Sunday, November 29, 2015

Three Hours of Terror in Paris

It's been two weeks since the awful terrorist attacks in Paris. I've wanted to make a post about it, but I didn't know what to say, other than it was TERRIBLE. 130 people were killed and another 350+ people were injured in the coordinated attacks in and just outside of Paris. I thought this timeline was helpful in understanding what happened and when:
Three teams of attackers worked together. Some of the attackers targeted busy restaurants, where they entered and began shooting everyone in sight. Another group of attackers went to the packed Stade de France (national stadium of France) where a soccer match between France and Germany was taking place. [I heard that the attackers were planning on actually being IN the stadium, but for some reason they weren't able to enter. Thank goodness for that, because if they had entered the stadium, it's certain that there would have been more casualties, since the stadium had somewhere around 80,000 people inside.]

The spectators were asked to wait on the pitch until they were given security clearance to leave the stadium.
The third group of attackers went to the Bataclan (a concert venue) where an American band, Eagles of Death Metalwere performing to a sold-out crowd (the Bataclan holds 1500 people). The attackers began firing into the crowd. Imagine how terrifying that would've been! People began screaming and were trying as best they could to hide or make their way to the exits. The attackers held the people inside hostage for two hours, before the police stormed the building. When they did, two of the attackers detonated their suicide belts/vests, killing themselves, and the third attacker's vest exploded when it was activated by police gunfire. In the end, 89 innocent victims were killed in the Bataclan.
These attacks will be to France what the 9|11 terrorist attacks were to the United States. (I know there were far fewer casualties in the Paris attacks than there were on 9|11, but France is a much smaller country, so I think the damage is comparable.) The feelings are the same, too. It's shocking finding out about attacks such as these and horrifying to watch the aftermath play out on TV. It leaves you feeling incensed that someone would do these terrible things to your country and to innocent human beings. I hope Parisians will notice more kindness and more citizenship and pride of country in the wake of this tragedy. That was something I noticed in this country after 9|11. Tragedies have a way of putting things into perspective and they make you realize what's really important in life.

There was a lot of speculation about who was responsible for orchestrating these awful attacks in Paris, and the next day the Islamic State, or ISIS, released a video where they claimed responsibility for the attacks. I don't know why anyone would do such brutal asks of violence (especially unprovoked and to complete strangers), but ISIS seems to be nothing if not cutthroat and ruthless. When I was a little girl, I foolishly thought that war was a thing of the past. I guess it was because all of the wars I'd ever heard of and/or learned about in school seemed to have happened so long ago, I just figured that world leaders had learned how to handle conflict in a more constructive way. Boy, was I na├»ve! Now that I'm older, it's comical to think about how wrong I was. Sadly, we haven't evolved that much. I'm pretty sure there have always been wars and will always will be wars for as long as the world goes on. The only thing that will bring permanent peace is the second coming of Jesus Christ.

The lights on the Eiffel Tower went dark on Friday after these attacks; a symbolic move for the City of Light. Other monuments and buildings around the world lit up in red, white and blue (the colors of France's flag) to show solidarity and respect for France.
Jean Jullien, a French graphic designer, created this simple "peace for Paris" image and posted it on his Instagram and Twitter. It spread like wildfire, and became a symbol of hope and was seen around the world after the attacks.


Julie said...

Hi Heather,
Thank you for this.

What those people went through must've been terrible. I really hope those injured recover ok, both physically & mentally.

I always enjoy it when you do news items, I always learn something new from you.

I thought of you on Sunday when the 2 new photos of Princess Charlotte were released. She is so adorable. I find the pix that the royal family take themselves much better than stuffy posed ones, tho they are nice too.

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