Just been watching the online France 24 coverage from Paris. Which is all the more chilling because I know the affected area quite well. Angie and I spent a very happy month renting a little apartment off Rue De Charonne during May and June this year. We had the pleasure of breakfasting at La Belle Equipe, one terrorist target, one sunny Sunday in June. Often walking Boulevard Voltaire, passing through Place de la Bastille, Ile de France almost daily. Despite the Gendarmerie armed with automatic rifles guarding every major intersection, we never once felt threatened or nervous, no matter the time of day or night.
So why did the gunmen pick the 10th and 11th Arondissements to paint with murder? I can only guess. What I do know is that those particular streets have a reputation of being ‘Hipster’ areas. Graffiti lined streets thronged with young urban professionals in their 20’s and early 30’s, gossiping, arguing and flirting amongst themselves until the early hours. All contributing to the recent gentrification, stylishly contrasting with traditionally garbed African Immigrants from the old French colonies.
Are the terrorists so unsophisticated that they think murdering people wholesale on the streets will cause a backlash against the newer immigrants and so send their co-religionists flocking to the terrorists cause en masse? No. Didn’t happen over the Charlie Hebdo massacre and won’t happen now.
I can only hope that none of the people who were so helpful and hospitable to us during our month long stay were hit in these atrocities and would like to offer the following message of solidarity and sympathy;
Courage mes braves. Ajourd’hui, nous sommes tout Parisien.