L’amour est plus fort que la haine.
The attack in Paris yesterday was the worst in France in recent memory. It was an attack on freedom of expression and liberté, but it was also an attack on anyone who has ever woken up at dawn to get a fresh pain au chocolat from the boulangerie, on anyone who has ever found their voice in Paris (or elsewhere), on anyone who has ever called France home.
Nous sommes tous Charlie.
Last night, an impromptu vigil was set up outside the Hôtel de Ville in Aix. Candles were lit, flowers placed, and artists arrived with paper and sharpies and scotch to leave their tribute. Cartoons were drawn, and many signs wrote that it wasn’t Muslims who killed–it was criminals. All of the signs, whether they said “I live to express myself,” or “Where is courage–if God exists, he doesn’t kill for a drawing,” or had their grammar corrected by another passerby, showed all of France’s citizens uniting; defending their liberté.
This morning, I returned to the square to find the market setting up as usual, with sachets of herbs and vegetables ready for soups and the faint scent of lavender and fresh bread wandering through the air. The flower market was setting up outside the Hôtel de Ville, where signs were straightened from the windows by people inside the Hôtel. Nearby, the man at the newsstand had been selling papers exclaiming, “Nous sommes tous Charlie,” “Je Suis Charlie,” and “Liberté 0, Barbarians 12” for hours.
The city continued to run as usual, but the air was heavier–not with fear, but with the strength to fight back. ♦