There have been enough words shared about this, but I feel that to let it go unacknowledged on this site is inappropriate, especially as a resident of Paris. I will try to keep it short and to the point, because there is so much being said on the internet that just does not need to be said.
It’s always hard to grasp an event as monumentally tragic as this, especially when it happens so near. In the days afterwards, there is a somber mist that hangs just out of sight, shrouding some deeper than others. It’s tangible, walking through the metro, that the energy has shifted. The city is in mourning. At work on Monday we, like much of France, participated in a minute of silence at noon. The weight of the entire city taking that breath at one moment, in the suddenly beautiful burst of sunlight filtering through the clouds, was something I will never forget. Because I felt then that I was not an outsider looking in, I was not a foreigner experiencing someone else’s national tragedy. This is not just a tragedy for France, and maybe that’s why the outpouring on social media has been so incessant. Because this strikes a deep nerve in humanity. A lot of people have thrown out the term “clash of civilizations.” But ISIS is not a civilization; this is not Islam against Christianity, East against West, third world against first world. This is a radical group of extremists against anyone who stands in their way. While I have political opinions, I’ll leave that to greater powers. What I can do is be grateful every day for my freedoms, for my blessings, and for the future stretched in front of me filled with nothing but opportunity. Because that is something that many no longer have - refugees escaping the terrors of ISIS in their own country, victims of terrorism all over the world, and those who happen to be born into a society that is much less free than my own. What we can all do is be kind with each other, because there is already too much hate in the world.
I love Paris, and I will always consider here to be home. This city has survived a thousand years of hardships far worse than this, and come out all the more beautiful - partly because the fierce will of its people to not just survive, but celebrate life to its greatest extent.