When something like this happens, I often get the feeling that it is indecent to even speak of it, to even assume that we could possibly understand anything so horrible, when we haven’t experienced it first-hand. Or to talk on behalf of the people who have. But it is a necessity, so I’m going to share my thoughts here, and maybe you can relate to what I have to say.
I am not very involved in politics, I don’t always keep up with world happenings. It all just seems so irrelevant to my personal life that sometimes I just can’t be bothered. I think this is very common for young people in particular. And so yesterday evening, when my class’ group chat started exploding with shock and outrage at what was happening in Paris, I didn’t even read it until this morning.
When I realized what had happened, I was beyond ashamed. I am ashamed that I could ever feel exempt from the responsibility each person has of being involved in our global community. Such apathy is entirely arrogant.
Paris is next-door to Switzerland. My class went there on a trip last year. It could have been us. It could have been our friends or family, and for all these people, it was them and their friends, their family.
I watched some video footage of people running out of Bataclan, screaming, wounded, falling, dead. A man yelling out repeatedly, “Oscar!” Limping.
Who is Oscar? Is Oscar okay?
There were people hanging onto window sills for dear life. You could hear gunfire. Shouts for help.
I have never seen anything so horrifying. This wasn’t a movie, a reenacted documentary. This was real. I cried for nearly fifteen minutes. At the same time, I knew that my mom and my brother were inside the house, safe. I was texting my friends about this, so they were safe. Obviously, they were all safe. They weren’t in Paris, they weren’t even in France. But the fear was there nonetheless.
And then I watched François Hollande’s speech, speaking of France’s strength, the injustice, how they would overcome this evil, that they would go against ISIS ruthlessly. And my sense of fear and terror turned into rage.
Those cannot be humans behind those masks! Those are monsters! This is pure evil.
I want to be able to help, but the most I can do is like and share facebook posts, change my profile picture to the French flag, and be sad and angry. Believe me, I’m happy to do that. It’s important to show support, for every person to be there for the victims of these attacks, but we should strive for more.
I started this post by mentioning indecency vs necessity, and I want to come back to that now: I have often considered the idea of becoming a journalist, and frequently, the financial prospects (and yes, the “irrelevance” – the irony of this is not lost on me) put me off it. But the helplessness I felt today made me realize that I owe it to myself and to society to be one of the people who ties us together by ensuring that people are informed, that people understand the very real happenings around them, so that we don’t lead disconnected, oblivious lives.
This isn’t meant to be a life-changing post or some sort of instruction, but it’s the impression this event has made on me, and I wanted to share it with you.
Lastly, I want to say that I am so grateful for all of my friends and family, and my heart goes out to all those who have suffered through these attacks.
Links to the main articles I read, not including the more recent updates (one is in French, but the footage is comprehensible all the same):