November 18, 2015

Never could they have imagined!

Over the past four days there has been an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity coming from all parts of the world. The entire globe has caught the French fever it seems. Our family - as did many Parisian and Expat friends - received heartwarming messages and phone calls from loved ones in the Americas, Europe, and Asia all looking for reassurance that we are well. Never have I experienced such a human outreach where people are trying to connect in order to feel reassured and protected. The Paris attacks have hit very close to home for many people. The world seems to be bonding.

Lugano as well as Madrid's city halls are dressed in blue, white and red, the colours of the French national flag are projected onto the Jet d'Eau fountain in Geneva, the tricolours lit up the Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, the Milanese stepped out in force in a demonstration of solidarity on Saturday afternoon. These are all cities that are close to our hearts since we have called them home over the past 20 years. They have all proven their support by lighting their landmarks and showing they share the country’s defiance.

For the first time, I actually shed a tear listening to an emotional and powerful rendition of  La Marseillaise being sung during a friendly football match between England and France. The Wembley stadium had turned into what seemed "Le Stade de France" for an evening. The French anthem has become the ultimate symbol of solidarity, a way for everyone in the world, no matter whether they speak French or not, to express their unity with Paris. 

I bet the Parisian never knew how much the world cares about them! I follow the news on Swiss, US, British and French national channels to better understand the image as well as the message the International media is projecting outside of these National borders. As I let the information sink in, I ask myself: "Did the Parisians ever think the world would reach out to them in such an unconditional, compassionate way?"    

However, this is not about a country it is about humanity. All of a sudden, our daily routine has come to a grinding halt and we have been forced to reflect hard and deep about the freedom we enjoy, to think about the rights and the values we live by. It is time to reclaim these beliefs but it has become a great deal harder as we realize that they are no longer to be taken for granted. The French are the first to defend these rights today with the reassurance that the world is standing right behind them. 

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