I grew up in a safe place.
A quiet town 15km away from Paris,
I had Electricity and drinkable water 24/7,
Food in the fridge,
Heat in winter and barbecues in the garden during summer.
I've always taken that for granted.
In 1995, aged 12, there was an attack in the subway.
A bomb exploded in Paris. 8 people died.
Hundreds were injured.
It was during summer break.
I was 15km away.
To me, it was just pictures on TV.
When school started in September,
the only consequences were cancelled school trips.
and restricted parking near schools.
Parents were scared and I learnt the meaning of ‘terrorism’.
Life went on.
2015, Friday 13th
I've always loved Friday the 13th.
Always took it as a good omen.
It's usually the only day I buy a lottery ticket.
I went for a drink with a friend. He had just settled in Paris so we were trying all kind of bars.
I was late and owed him couple of beers.
600 Meters away the shooting began.
Slowly we learnt about the events,
checking the news,
wondering what we should do,
We kept drinking. Finally, we got to safety.
I woke up with a hangover.
A mix of headache and sickness at what had happened.
I thought a lot about the beers I have shared this past year:
Sunset beers in Malapascua,
Rooftop beers in Cebu,
Rooftop beers with ‘Polyglot club’ in Sydney,
Beers on the beach in Kapas.
All these “little” chats over the past year have had a huge influence on my life,
my knowledge of the world, and my understanding of others.
We need more of that.
Today Paris is quiet.
Paris has always been busy and noisy.
Teenagers laughing in the streets,
tourists talking loudly in front of the monuments,
angry drivers honking,
the metro ringing at each stop…
Today Paris is quiet.
Paris is mourning.
It's an overdose.
An overdose of “Bleu blanc rouge”.
I've always loved my flag, but not today.
Brandebourg Gate in Berlin,
Pearl Tower in Shanghai,
Tower Bridge in London.
Christ the Redeemer in Rio…
the world sing “La Marseillaise”.
The Paris attacks have triggered a huge wave of empathy.
To me, it feels like a Tsunami.
What about Beirut, Ankara, Baghdad… ?
Terrorist are bastards.
Everywhere, they are bastards.
The pain is the same everywhere.
The fear is the same everywhere…
The love as well.
I am lucky.
I could sleep in a safe place.
I could go back home on Saturday morning.
Take a hot shower.
Turn on my TV.
My family and my friends were all safe.
I still have electricity and drinkable water 24/7
and food in my fridge.
Yes, I'm fine. And yes, I'm scared.
I even feel sick.
I know this will happen again.
It always does, here or there.
Wherever it is in our world.
Paris, Beirut, Ankara, Baghdad?
It is our world.
I'll keep living.
I'll keep attending concerts.
I might even start going to the stadium.
And I'll keep drinking beer with my friends anyway.