The terrorists did not target symbols of the French state, nor of the republic's military might. They did not even target tourist spots.
The terrorists attacked places where ordinary people, mainly young and anti-racist, come together to enjoy themselves, to laugh, drink and eat.
The terrorists also targeted the Stade de France, the amazing football stadium in the north of Paris. The Stade is home to the national team, Les Bleus, and the team's noir, blanc et beur players are a reflection and proud symbol of modern French multiculturalism.
|Charles, Jeem, Anne-Kim. Leila et Sherry on our last night.|
When I heard the news of yesterday's attacks in Paris, I thought of our month-long sojourn in Paris earlier this year, and especially of our friends at Le Brio, the café at the end of our street. Almost every morning for a month, I started my day with un café et un pastis s'il vous plaît.
At night we often stopped there for a digestif before heading home. In a sense, as best can happen when one spends a month in a neighbourhood, we came to know the regulars of Le Brio. The owners, Fabian and Leila rarely took a day off; Fabian worked the days and Leila worked the evenings. The teen-aged bartender, Charles, always greeted us with a smile. We talked of things Canadian with Anne-Kim, the young student from Quebec, who worked at Le Brio while continuing her studies in Paris. In the mornings we were greeted with café, often without asking, by Camille or Aurélie.
When I think of what happened yesterday in Paris, I think of Le Brio, and how the attacks could have happened just as easily there, in the 18e arrondisement, or anywhere else in the city. These were not attacks with political designs, but of terror as an end in itself. These were despicable attacks against the values of pluralism, diversity and communauté.
Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis parisien.
Copyright 2015 by Jim Murray.