Sunday, November 15, 2015

Terror and Death In Paris

Imagine sitting at an outdoor cafe in Paris when terrorists in suicide vests and carrying guns open fire ON YOU.
I am horrified at the assault on Paris. At the same time, I am remembering with great pleasure my 2012 trip to Paris with Aggie Eyster. We wandered the city for two weeks, sat in those outdoor cafe chairs, lingered over salads and coffee, thoroughly enjoying ourselves.
And that does seem the point of these Friday night massacres. Kill people enjoying themselves at a cafe, a concert or a soccer game.
The attacks in Paris brings it all so close, doesn't it? Makes me remember that the same thing has been happening to civilians in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan for a very long time. I am thinking anew about the people who live (or die) with suicide bombers and cafe shootings in the very countries that have spawned this horror. The terrorists kill at home and abroad. Weep for the French. Weep for people the world over.

After I saw a NYT map with the locations of the terrorist attacks, I saw that most of the attacks were near Pere Lachaise Cemetery where Aggie and I wandered for hours. I loved the ceramic flower wreaths that lay on so many of the graves. Of course, I photographed these floral remembrances, many of which were infiltrated with tiny green succulents. One of the photos ended up in a collage.
A paragraph from a NYT article titled 'Somber and Subdued', "Traffic was slow and shoppers at the Marche Saint-Pierre were scarce, nothing like the usual Saturday crowds that come looking for discounts, mingling with the tourists heading up the hill to the Basilica of Sacre-Coeur.
"It feels as though everything has come to a halt," said a sales clerk at another fabric store. "Look, it's empty today. We would have stayed home if our boss would have let us, out of respect for those who died."
I unwrapped another collage I made after our stay in Paris. This one has a long-ago photo of Mrs. Gladys Teer visiting the Eiffel Tower, she who designed and built the house in which I live. There is a photo I took of two Asian girls in the Tuileries, photographing one another with abandon. There are strips of Aggie fabric. And there are flowered scraps from yardage I purchased in a shop on that street of fabric shops near Sacre-Coeur. Aggie and I shared happy days in Paris.
In my mind, I can see these Parisian streets. I remember the fabric shops and the long climb up to Sacre-Coeur. I am horrified that a handful of coordinated suicide bombers with guns can upend the lives of so many who were enjoying a Friday evening out on the town.

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