It was a Friday night like any other, even if it was a Friday the 13th. Families crowded together, home after a busy week. Music fans attended concerts, football fans games in large stadiums. Bread was broken in restaurants. Normal things that people derive enjoyment from on a regular weekend. Me, I was drafting a blog post about a craft fair which I visited today, until my Twitter feed lit up with news of a shooting in Paris.
The situation progressed quickly. News of another shooting, of explosions, of multiple sites of terror being created and people being injured, killed, traumatised by goings on. Numerous news websites, all saying different things, images of devastation, of bodies being covered by cloth filling our screens. Mixed messages from analysts, unsure of what exactly was going on, but knowing that tonight in Paris, terrible things were happening.
Sitting eating dinner with himself in a cherished childfree night, we watched as the story progressed on Sky News. Footage of a football stadium where you could hear loud explosions going on in the background were played over and over. We spoke in what ifs and questioning tones; though it was assumed by the majority of commentators from an early stage who the perpetrators of this damage were, the reality of the world we live in means that we can never be sure what masks danger lies behind.
Twitter kept us updated quicker than any news station, however it also provided a slew of unverified information and commentary without basis. Reports of borders being closed were met by fear, agreement, and in some cases, horrific racism toward the refugee population of Europe who some have taken to blaming for this atrocity. Some politicians used this moment to put forward their political agenda. Twitter shot them down. And then, word that a siege of more than 100 people in a nightclub had come to an end, with 100 dead and more injured. The news stunned the world. I remained glued to the footage, to my ever evolving twitter feed, praying that this was the end of it, there was to be no more hurt and suffering and fear tonight. This was too much, this needed to be the end of it.
My heart ached, and continues to ache, for the people of Paris, the people of France, their friends and relatives and those who continue to worry about the safety of their loved ones. Tonight the hugs were tighter and longer and minutes together appreciated more – we really do not know how lucky we have it until we see horrific scenes like this unfolding before our eyes. They were just ordinary people going about their Friday nights; doing things that I’ve often done with friends, unknowing that this would be a night that they would never forget.
In the days ahead there will be analysis, talk of the hows, wheres, and whys, and the where we go from heres. For now though, it is love that we send to Paris, to France, and all who are affected by these horrific scenes which we’ve witnessed. Hug your loved ones close, be safe, and try to fill the world around you with as much love as you possibly can – the world around us is becoming scarier by the day, we cannot let those who wish to frighten us with their actions continue to win.