Last night’s barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris, their deadliest attack since the second world war, remind us that we can, and must, go on.
It was an attack on Paris’ culture. On a Friday night in a trendy area. People enjoying music. A pizza. A drink. Like any of us, after a hard week at work.
It is, yet again, a deliberate reminder to all of us that terrorists do not discriminate. A concert. A restaurant. The beach. The message from terrorists is this. ‘There is no place you are safe.’
We went to Turkey in August, for our summer holiday. A few weeks after local bombings. A few weeks after Tunisia. Our lovely resort, which is always full, was down on bookings by 20%. Holidaymakers had panicked and cancelled. Whilst others had decided to take the opportunity to get last minute bookings at a reduced price. Tourism is Turkey’s economy. Their livelihood. The Turkish people work ridiculously hard for eight months of the year and catch up on sleep during the winter. They cannot afford for fear to reign. So they did what they could to make us feel safe. They surrounded our resort with armed guards. To protect their guests. Their income. Despite the reality that, deep down, every guest knew. If someone really wanted to attack, they would come by boat, as they did in Tunisia.
But, strangely, it never once occurred to me not to go. Even though, pre-kids, I once wanted to leave a Britney Spears concert because I was worried I was sitting next to a terrorist.
And this is the irony of the progression of terrorism. The more they strike, the more we simply have no choice but to somehow find it in us to keep calm and carry on. Because if there is no place that we are safe, then surely there is no place that we should not go?
So, once again, we must stand strong. Against terrorism. Against the loss of innocent lives. Whether this be Paris. New York. London. Or Syria.
We must support those who today can’t support themselves. We must mourn the loss of life. We must be there in whatever capacity we can for those whose lives have been lost or changed forever by this latest terrorist attack on Paris, just 10 short months after the last.
We must look to the courage and determination of all those countries that have rebuilt their cities and lives after horrific terrorist attacks. 9/11, Madrid and 7/7 to name but a few. To remember that those left behind can, and will, go on. In memory of those who can’t.
So, today, Paris, the city of love, you are in our hearts.
Because, no matter what happens, we’ll always have you Paris.