Paris attacks – a French perspective

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Camden Metheny

The Eiffel Tower replica in Disney’s Epcot was illuminated in the colors of the French flag Saturday night. All over the world, countries are showing their support of France’s terror attack victims by lighting their monuments in a similar fashion.

Camden Metheny, Editor

Editor’s Note: Stephanie Pierrel attended BIC as a foreign exchange student and was a 1989 graduate. She agreed to speak with “Hoof Prints” staff about the current situation in France following the devastating terrorist attacks. Pierrel is not a native English speaker. 

Stephanie Pierrel in 1989
Photo provided by Tracey Yates Thompson
Stephanie Pierrel in 1989

Hoof Prints: Where do you live and how close is it to Paris?

Stephanie Pierrel: I live in Selestat that is nearby Strasbourg in the eastern part of France in a region called Alsace. It’s about 550 km from Paris or 345 miles.

A very famous region for the Christmas markets that are going to take place in all cities of Alsace. Lots of people come to visit this region at this time of year because the Christmas markets are so wonderful.

December is very special, it could also be a very good spot for terrorism at this time of the year, especially in Strasbourg.

HP: How frequently do you travel to Paris?

Pierrel: I go to Paris for my work once or twice in a month. I know quite well the place where the human bombs exploded last Friday, and that makes me even more sad and terrified.

I work for a worldwide company called Fromageries BEL, we are selling cheese like “the laughing cow” “minibabybel” “kiri” “apéricubes” etc…

HP: Do you know any of the victims of the attacks?

Pierrel: No, for instance, the events are too recent, we don’t know the names of the victims. But every single victim is important and there have been too many of them anyway.

The people who did this are crazy fanatics, not all the Muslim community is like them. The two issues must not be confused.”

— Stephanie Pierrel

HP: Have you noticed any increased security measures where you live?

Pierrel: My children will have some meetings at school to speak with their teachers of the last events. They ‘re quite shocked, and you can feel some anxiety and fear in the future. In January, we’ve already had the “Charlie Hebdo” assassination attempt, that was frightening and shocking for all the population. We are not used to this kind of violence yet, not at this level of craziness.

The government decided a 3 months state of emergency, our borders are closed with controls of identity, a large deployment of police and army around the most important monuments in big cities will occur in the next days. There will  be identity checking in streets, etc….

It will be quite difficult to move in Paris in the next weeks, but the population needs such demonstration of strength to feel more confident in their everyday life and work.

HP: What is the overall mood in France that you’ve observed since the attacks?

Pierrel: Stupefaction at first, how can such horrors happen in France?

Wrath against those fanatics, sadness for all the victims and their families, people have lightened some candles by their windows yesterday evening, in Paris there has been a meeting in the “république place” people brought some flowers, lots of them were shocked and cried. It was very sad.

People are afraid now, some other are even more racialists and that is terrible for our Democracy, because there will be troubles and hate in the next weeks against people that are victims of these fanatics even if they are Muslims.

HP: What would you like people in the United States to know about what’s happening?

Pierrel: The people who did this are crazy fanatics, not all the Muslim community is like them. The two issues must not be confused.

French people will overcome this terrible event, there is  solidarity and  the government has taken the measures to secure its people.

American tourists can come in France without fear.

And if all the great countries come together to exterminate DAECH, their days are numbered. It’s only a question of willpower.