After A Weekend Of Terror, It Will Be Just Another Monday In Paris
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After A Weekend Of Terror, It Will Be Just Another Monday In Paris

It’s Sunday evening here in Paris, and I am sitting in my room, which I’ve been doing for most of the day, because I’ve been glued to my computer screen following updates about the attacks. Reading old articles about ISIS, Al Qaeda, terrorism, Sept. 11, and the wars in the Middle East, I’m trying to help myself understand what is happening to the world right now.

I wish I wasn’t sitting here doing this. What I really want to do is get away from Facebook, which I keep checking because I think it’s giving me this false sense of security. It’s as if I am with other people during this time of crisis, and am talking, in person, to the BC students studying in Paris about what they’re thinking and how they’re feeling after the attacks on Friday night. Do they feel as scared and confused and shocked and uncertain and lost as I am? And if they do feel the same way, are we all just overreacting to a terrorist attack that is now over and being dealt with by France and its allies?

I’m questioning my own thoughts and emotions, as I’ve been experiencing two different types of reactions when I tell people what I’m thinking and how I’m feeling after the attacks. The first: they tell me that they are also scared and confused and that they don’t feel safe walking outside in Paris this weekend. The second: they say that I shouldn’t be scared, because now that Paris has been attacked, the government has implemented maximum security and protection within the city. And, since these kinds of shootings and bombings can happen anytime and anywhere throughout the world, the attacks on Friday night are just one example of what can happen.


“The funny thing is, I wasn’t scared on the night of the attacks.”


This second reaction is what made me question myself, because those words are true—yes, the police are on high alert in Paris right now, and these attacks could have also happened in another city, in another country, in an entirely different continent. But I think it’s okay to be scared.

The funny thing is, I wasn’t scared on the night of the attacks. I was invited to a dinner party that evening and arrived at an apartment in the 10th Arrondissement with my friend at around 10 p.m. Not too long after we got there, we could hear sirens, and everyone gathered around the balcony to see what was going on, but the police had already passed. Someone eventually turned on the news, and that’s when all of us realized something really bad was happening. I soon had to accept the fact that I was not going home that night, nor was I going to be able to.

To my rough knowledge, the roads near the apartment had been blocked off and the subway had been shut down. I opened the Uber app on my phone a few hours later to see if there were any drivers around, and I got a message saying cars were not available at the moment because of the emergency situation. Still, two friends I had met at the dinner party persisted with me in at least considering going home throughout the night until about 3 a.m, even though we knew all along that we weren’t going home. It would have been foolish to leave the apartment and go outside, possibly exposing ourselves to another shooting or bombing, especially since we were only a few minutes away from the concert venue and the restaurants where multiple shootings had just occurred. But I think I was in denial that night, not wanting to accept the gravity of the situation. I tried sleeping that night but couldn’t, and I ended up going home in an Uber in the morning.

What I distinctly remember from that night was everyone looking at their phones to send messages, call their family, and follow the news. Facebook turned on its safety check feature, which automatically asked anyone in or near Paris to mark themselves safe if they were. I recently deleted the Facebook app from my phone, so I couldn’t do this with my slow Internet connection, but I saw firsthand how useful social media can be for spreading and sharing information in times of crisis.


Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up, and it’ll be just another Monday. I’ll be sitting on the metro, walking out on the streets, and going to my classes. And I’m going to stop being scared, because we can’t let the bad guys make us live in constant fear after these attacks.


Around 1 a.m., a friend who is studying abroad in Paris called me. She asked me where I was and if I was safe.

“I’m not at home, I’m in the area close to the attacks, but I’m safe,” I said. She began crying a little, which surprised me, because I couldn’t see in that exact moment why she was crying. I knew she was alone and scared, but I was not alone and not truly scared—yet. It was not until Saturday night, when I tried to fall asleep for the first time since the attacks, that I felt alone and truly scared. My hands were shaking, and I started to cry. I couldn’t believe I was crying, because I wasn’t hurt or in imminent danger.

I was safe in bed at home, and I knew that President of France Francois Hollande and the French government were on top of this—he vowed a “merciless” response to the attacks. But I cried anyway, and I let myself cry. Now I completely understood why my friend had felt that way then, and I wanted to rewind time to be with her that night.

Tomorrow, I’m going to wake up, and it’ll be just another Monday. I’ll be sitting on the metro, walking out on the streets, and going to my classes. And I’m going to stop being scared, because we can’t let the bad guys make us live in constant fear after these attacks.

I’d like to end on this: please, please, pray for this world. Not just for the people of Paris, but for everyone who has been affected by these evil people whose goodness has been taken away from them. As one of my close friends pointed out, prayer isn’t just for the religious. I don’t even think you have to be spiritual to pray, now that I think about it. I don’t know where I am in terms of religion or spirituality, but I know I’m going to pray with my heart for there to be a better world, for the families and friends who’ve lost their loved ones to heal, for the migrants to get their homes back, and for everyone to realize that blaming a group of people or a religion is not the solution.

Featured Image by Joseph Kaczmarek / AP Photo

November 16, 2015
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