Bernie and I were shocked to hear the news from Paris yesterday morning. The city we both love so much was violated in the worst kind of way, an attack on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. If there are any rights so vehemently defended by the French, it is those two. They are debaters, arguers (all in good faith), questioners, examiners, skeptics in regard to getting to the facts, etc. etc. Just ask me becasue I live with one who can sometimes drive me crazy with his pursuit of freedom of expression. The net is wide and deep if you are French. Some call it by other names but generally, it’s a wonderful trait which breeds tolerance and acceptance.
Yesterday, misguided minds shot an arrow through the heart of Paris. This was doubly hard for us because two months ago we were steps away from the location of the terror. Our latest apartment which we inhabitated for the last two weeks of our trip was less than a 1/4 mile away from the office of the magazine, and to add insult to injury in the very neighborhood where Bernie was born. I did not realize this until much later in the day.
I have been communicating with several friends who live in Paris, one French and one American. Both use the word “sad” to describe the city right now. One is scared (the American) and one is not. My French friend, Ann, is defiant, in mourning, but moving forward. Typically, fear is not a word I would use for the French. They have endured so much through the centuries. Endurance would be my word for them. They will endure this but with broken hearts.
Part of me is glad that we were not there, but then part of me wishes we had been. I was out of the US for 911 and felt a sense of alienation from the collective grief process that our nation experienced.
I feel the same sense of isolation today.