decipher whatever truth and propaganda we read in an age of overwhelming mass media. I am sad for those who were affected in a city I love. I am sad for anyone anywhere in any country who has to deal with such absurdist views of humanity and what is right. I am outlandishly thankful for the friends and family who reached out and shared their love with me then and since... and frankly always. If we share more of those sentiments we might be able to make a difference. Love.