Paris: "At No Point Have We Felt Alone"
Jake Annett is 22 years old, and has lived in Paris for more than three years. This is his account of the events of the last weekend.
"The main thing about Friday night is that it was truly terrifying.
As someone who regularly goes out in the areas hit by the attacks, it could so easily have been me, or any one of my friends.
The 10th and 11th arrondissements are the areas that people of my age are most used to going out and socialising in – they’re always full of crowds eating, drinking and laughing whilst they wind down from work.
There’s one image that will always stay with me from the last few days – the people sat outside the bars and restaurants who found themselves directly in the line of fire with no chance of cover or escape. I’ve sat at tables like these countless times, and never imagined anything like the events of Friday night could happen.Over the last few days I’ve found myself discussing what happened this weekend with friends, and comparing it with the Charlie Hebdo shootings in January. We realised that we all think of these two attacks very differently – whereas the Charlie Hebdo offices were quite clearly targeted, the events of Friday were frightening due to the fact that they had no real target, except hurting as many as possible.
The shock still feels very raw. There’s a real feeling of uncertainty and panic across the city. We are all united by the same awful situation, but I can’t help noticing how this has led to a sense of solidarity throughout the people here.
It’s so surreal to watch video clips from the weekend on the news – these are images I’m more used to associating with stories from war-torn areas of the world. I had to remind myself that what I was seeing on the screen was what I was involved in only a couple of hours earlier.
The overwhelming support from around the world, especially on social media, has not gone unnoticed here in Paris. It feels a little bit like Paris is the centre of a storm, but at no point have we felt alone.Seeing people congregating in support across the globe is more uplifting than I ever expected. I have seen the Eiffel Tower peace symbol chalked on pavements and walls, and it is these little messages that are really representative of the feeling of defiance in the city right now.
In spite of the horrific events of Friday night, I, and many others here in Paris, enjoyed a drink sitting out in the street this weekend – we will not be forced to change our way of life at all."
- by Jake Annett