Whoever has walked the broad Parisian boulevards or the bridges over the Seine at night, the time when youngsters play music and flirt on its banks, knows that the city is synonymous with love and life.
Every stereotype fades away next to this eternal hymn to the senses: African music and chanson; the smells of baguette and falafel; the beautiful architecture of Georges-Eugène Haussmann and Zaha Hadid; the Musée d'Orsay, the Louvre and the Musée du quai Branly; and the wonderful improvised fashions on the street, which become catwalks of true beauty and moving youthfulness.
All this was in the sights of the terrorists. But this isn’t something that affects just the residents of Paris, it has to do with all of us. At least, all of us who believe that Paris is our tangible Utopia, which we can all experience if but for a few hours as tourists. Paris is our “Oktana,” the universal city that Greek poet Andreas Embirikos described as being balanced delicately between heaven and earth.
We have suffered a great shock and, while Paris is still mourning its dead, it is probably best that we avoid analysis about what this attack means and what consequences it will have for the sense of fear in Europe, encouragement for the Islamic State, the bolstering of security measures everywhere, the curtailing of freedoms, the burgeoning of Islamophobia, the development of the refugee crisis and the rise of the far right.
What is most important now is supporting our friends who live in Paris, who at this moment are feeling terrorised, and the protection of a city that is a symbol of a specific way of life, our way of life.