Paris: Under Attack


Faye Laufketter

People surround the sites of the attacks with flowers, notes, and candles while mourning those who were lost.

Samantha Zeid, Page Editor

   “[The French] were not [prepared]… But they knew that something was going to happen,” CHS sophomore Antoine Perin said on the recent outbreak in terrorism in France. Perin has spent the majority of his life living in France and was affected by the incidents that took place on Nov. 13.

   This past November, Islamic terrorists stole the feeling of safety and national security, as well as the lives of 130 innocent people, during seven attacks in Paris, France. The targets of the attack included a concert hall, a stadium, as well as restaurants and streets where people were brutally massacred and some held hostage.

   The terrorist attacks have attracted attention across the world and spread awareness that this global incendiary phenomenon is not going away. In the aftermath, it has become evident that anti-western sentiment is spreading and growing faster than ever, spurring numerous acts of terrorism.

   CHS graduate Faye Laufketter has spent the past year and a half in Paris after graduating in 2014. On the day of the attack, Laufketter was five buildings down from one of the seven attack sites.

   In talking about the events, Laufketter said, “The gunmen were on the loose… I was inside the bar, thank God.”

   Laufketter had friends that were locked out of the bar at the time and could not reach a secure place. While those she knew ended up okay, too many others suffered a different fate.

   “I was fortunate, but others… it could’ve been us,” Laufketter said.

   No one was safe.

   “Taxis wouldn’t let anyone in their cars, they closed all the metros and subways, it was complete chaos that night,” Laufketter said.

   The European nations were still on high alert throughout the next day.

   “The next day was very, very sketchy… they didn’t catch everyone that night, nobody knew what the plan was…They specifically said, ‘This is the beginning’, and that’s what kinda scared everybody, that’s why everybody kinda stayed away Saturday… the French, like they said they’re not gonna let the attacks stop them from living their life, but at the same time, I was nervous. My friends were at the soccer game that was almost attacked. I had no idea if they were safe or not,” Laufketter said.

   Fear still remains in Paris.

   “It’s still a little bit there… I think all of Paris really took the weekend to really mourn the loss. Within the next two weeks, everybody was back to their normal routines, I mean not in a disrespectful way… everybody still thinks about it, everyone still brings it up all the time, in the most respectful way I think… People still visit the sites, every single day,” Laufketter said.

   Not only have the citizens been inevitably changed, but so has the city itself.

   “It’s really secure… But that’s the thing, it’s sad that it needs to be that way,” Laufketter said. “The feeling of Paris completely changed because it’s a very free city… but like the coming days after, it was not Paris. Like the vibe of Paris, the people were not themselves and everything… Paris has a major scar now.”

   Laufketter noted how much Paris had come together in the aftermath.

   “Everybody was inviting people into their homes who didn’t really like get to their own place easily,” Laufketter said. “Paris as a whole came together like really really closely afterwards… even the next day they created memorials at all the restaurants and everyone brought flowers.”

   Initially, the attacks garnered the intended effect in Paris.

   “Everything was closed Saturday… [it] was like a really sad, quiet day in Paris; but then Sunday everyone kinda came out, and brought flowers to the sights, and everybody went to all the bars around Paris, and everybody kind of celebrated, came together and just kind of showed their love for one another, and it brought Paris, all the Parisians, close together,” Laufketter said.

   Even with her American status, Laufketter feels solidarity with the French.

   “France always has a place, a really large place, in my heart. But, yes, I mean everybody wanted me to leave … as soon as the attacks ended, and it kind of made me want to stay … after that, I considered Paris as my home. I couldn’t even think about leaving,” Laufketter said.

   Senior Maddie O’Reilly-Brown has French-Canadian grandparents that were also in Paris at the time of the attacks.

   “The city was just very quiet, everything just became still whereas the city is usually bustling… it was eerie and there was… a sort of quiet panic… Everything was shut down for days… like no one was on the street, no one did anything, they were just all hidden inside,” O’Reilly-Brown said in regards to her grandparents’ experience.

   “[My grandparents] absolutely refused to leave after the attacks happened… they are not going to sever their connections with France because of this, because of their fear,” O’Reilly-Brown said.

   O’Reilly-Brown and her family value their connections to France.

   “[We] just feel that fierce pride. We’re gonna protect our French homeland even though we’re not actually from France,” she said.

   Junior Ernest Vanmosuinck moved to Clayton with his family from Brussels, Belgium. As the capital of Belgium, the city harbors many Islamic extremists. According to The Guardian, as many as 350-550 fighters in Syria came from Belgium, the highest number per capita of all the European countries.

   Vanmosuinck lived in Brussels his whole life and still has friends and family in Belgium. He plans to return after this year.

   “In Belgium, the reaction was to put the state in a state of Emergency, and everybody was afraid, all the shops were closed and schools were closed, too. It’s [like playing] into the game of the terrorism,” Vanmosuinck said. “We have to fight the terrorism with our happiness.”

   However, Vanmosuinck is not oblivious to the fear factor.

   “[France] is near to Belgium, so we may be next,” he said.

   Sophomore Quentin Shor Perrier is a French native and was emotionally affected by the attacks. Shor Perrier was born in France before moving to the United States but, given that he still has family and friends in Lyon, he is fearful for their safety.

   “I mean, who knows how many more of these terrorists are out there, like you never know what could happen, like there could be someone in Lyon right now, you know?” Shor Perrier said. “I’m glad I live here, feeling safe and not having what is going on there happen to me, but at the same time I wanna be close to my family there and be there for them.”