How many of us can remember where we were on September 11th or July 7th? From now on we must remember where we were on November 13th too. Many communities around the world have their own special days for mourning, regrouping, recovering.
We must stand in solidarity with Paris, but also Beirut, Israel, Palestine, Baghdad, Nairobi, Oslo, Utoya, Sharm el-Sheikh: a growing list of places scarred by atrocities.
We all heard about it, we were all affected by it. We were all, in a sense, there. It hurt us even if we didn’t personally know someone injured or killed, even if we weren’t waiting for someone to tell us they were safe.
We were there when they came to take our sense of security. These people who sow and exploit divisions in our society. These people who radicalise individuals and breed mistrust in our communities. These people who build barriers between you and me and our families. We will always be at risk if we become weak in the face of adversity. It doesn’t matter if we are a military city, if there are 2000 more spies, or if the police have the power to snoop.
That’s why I am standing with you and everyone else, why we are all standing together. That matters.
That’s our response. It’s what Mayor Hidalgo of Paris called for. It’s the message we give to the rest of the city and to the world.
Photography by Howard A’Court.