Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

The Context of The Parisian Tragedy

Author: Johnny North
Created: 14 November, 2015
Updated: 18 October, 2022
2 min read

Friday evenings in Paris are a spectacular event. The cold professionalism of the work week melts away to create a warm conviviality that tangibly bubbles. People of all ages, of all races, and of all spiritual slants come together to commune and revitalize one another.

This group is delightfully varied. There are yuppies fresh out of Parisian universities heading to their favorite cafe, exchange students with newfound friends from all around the world scouring Yelp for a cool and cheap place to spend their time, there are thousands of tourists, each following the exact same Lonely Planet guide, and there may even be optimistic provincial boys from France’s plush countryside.

All of these people are bound to make their way to the 11th arrondissement to shed the stresses of the workweek or to experience the event that is a Parisian Friday. They have fun drinking wine, cheap beer, and five euro mojitoes. They have long-winded conversations with real live communists and smoke more cigarettes than most good Californian liberals would think possible.

They inevitably dance. They let loose… and furthest from their minds is the cruelty which has spoiled the sanctity of this most precious of weekly holidays.

This is the setting in which many bright lights have been unceremoniously snuffed out because of this horrific tragedy. There are few things more heart breaking than seeing all of the preparation and hard work that go into becoming a young adult be squandered by the cruelty of lunatics.

There is a sense that the perpetrators of this violence knew just what they were attacking; the beautiful, carefree, bright-warm center of society-- its most optimistic part. They targeted this precious core because they knew it would inflict the most damage upon our collective psyches. They weren’t wrong. The magnitude of an event like this rends the social heart.

The surgical chaos of last night’s events will surely be remembered as a catalyzing moment in history. But what form shall this history take? Will we look back and regret that we have debased ourselves once again with the reactionism that most naturally springs from fear? Or will we take pride in the distinctive nobility that sometimes shines in moments of unexpected hardship and tragedy?

We cannot allow reason, good judgement, and optimism be the greatest casualties of the 13th of November. Remember that we forge history each day, and that tomorrow is not a foregone conclusion. As the survivors of this coup, we owe it to ourselves and to our departed to guard the unique warmth inherent in our culture that makes for a good Parisian night.

Photo Credit: Nebojsa Markovic / Shutterstock.com