Solidarity, again, always.

I guess the whole point of what I posted earlier was about solidarity. I am not a French person but I chose to move to this country because I love what it stands for, I love its language, I love its culture, I love its history. There are so many foreigners like me, some who are citizens and some who are not. But no matter what we came to France because we believe in France. I have friends here, opportunities, education, jobs, almost endless possibilities.

The Parisians are not afraid to continue their life. The metro is full of people, the cafés are full of people. “Je suis en terrasse” is a  printed up like “Je suis Charlie” now, because sitting outside a café and enjoying a drink with your friends has become a political act. On the signs in each arrondissement, that usually portray the weather, the time, and some city announcements, is now just the phrase “fluctuat nec mergitur,” the slogan for Paris itself. It translates as “struck by waves, but never sinks.” An important message, for the times we live in.

I’ve started to educate myself on the Islamic State. Their actual plan is to divide society. The Paris they attacked was a neighborhood full of all kinds of people. Immigrants, French people, young, old, working-class people. The concert venue, and the café, the places where people go to be together and to have a good time.

I just can’t imagine that the IS will ever succeed. They are an organisation based on fear, hatred, and black-and-white thinking. My favorite memories of being in Paris are always multicultural events. I am always in a room full of students, full of accents, but desiring to communicate and to share our lives.

A Chinese student in my class today shared her story of being near the attacks last Friday night. She told us as she ran away from the scene, she knocked on the door of a home and was welcomed in. A Muslim family took her in and as she entered the living room, she saw a whole group of people, all being protected in this one house.

The love and support in France and around the world has been astonishing. I’m proud to be part of the youth today. I think we are a majority of tolerant, accepting, and open-minded people. Libération made it’s headline “Génération Bataclan.” Other national tragedies have been present in our lives too. We are the generation of 9/11, the school shootings and police violence in the United States. I’m not always hopeful. But I am grateful for when I am.

Of course it’s up to everyone, not just young people, to stand together and remain united against the evil forces in this world. Somehow seeing the man pray the rosary on the metro, and the girl crying, made me feel connected to them. Everyone is mourning, but everyone is also facing the future.

I’ll leave you with two links to two hopeful and peaceful messages:

Father and son discuss the attacks

It’s going to be okay.

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