I remember that moment of shock. The text band telling us ‘shootings and explosions in Paris, further information 23.07.’ I looked at it and felt thrown back to january, to the attack of Charlie Hebdo and the fear we had back then. The fear that this terror could return, that it could spread throughout Europe.
I went to the Telegraphs webpage and told my parents. ‘Refugees or citizen?’
The question of my father hit me literally like a bullet. At that time the first death tolls from the french press came in and I felt anything but not the necessity to tell part which kind of people did this.
‘it DOESN’T MATTER!’
He looked at me like I was totally naïve.
‘Why would it matter? They might be French, Asian, Syrian or whatever else. They are evil and cruel and that is what matters. Don’t be such a racist!’
He looked at me with even more amusement and told me that this was, what my fucking ‘willkommenskultur’ does. I won’t believe it. The people coming from that country as refugees are fleeing from this kind of terror. It can’t be that they are leading the attacks. I don’t want to believe it.
I was speechless after the first live footage from BBC and the Telegraph came in. I watched it between pure shock, disgust and horror. This is not real. This can’t be real. it just can’t be. The ‘heute’ website was unavailable after a few moments, while all the other sites were online and giving information. I read some news aloud to give information to my family – which didn’t even care about all of this. They didn’t care. My father just googled once to correct me. Because that’s what things are really about. When I say that it’s 500 meters from Charlie Hebdo and it are literally 550. That’s what matters.
I don’t know why but I went onto my Instagram account. Nobody seemed to know. Maybe because the attacks started just a few moments ago but well… It can’t be – maybe they have relatives? Maybe they know someone there? I posted a black picture and gave some information.
15 dead. 20. 40. By the time the news flickered through the TV screen they corrected their numbers to 60.
Hostages have been taken, explosions at the football stadium, shots, terror and fear.
I watched the news in pure anger. This can’t be real.
The German officials had some reporter back in Paris, telling them that they don’t have live footage, that they don’t know yet – they told us about 40 dead and some injured. The BBC corrected to about 80, CNN told us about similar numbers.
‘We are sorry to announce that there is no video footage available yet.’
And why am I watching some via CNN for about 15 minutes? Why is everyone better informed than the statern TV in Germany?
I wrote a text message to Carlotta.
‘Do you know about paris yet?’
She is in Chile (Los Angeles) at the moment and many of her friends travel the world and might be in Paris as well.
‘The explosions near the stadium? My mum told me…’
‘there are bombs at the stadium, shootings all over Paris and hostages in Bataclan theatre, shots at the place de republique…’
As she was with a friend and had no mobile network connection I informed her further – my phone updated the website every few seconds. I got a picture from somewhere.
‘They are slaughtering us one by one.’ this is hell. This can’t be real. They can’t just go through that theatre and kill innocent people. They just can’t.
At this moment I informed already three friends about the events in Paris. I was gathering information like a maniac and didn’t even know why. I think because that makes stuff easier. because knowing the details means leaving less space for speculations, for fear and for the unknown.
the situation grew worse and worse. Reports telling that they stormed the Bataclan theatre and landed in hell. That they threw grenades into the masses and everything was pooled with blood. The numbers of death exploded. There were injured. Wounded.
I stayed up till it was early again. Around 00.30 the speech of president Obama came in and the only thing on my mind was ‘this means war. All of this.’ And I was somehow fascinated that the first thing was not asking if there is help needed but making conference calls to think about the US security situation… Soldiers at the times square. Soldiers in Paris. Shots in paris. More shots.
‘we are shocked and the rest of this world is wondering whether to feel shocked or not because we are all so used to it…’
I think that is what it was like. Suddenly everyone in my contact list had the ‘je suis paris’ picture on their Whatsapp profile and i was like who the hell had the time to make this? Who did care more about giving the people something to share than about the thing itself?
The quote above happened to be on my Instagram feed. I checked it every few moments to know whether some of my friends have relatives, information or search for someone. Maybe because doing something gives the stress some kind of outlet. Maybe because knowledge is power… Whatever it was, it helped. I sent some news to my friends, the Telegraph and the BBC offered more information than any German media webpage…
‘the person organizing this is a cruel genius.’
and she was right. it was organized, It had to be organized. I fear leaving for Berlin next week because where is the difference between Paris and Berlin?
Somewhere around 01.30 i felt terrible. I couldn’t stand this anymore. I went to sleep because – I couldn’t stand this, all this horror, the death, the cruelty… The last thing I saw was the updated death toll. At least 100.
I woke up to the final death toll. 128 dead. 99 critically injured.
Francois Hollande delivered his speech. And again the only thing in my mind: This is war. He wants war, they want blood and death. They brought us terror. If the right wing parties now gain might that was it. The discussions on mosques and Islam will bring further terror- because it gives them a reason. Anyways – we will have war. A huge one.
If Hollande states further, that this was an act of war we have the ‘Verteidigungsfall.’ The European states have to stand united and have to join the conflict to back up their ally. And the US wants war anyways. I remember texting with someone who told me the only cure for this ‘disease’ would be killing all this ‘goatfucking idiots’ and colonizing the country, He was an US citizen and I was that shocked I couldn’t even argue the right way…
And all of this. all this, together with the terminal at Gatwick and the other things make me cringe. they leave me with some empty feeling – wondering whether I will visit the french embassy next week in Berlin of I’d just leave it, wondering if I’d attend that crowded places I used to walk around at… All of this leaves me in shock and terror and fear and I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all.
Stay strong, stay proud and be who you are!