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November 13th, 2035.
“Mommy, Mommy, what are they celebrating on TV?”
“Today is a holiday in commemoration of the deadliest Paris attacks ever. It happened twenty years ago, to the day.”
“Were you there mommy?”
“Yes I was. But thank God I wasn’t inside Paris at the moment of the attacks. Come on, I’m going to tell you the story…”
I’m an exchange student in London. I’ve been living there for almost two months. And about one week away from reading week (holidays), I felt really blue. I missed my family. I missed my friends. And I missed Paris… I was the first to be surprised: I was sure I preferred London to Paris and I thought I could easily give up my life in Paris to live in the English capital. And yet, after only a few weeks, the Parisian in me woke up and was outraged. Paris is the most beautiful city of the world: how could I think of leaving it?
Yes, the Parisians are always complaining and always in a hurry. But I am a Parisian who always complains and who’s always in a hurry and I love it. I think this is part of the beauty of the Parisian identity. In addition, the Parisian is good-looking, smart and is so very polite (in London, people barely say “please”, they directly say: “move to the back of the bus!” “Take that!” “Come here!”).
Thus, when it was finally reading week, I packed my bags and I booked my ticket for Paris. As soon as I arrived in the Paris Bercy station, I knew I did right. Paris is wonderful. While I was watching the urban landscapes through the windows of the metro line 6, I realized how much I loved the city. My city. I could go anywhere and stay a couple of months in a foreign country: at the end of the day, no place in the world would be able to replace the City of Light in my heart. I love Paris.
I swear to you my child, I really thought that. I realize each time how incredible it is that I thought so and that I repeated it several times to my relatives. The mere idea of leaving Paris at the end of the week to go back to London would make me very sad. And I realized all of these only three days before this horrible event that you’re watching commemorated on TV…
On Friday the 13th of November 2015, before I joined my friends to have dinner with them, I spent the evening in Paris. I walked from Courcelles to Franklin D. Roosevelt on the avenue of the Champs Elysées. Yet, while my friends and I usually eat in Paris, this time, we choose to settle for a small Indian restaurant in the suburbs. I’m a believer and I believe it’s God who kept us outside of Paris…
Then, my friend’s father called. “Come home immediately. There was an attack in République. 18 people have been killed.” At the beginning, we didn’t really realize what was happening. Then, we tried to keep up with the news. They were dealing with an attack in the stade de France during the France – Germany friendly match. What was happening? Was it an attack in République or at the stade France? Then, the number of death increased. And so did our anger, our inability to understand and our fear. What was happening? No one was able to answer that question right away. Even though from the very beginning, we suspected who’s behind these… “A witness heard one of the shooter scream ‘Allahu Akbar’…” “Today, only Isis or Al ‘Qaeda is able to carry out such a terrorist attack with such weapons…”
I was scared my child. Oddly, I was less scared than after the Charlie Hebdo attacks on the 7th of January of the same year. Yet, there were more casualties in the November attacks. Maybe it was the novelty of it that scared me. The January attacks were the first attacks I “lived.” Is it bad to say that I’m less scared? It is bad to think that it’s only the beginning and we’d better get used to it?
Yet, in opposition with the Charlie Hebdo attacks, this time, I felt concerned since it was an indiscriminate attack. No one was targeted so everyone was. They attacked without distinction, no matter people’s skin color, age, origins, religions or sex. Their goal was to kill as many people as they could, to kill Paris. They tried to kill Paris. My city. They attacked me. They attacked every one of us.
This time, my anger is stronger than my fear. I’m angry because Paris is a target once again. I’m angry because I feel like every country of the world is unable to beat Isis. I’m angry because I feel like Islam is dishonored once again. I’m angry thinking that tomorrow, racism and islamophobia in France – which are already at a critical level – are going to increase and to reach an even more dreadful level. I’m angry because of the Paris attacks but also because of the Beirut ones too and the ones that occur in several parts of the world. I cannot write an article without sending all my prayers and my love to those people who suffer from those attacks everyday. How can I not understand their suffering and their need to run?
I don’t understand too. How can people claiming to be Muslim blow themselves up since suicide is forbidden in Islam? Only God has power over life and death. How can people claiming to be Muslim randomly kill people, without caring if they kill women, children and old people when it is written in black and white in the Quran that it is forbidden to kill women, children and old people even at wartime? How can people claiming to be Muslim kill innocent civilians when in the Quran, it is written that whoever kills an innocent, it’s as if he killed the entire humanity? How can people claiming to be Muslim can lead such a jihad when the jihad of war, which does exist, is supposed to be a defensive war? Indeed, you can kill people at wartime (which does every country of the world even the supposedly most democratic ones such as the US to name only one) but if and only if, Muslims have been attacked first or to defend a territory and so on and so forth.
I honestly say, and I can be called paranoid, I don’t care, I strongly doubt that the leaders of Daesh, Al ‘Qaeda and so on, were Muslims in the first place…
November 13th, 2025. I hope that when I’ll tell this story to my son or my daughter, I would be able to finish it saying that France and the rest of the world finally woke up. From the States to Russia including France and Germany, and Italy, and Brazil, and Spain and Portugal, and the Eastern countries and Africa and Asia along with North-Africa and the Middle East, all of them decided to unite themselves and to end this war in Syria once and for all. There was the Third World War and this time, it was the world against a state which is only Islamic by name. And this evil that had been the plague of this planet for way too long has been eradicated. And that’s why today, we commemorate this day when unfortunately, too many people died, because the 13th of November 2015 has been the trigger of all that. And this is thanks to this day that today, my child, you are safe and sound…
November 14th, 2015. Honestly, even I don’t believe it. But I hope for it from the absolute bottom of my heart. Tonight, I pray for Paris. But I also pray for all the other victims of those barbarous and inhuman acts, from France and elsewhere.
Paris, je t’aime.