“Where were you when 9/11 happened?”
What happened on the 13th of November 2015 will forever be a moment where everyone will remember exactly where they were and what they were doing.
On September 11th 2001, before I left for school my mum said to me, “Karoliina, there may be a lot of teachers crying at school today. Especially the American teachers”. And off I went.
On November the 13th 2015, the terrible week I had had was very quickly completely and utterly insignificant. I immediately text one of my best friends who is from Paris asking her “Jesus Christ, what has happened in Paris?”
That evening from 9pm until 2am, I sat and watched BBC. I constantly checked my phone. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Twitter. Facebook. Had everyone I knew in Paris safety checked themselves? Did anyone I know know anyone who was hurt? Had my best friend found her family members and friends?
Retweet. Retweet. Share. Share. Retweet. And so my night went, looking from my phone to the TV and back, my heart breaking as I listened and watched the events of the night unfold.
The hardest thing about when something like this happens is that there is no way to understand it. There is no way a normal human being can grasp what has occurred because the acts carried out by these increasingly crazy few don’t make any sense. 3 days later, and the world still doesn’t know how to react. Anger. Sadness. Shock. Rage.
And so these emotions go. There is no closure because you cannot ever understand why and there is no burying your head in the sand because it is everywhere.
On Sunday night after arriving back in London, I went straight to Trafalgar Square. I had to see that there were still people who cared. The fountains where lit up in the tricolore. There were candles, and messages of support, and flowers.
The atmosphere was somber, almost like being at a funeral in a church. Very few people spoke, and many stood just looking at the tributes to the fallen. Trying to comprehend this tragedy that has no reason.
The world lit up their monuments in solidarity with France.
These pictures all taken on an iPhone, were not taken for the reason the rest of my pictures are. I took these because I want to show those that cannot be in London, or those that have loved ones who were taken from them on Friday, that the world stands with you.
Hate cannot win. And hate will not win. Over the weekend there were over 115,200 people murdered in several different countries. No event is less painful than the other. Any innocent person killed ‘just because’ is heartbreaking. But what happened in Paris has shocked me the most.
It’s wrong, I am aware. To be less outraged by a bomb in Beirut, than a bomb in Paris. It’s wrong. But the media and our own passiveness in allowing the media to influence so heavily how we think and how we act, means that for most of the world what happened in Paris will hit closer to home.
But I am sad for all places. I am heartbroken that the “solution” to the problem is to attack Syria with bombs inscribed with “from Paris with love”. That a powerful and respected world president calls a whole country “the world’s biggest terrorist factory”.
I am sad for all the people that will use this as fuel to hate more. Those that now hate all Muslims. Those that think we should close our borders. Those that think refugees are all terrorists.
I am sad for the world. I despair.