I remember three years ago, my college asked us to pick a foreign language we’d be learning over the next two semesters. I’d almost immediately zeroed in on French. My decision was prompted by the illustrious history of the country, its architectural magnificence and above all, the spirit of its people. If there was any way I, staying 7000 kilometres away, could get closer to France, I would.
On the eve of Friday, the 13th of November, the streets of Paris spewed blood uncontrollably, strewed with uncountable corpses, testimony to the insatiable hunger of the perpetrators, who’d brought the most beautiful city in the world to its knees. The blood on the streets of Paris was no different than that in Beirut a day ago, in Gaza the year around, in Mumbai 7 years ago or, in Madrid 11 years ago. Crumbling along with it, was our false sense of security. No one is safe.
By the time I finish writing and editing this, everyone will be aware of the details. Every reaction, every quote, every tweet. There will be a lot of generalised statements that will be thrown in the fray. I’m not one to judge other people, but stereotyping an entire community based on what was done by a few deranged fanatics is only narrow minded. It’s only admissible to feel outraged. If you’ve been following my social media, you know I’m just as outraged as the next person. But it’s important to not direct this outrage towards other innocent people who’ve had nothing to do with the cause.
About three summers ago, as a part of an online ‘Student Exchange Program’, I had the privilege of interacting with students from HEC, Paris. It was during this interaction that they explained to us how they celebrated Christmas, the subjects they studied and how they would get frantic calls from their parents if they were late by a minute past their curfew. That was the first time I’d realised we all are, irrespective of their colour, location, eye colour, sex and religion, the same.
There have been people complaining of the lack of attention that the Gaza, Syrian or Peshawar situations received. Fact of the matter is Yes, a European country will always receive more coverage than any other. But that doesn’t mean our prayers aren’t with all those people around the world who are at the will of terrorists. If I my there had been greater media coverage, more people would know.
I’ve only experienced one terrorist attack in my life- 26/11. While I was at home all the while, I’ve never felt as vulnerable. Every half-cracked sound would betray my senses. I felt like the comforting world I’d surrounded myself with, no longer existed. Being confined to my house, living in the constant fear of giving up on my life made it one of the darkest weeks of my life. That’s why I’m praying for Paris, Gaza, Peshawar, Ethiopia, Mumbai so on and so forth.
I’m praying for the newly wed, who lost her husband. For the mother who’d just seen her son take his first few steps. For man who doesn’t know what to do with the ring. For the girl who’d just graduated and wanted to become a lawyer. But I know what will eventually come through is the spirit that made me fall in love with its country. Prières pour Paris.
I know this wasn’t what you were expecting from a Collab Fest, but it felt almost disrespectful to talk about an International tragedy such as this. I will be back with something funny soon.