I’m saddened, if not surprised, to hear that Parisians are starting to feel afraid of daily life after the terror attacks. I recognise those bargaining symptoms myself, though. It’s strange how everyone deals so differently and independently with fear. I think I could feel quite safe wandering around Paris right now, though I wouldn’t be able to force myself on a plane to get there. In the wake of the attack, it was astounding to watch some on my Facebook feed morph quickly into the ‘grab your kids, head for the shelter, and push the button’ mentality. Fewer seemed to adopt what I think of as the Paris philosophy – keep living, and keep loving. It’s all we can do.
SINCE the attacks two weeks ago, I’ve been avoiding supermarkets — which seem like potential targets — and doing most of my shopping at a minimarket. The cashier there, a young man from Mali, keeps telling me not to be afraid.
“They’re not going to make me change my life,” he said of the attackers. “I’ll go wherever I want.”
I’ve been getting this lecture all the time. “You cannot be afraid, Madame,” said the lady who runs one of my daughter’s extracurricular activities, when we didn’t show up soon after the attacks.
In Paris these days, it’s not chic to admit that you’re terrified. Almost immediately after the shootings, signs and hashtags appeared saying “même pas peur” — a kind of playground chant meaning “you don’t scare me.”