The cursor is blinking and the voices are quiet. The music is playing, Ibrahim Maalouf’s melancholic piano soundtrack, breaking the heavy the silence hovering in my living room. This is one of those posts where the words are not flowing. One of those posts where feelings are still struggling to find their rightful place. Am I sad or am I angry? Am I shocked or am I afraid?
Paris has entered 3 days of mourning but a small part of me can’t help but snicker at this announcement. As if 3 days were enough. As if 3 days is all the time we’ve got before we should just suck it up and move on with our lives. For most of us, moving on will be easier, of course. We will spend some time reflecting on this atrocity and we will stare into the void until our eyes can no longer tell the foreground from the background. We will ask ourselves why. Shout it from within, a string of silent, deafening cries. Why?
What is wrong with us? What can be so wrong with us that we refuse to learn from our mistakes? When did taking a human life become a means of conveying a message? A long time ago, you will tell me. So long we have forgotten when it all began. An impure act, lost in the mists of time.
I was in Paris less than 3 weeks ago. I have many, dear friends in Paris. Friends I have grown up with, made memories with. Friends I have laughed with, confided in, had drinks with, been to concerts with. Friends I have led normal lives with. But what is a normal life today? Going to see a rock band at the Bataclan, not to ever see the light of day again?
I spoke to my mum an hour ago. She and my grandma were heading out to the cemetery as it was Задушница (probably the equivalent of All Souls Day) last Saturday and my mum was too ill to leave the house then. Commemorating the departed seems even more painful today but then again… When is it ever painless?
Just before she left, I found out about Gatwick Airport’s evacuation of the North Terminal this morning. A suspicious bag was found and a man allegedly armed with a gun was arrested. I am not working today but I was there two days ago.
Just before she left, she said to me:
“Please, stay in today.”
Is this the message they are trying to convey? Don’t you dare leave the house if you want to live? Don’t you dare go out for drinks or catch up with a friend or lead a normal life because you see? We call the shots now. We decide what is normal and you don’t get to be innocent.
I found my Facebook flooded with empathic statuses and so much love and prayers addressed to Paris. I was also relieved that 40 of my friends were marked as “safe” during the Paris Terror Attacks. Thank you, Facebook. But when are we really safe?