A word, a city which until now has conjured up countless images of la tour Eiffel, the Champs Elysee. Fashion. Style. Romance. A hint of French arrogance, according to some. Winding streets, large open spaces, artists on pavements, delicious cafés au lait and melt-in-the-mouth, crumbly croissants au chocolat.
Right now you hear it and the first thing that comes to mind is the horrific attacks from just one week ago (really? Is it only one week?). Attacks on our civilised world, our freedom of movement and expression.
The thing is… Last weekend I chose, quite deliberately, to post a blog similar to earlier ones. I chose not to focus or even comment on Paris and the awfulness of it all. I wanted to continue doing ‘normal stuff’. I felt you, my readers, deserved that too. Because holding onto what we do, what we like, what makes us laugh and sometimes even cry especially in these strange, challenging days is in itself, a strength.
But today, it feels wrong to ignore it completely. It’s just too big. I’ve read many blogs this past week, listened to so many reports that my head still spins. A lot has been said. Wise words that I can’t begin to match but I thought, as there’s so much sadness going around, maybe I can offer you a different word to move us away from despair and fear. And back towards light, especially for those living in the City named after it.
- I hope, that as we work to put these dreadful deeds behind us, that something good can and will emerge from them.
- I hope that Europe’s leaders can truly come together at last and find a way of dealing with the situation. Right now.
- I hope that we, the people of Europe, will reach out to each other. Build new bridges that bring us closer together, regardless of race, religion or background.
- I hope people will know that these attacks are not a Muslim creed or way of living. They are the actions of one group of fanatics, who seek to destabilise the civilisation we have built over hundreds of years.
- I hope we are all brave enough to withstand the lure of mistrusting others which some would have us succumb to.
- I hope for lessons learnt from past mistakes to guide the way forward, not backward.
- I hope we can soon learn to see and think of the city of Paris for what it still is – beautiful. Entrancing. Magical. Ours.