Paris and a dark Friday in November


Waking up this morning to find that Paris had been attacked in yet another assault by terrorist set my Saturday off on a depressing note. Naturally in my little village, over 1,000km away it didn’t affect my life in the way that it has for the Parisians and for that matter, France in general. Things are obviously going to change. I have no idea how but maybe they’ll be changes long needed. Maybe they’ll be changes never needed and for the worse as we saw in the US after 9/11.

Beyond my small aside relating an otherwise unrelated day compared to what has happened in the City of Light, Editor in Chief pinged me from abroad to ask if I’d looked at the list of places that were hit. I had of course but it hadn’t really sank in until she had mentioned to look more closely at them. It was then that it came back to me from the last time we were in Paris in August of 2013. In case you were wondering, my mother had really wanted to visit the city and thus the Editor and I set out to find what we could in an otherwise closed Paris.

The first place we found was Petit Cambodge on their last lunch before going on holiday which is where the picture is from above. It was an outstandingly delicious affair which was unbelievable in that it was a pay what you will lunch. Later, we had a coffee and mooched the wifi password at the bar, Le Carillon. We continued to mooch the wifi whenever we passed as at our shitty Airbnb place, the internet was nearly unusable. We nearly had dinner at La Casa Nostra but it exceeded our budget a bit.

We didn’t go to Stade de France, Bataclan, or Belle Equipe but anyone keeping score or otherwise thinking about this would probably have an OMG moment in that we were 3/6 in places that were hit yesterday in the terrorist attacks. Others might also say, “That could have been us!” Except that it wasn’t and it won’t be. It was by pure chance that we, along with thousands of others have been to some if not all of these locations and managed to emerge unscathed by a cowardly act of terrorism carried out by an ignorant, backwards group of thugs.

This is what people have to keep in mind with events like this in that while it may seem like these terrorists got hold of my Yelp favorites from a trip in 2013 to carry this out, they didn’t. These are popular spots and they knew that hitting them would hit a lot of people. Things such as this cannot deter us to live our lives as Europeans however. The British have know this for a long time with their years spent in fear of and then defiance of the IRA terrorist attacks. That however was in wanting freedom from the British, not some backwards interpretation of ancient text that have no bearing on the modern world in which we humans should all be living in.

We do need to have a sea of change here and while I don’t like the American approach to treating every immigrant (and for that matter, visitor) as a potential criminal, the social, welcoming policy of Europe needs to be reined in. The march of ISIS also cannot be yet another breakup of Yugoslavia except in Syria this time. It is far, far too close to Europe for both the countries of the EU and for that matter the US to stand by idly while such a rampant band of heathens destroys this part of the world and forces a refugee crisis on Europe that has been dealt with in terms that are beyond piss poor.

I don’t know if this is that moment for change but I do know that Hollande in France, Rajoy in Spain, and Cameron in the UK are not the leaders to take this on. We can only see if others will pick up the pieces to move forward. Germany…?