FLUCTUAT NEC MERGITUR PARIS TOSSED BUT NOT SUNK
FLUCTUAT NEC MERGITUR PARIS TOSSED BUT NOT SUNK
Text and photos by Jillian Andrei- Leu
When Baron Haussmann decided on November 24, 1853 to use this old ( 1358) motto as the City Coat of Arms, nor he neither anyone else could imagine it revived after dramatic events have shattered almost all souls, since the fatidic night in Paris, France.
There are people in the world who do not like the others. There are also people in the world who are not able to declare their love or admiration to the others. There are people in the world incapable to love themselves.
There are beings( I can’t call them ‘ humans’) in the world for which the word ‘love’ doesn’t exist. They are machines made not by humans , but by other machines with humanoid brain. They live only to be able to destroy. They live to be able to kill. There is nothing beyond this purpose. These beings are empty. Their emptiness is periodically filed up with killings. Killing the others is their daily fuel. Otherwise the machine doesn’t work. It stops…
… I opened the eyes and I looked around, realizing that the park in front of me was in the colors of the autumn, a warm breeze coming from the trees and some birds offering me their concert for free, for the Parisians called them’ Our friends, that must be respected!’ Not far from the Place de la Republique, the blanket of the clouds warned me that an umbrella should have been a good idea, at least one of the four I have in my flat. After some drops, which were rather friendly, I gave up taking pictures in the park and kept walking towards the Beaubourg quarter, known for the animated pedestrian streets with covered terraces waiting for the Friday evening customers.
Still some rain showers, although I adore walking in the rain in Paris… with an umbrella, I got on a bus, to bring me up the hill, where my bohemian flat is, just in time for a shower and a proper outfit for the conference in the evening, in the opposite site of the city- Montparnasse.
After the interesting conference evening, I walked down the avenue Rennes till St. Germain church. I got on the bus., riding past Louvre, l’Opera Garnier, Printemps Shops, with the windows decorated for Christmas. The bus reached the edge of Montmartre Cemetery and I was wondering how so many great artists and common people can have the eternal peace with such a traffic on the bridge. I was so glad that I had given up to go to a movie, as I always do on Friday evening, for I could walk and smell the fresh air of the evening, almost night, with women and men, kids and couples on the terraces, enjoying the peace and the clear sky, the dining out and the music of street gypsy musicians in their effort to please people with ‘ La vie en rose’ …
I popped into my flat , joyfully prepared to finish off my writing for my new blog, with my new pics taken , in day light , around Place de la Republique, to launch it online Saturday morning, when something caught up my attention on the screen of my PC. It was 10 pm. Nov 13, 2015. The ‘breaking news’ was annoucing something about Paris , about stadium, about attack…I couldn’t get it. Got confused… ‘just few minutes earlier, I had been down town Paris and they are now saying that there was a terror attack? ‘They must be nonsensical… this must be a false alert’! Outside, in the city, more and more sirens announcing an emergency, could be heard.
I looked at clock of my PC: 10.30pm. My sister-in-law called me from Germany. She was worried about me. I talked to her, getting more aware of the gravity of the situation, I couldn’t listen to her anymore, I even was rude to her, cutting off the conversation on the phone( not my normal attitude, at all, so sorry about that!). They confirmed on BBC news and other news channels: in Paris, not far from Place de la Republique, a terror attack was ongoing, while at the Stade de France ( stadium) a football game between France and Germany, 80,000 fans ,including the President of France, were in the tribunes, not noticing that outside the stadium , 2 kamikaze terrorists were blowing themselves up, marking the beginning of the massacre inside the concert hall Bataclan , after killings around had been in the café/ terraces/ bars.
My telephone was ringing and ringing… Friends ,from all the corners of the world, were sending messages to inquire my being about, knowing that I’m an outgoing person, in Paris. The news and the images on the screen of my PC were getting more and more dramatic. There were hostages taken in the concert hall by the terrorists, gunshots could be heard, special forces of the police were in place, ready to penetrate Bataclan hall , wounded women and men were getting out , in the streets , desperately running for their life. The sound of the helicopters was heard flying over Paris. Paramedics and medical staff were taking in charge those who could escape the bullets, police officers protecting the terror area… horrible scenes, live on TV , when my daughter called me from South –Asia. She was scared about the news on TV in her area. Both my son and my daughter finding out about the terror attacks In Paris, late in the morning, had been trying to reach me, for many of my FB friends had been inquiring about me.
At 2.30 am , while I was on phone with my daughter and my son, the situation was under control at Bataclan, where one terrorist was shot down by police , while the others had blown up themselves. One presumed terrorist was fugitive and he is still at this moment… hope not too long…
I’m not French, but I’m Parisian. Paris is my adoptive city. Paris is so full of LIFE. Paris is a lively & romantic & cultural city.
Friday evening, after work, people enjoy a terrace, a café a bar, a restaurant, a concert, a theatre play, a football game everywhere in the world. So they do in Paris. The enjoyment of the women and men- human beings- was cruelly broken into pieces. The bloodshed has transformed the peaceful and warm atmosphere of a Friday night into consternation and a mourning Paris.
At dawn and late in the morning, I was wandering in the street of Montmartre, where children were playing with falling leaves, dogs were barking while being walked by their masters, the croissants & baguettes were smelling as usual in the boulangerie round the corner, the caroussel was riding some kids, while their parents were talking to each other discreetly , tourists were taking pictures for the Wall of Love. Saturday, November 14, aftermath the terror night there is LIFE in Paris.
Sunday, two days after the horrible terror attack, a sunny day with bright sky over Paris, at Trocadero, people speaking in different languages, were laying in the lawns, catching up the rays of the sun, kids,trespassing into the forbidden green areas, were running around the fountains with sprinkling water, elevators were getting people up and down Eiffel Tower, the river Seine was flowing toward the ocean with boats and ships riding their visitor. I was absorbing the light of the noon with its positive energy.
Place de la Republique, with the Statue of Marianne, holding the Olive branch, the Symbol of Peace in the world, has become a meeting point of homage & praying for the victims. RIP! Thousands of people of all creeds, nationalities, color of the skin,tongues, ages from all over the world, were praying, laying flowers and lit candles, singing, hugging each other, writing on the floor, kneeling peacefully with dignity, discretion and compassion.
Nations around the world were with us- in Paris or virtually, showing solidarity and determination to stay united.
Next to me, a young boy was drawing, with a piece of chalk, the Eiffel Tower and the sign of peace. Some other small children were launching their self-made-paper ships- the city coat of arms- on the river of LIFE. There is LIFE & LOVE in Paris. There is LIFE & Love in Europe. There is Life& LOVE on Earth!
I love Paris!
The City of Paris “is tossed by the waves, but not SUNK’. So is the World!!
15 November 2015