Home > Opinion, Personal Posts > Liberté, égalité, fraternité. We won’t back down.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité. We won’t back down.

November 14, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

It all started like a normal Saturday morning. Going to the kitchen with sleepy eyes, picking up my cell phone to check messages and discovering not one but two worried tweets, checking on me. Thanks for your messages, Brian and Nino. Not sleepy anymore, I thought “Fuck, what happened again” and rushed to the radio and the website of Le Monde.

And then the horror. Again. To these pieces of shit who think they will make us change our way of life, I say: “We won’t back down”.

I’ll end this sad post with a quote reminding us what religion should be:

And if you would know God, be not therefore a solver of riddles.

Rather look about you and you shall see Him playing with your children.

And look into space; you shall see Him walking in the cloud, outstretching His arms in the lightning and descending in rain.

You shall see Him smiling in flowers, then rising and waving His hands in trees.

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

You won’t see Him put bombs to kill innocent people.


  1. November 14, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Emma, I have thought of you all day. Today, even as we celebrated the launch of our writers’ group anthology, we held a minute’s silence in solidarity with you, and there will be vigils around the country to tell the world that we in Australia stand with you and share the same values. Take care, my friend, and do not let them win by letting it change you.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Lisa. It was a great shock to hear this this morning.
      I’m glad to witness all the messages of solidarity we receive from everywhere.


  2. November 14, 2015 at 9:31 am

    Glad you’re OK, Emma. However, it’s been a depressing night following the news even from way over here. Feel very raw and helpless. This can happen anywhere and seemingly is all too often. Take care.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:18 pm

      Thanks for your message, Richard.

      I was shocked this morning, and it’s a little bit strange to think I was sleeping peacefully and innocently when all this madness was happening. It reminds me of the character in Tomorrow in the Battle, Think on Me by Marias. He was on a business trip in London oblivious that his wife was dead and he thought about these hours he lived, unaware of the catastrophe.


  3. November 14, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I heard just before going to bed last night and immediately checked on a niece of mine who had just left my house to go to Paris on Wednesday. It is horrible, isn’t it? Makes one feel helpless and panicked – which I suppose is exactly the intention.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:21 pm

      You must have been worried for your niece.

      It’s horrifying, these people were just spending a normal Friday night. It’s going to happen again, I’m sure.
      And yes, I feel helpless. The best way to resist seems to NOT change anything about our routine. Otherwise, they win.


  4. November 14, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Good to hear you’re ok Emma, and a very apposite quote. They’re anti-life these people. They have no better world to build, because they have hate and despair but no love or hope. They’re a dead-end with nothing to offer the world but fear and violence. And you’re right, they won’t change France.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:27 pm

      Thanks for your message, Max.
      I wanted to use a quote by a Lebanese writer. We must not forget that on November 12th, a bombing killed 43 persons and made 239 casualties in Beirut.

      It’s hard to oppose reason and humanism to fanatics. But we have to do it anyway.


  5. November 14, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I was preparing a trip to Paris this morning. Planning on going to Le Bataclan – saw a tweet from Brian and thought “What happened?”. What a shock. I’m still trying to get in touch with friends who live in the 10th.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Oh my God, Caroline, that must have been an even bigger shock. Nobody’s going to go to the Bataclan for a while, I’m afraid.

      I’ve seen on Twitter that your friends are safe, I’m glad for them. Take care.

      I have a three days business trip to Paris next week.


      • November 14, 2015 at 6:43 pm

        Be safe too. Yes, I was shocked. It’s a place I’ve such fond memories of and now this.


        • November 14, 2015 at 9:36 pm

          I’ve never been to the Bataclan but I understand how upset you must be.


  6. November 14, 2015 at 10:59 am

    My thoughts are with you and your country.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for your message Arti.


  7. November 14, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    My thoughts are with you also. And no, we will not back down. Europe must stand together and defend the values our societies are based on.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:30 pm

      Thanks for your message.

      And yes, Europe must stand up for their way of life.


  8. November 14, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    So relieved to know you are ok and you have friends watching out for you. France and Uk don’t often see eye to eye but on this occasion we are united.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:31 pm

      Thanks for your message. UK’s prime minister made a supportive speech, that’s great. European countries should stick together.


  9. November 14, 2015 at 5:04 pm

    Glad to know that you are okay, Emma. I just watched the news and was shocked by what I saw. Your wonderful countrymen and women have always been strong and I hope they come out of this stronger. My thoughts are with you and your country.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:34 pm

      Thanks for your message, Vishy.
      The president has decided a three-days national mourning. We’ll probably do a minute’s silence in the office on Monday.
      The best resistance is to stay united and not change our way of life.


  10. November 14, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    Thought about you too Emma. This madness.. it’s a Death cult.


    • November 14, 2015 at 6:35 pm

      Thanks Guy.
      Madness and horror are the words that come to mind.


  11. November 14, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Once again, I am so sorry. I am glad that you and yours are safe. We all need to work to make tis a better world.


    • November 14, 2015 at 9:36 pm

      Thanks for your messages.
      And yes, it’s everybody’s duty to promote culture against ignorance.


  12. November 15, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Best wishes to you, Emma. I can’t begin to imagine what it feels like. Take care.


    • November 15, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks for your message Violet. France gets a lot of support and that’s comforting to see.


  13. November 15, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Thanks Emma (from one who isn’t religious) for that quotation and for giving voice to the resolution to remain unbowed by the barbarous actions of tiny-minded people. Bon courage à vous et à tous.


    • November 15, 2015 at 10:39 pm

      Hi Scott,

      Thanks for your message. I was about to contact you to enquire about your in-laws. I hope everyone is OK.

      I wanted a peaceful quote about religion by a writer from the Middle East. That he’s Lebanese is the icing on the cake.


      • November 17, 2015 at 12:39 am

        Thanks, Emma. A young friend was dining a few dozen meters down from the Bataclan and our neighbor’s niece was also eating out next to a restaurant that was attacked. Both spent a good portion of the night with other clients hiding, terrified in the respective restaurants’ kitchens. They’re quite shaken, but otherwise “OK” – whatever meaning that may have now.

        But as another Paris friend wrote to us, “Nous n’avons pas de proches dans les événements mais dans ces instants-là on ressent le lien universel de façon si évidente…” That was certainly the sentiment yesterday at a gathering of around 1,000 people in San Francisco, many of whom acknowledged Beirut and attacks elsewhere in addition to those in Paris. So dismaying to find oneself two times in ten months at the same place for the same wrenching kind of gathering – yet it gives one strength too, as does this outpouring of kindness and concern we’re seeing all around us. We’ll be in Paris in December – probably won’t get to Lyon, but I’ll keep you posted if plans change.


        • November 17, 2015 at 1:01 am

          That’s awful.

          I agree with your Parisian friend. We’re all very emotional even if we didn’t know anybody who was killed. They were reading messages about people who died in this tragedy on France Info and the journalist’s voice wasn’t as detached and professional as usual. He had a hard time reading this. And it was hard to listen to, too.
          I’m glad to hear there are gatherings elsewhere as we are not allowed to do so here with the “état d’urgence”.

          Romain pointed out tonight that it’s the third time he has a minute’s silence in school because of terrorist attacks. It’s shocking for me. He asked if we were going to a demonstration this time too. *sigh* He should be thinking about video games, friends and his homework, not discussing kamikazes in math class.

          Selfishly, I hope there’ll be a change of plans and that you’ll be able to come to Lyon. We’ll be happy to see you and the city is really worth visiting.


  14. November 16, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    Terrible events. And I see the ripples are still spreading: I believe there were arrests and weapons discovered all across France, including in Lyon.

    It’s valuable to be able to talk so easily to each other and to offer even small expressions of support.


    • November 17, 2015 at 12:24 am

      Terrible indeed and yes, it’s nice to have support. The police and justice are working fast, we already know a lot more about it.

      We had a minute’s silence in the office today.
      The kids had one in school.

      And now I’m in Paris and I’m accidentally staying in a hotel entirely decorated with a rock theme. How apt for this week.


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