Since Friday the 13th

Friday the 13th, 2015

Unwinding after a full week, phone rings, it’s my daughter in New York, distraught, asking if we’re OK. “Yes, why, what’s happening?” She tells us about the shooting taking place 15 minutes from our building, where we often go for drinks or meals with friends. I turn on the TV and stay up all night watching the news…

Emails pour in, asking if we are safe. Here is a compilation of my answers..

Saturday November 14th, 2015

Thank you again for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers, as we do you.

Emotionally exhausted, didn’t sleep much last night. Making comfort food (boeuf bourguignon), staring at Facebook messages from around the world…going to take some time to meditate now, try to stay focused…

Love, xxx, Aliss

Sunday November 15, 2015

Thank you for asking! Friday night all I could imagine was worst-case scenarios (won’t describe). An advantage of having to be strong for the younger ones is you have to keep going, no matter what. I was a mess yesterday, exhausted and sad, but tried to stay busy. I woke up thinking about all the karma around this event and had no idea where anyone could begin unraveling and healing it (ex: US, Russia, China, France all sending weapons to Middle East, France former colonial occupier of North Africa, religious wars going back to the beginning of time…)

…all I can think of is try to elevate my thoughts and ask for grace.

I don’t understand why the government has waited this long to close the borders. We’ve known there would be an attack since January.

Have to take the metro tomorrow morning at rush hour, not looking forward to it. Have to remind myself we have been in this situation of red alerts several times and I’ve always found my way through.

There will be a national moment of silence tomorrow at 12 noon our time if you are up and want to join in.

To be continued, xxxx

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

Hi, thanks for keeping in touch and thinking of me yesterday. I got to my appointment and back safely and was arriving near my station just in time for the moment of silence. There was an announcement in several languages about honoring the victims and then all public transportation, buses, metros, trams, came to a halt. It was eerie and very moving. I was glad to be connected to so many people in schools, hospitals, companies, offices, all focused on the same thing.

Ivan’s school had a special program for the kids all day today. He doesn’t seem too upset. His father and I have been talking with him since Saturday. Some of the other kids have relatives who were killed or wounded.

One of our friends was at the concert and escaped unharmed. We’re seeing him next week and will find out more. Everyone is still taking head-counts among friends and acquaintances, sharing stories about people saving or caring for others. There’s a weird mixture of shock and defiance in the atmosphere, fewer people everywhere, but everyone trying to go about their business.

There is fear about Christmas, but some shops are putting up their decorations and lights, which like the Marseillaise, have taken on new meaning for me.

Jewish and Muslim religious leaders gathered in front of the concert venue yesterday and sang the French anthem together.

French commentators are analyzing radical Islamic recruiting techniques aimed at young video game players. Their propaganda videos look like something out of Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty. Ivan came home talking about how kids he knows and the gunmen, too, probably, don’t know it’s not all a game. He said,  “Let’s not watch anything violent for a week, Ok?” I’m gratified that he finally gets why I don’t let him play war games on the computer or watch violence on TV. The discussions here and at school have helped him understand these issues in a new way.

Looking at the front pages of US newspapers, I saw there have been 300 homicides just in Baltimore so far this year and that gruesome fact, plus the constant mass shootings in the US, somehow shifted my perspective. We all have to be very conscious and aware right now, develop a safety GPS.

A friend from Ohio, married to an Egyptian and now living in Dubai, where she home schools her four kids and has a window on the Muslim world, said we should use the word Daesh (meaning “group of old bigots imposing their will”) instead of ISIS, which legitimizes them.

…. To be continued, xxxx, Aliss



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