I am not the most politically outspoken person, but the events of the past couple of weeks have left me feeling disorientated and anxious. For the first time I have been thinking twice about the efforts I made in settling into the city I so longed to be a part of for many years now.
I could sit here and comment on the mass scare on the day of the bombings, the depression that hit the streets over the weekend and the reality of knowing that this is most likely only the beginning of a long struggle, or I can continue on spreading my admiration for Paris, its long and complex history, and the united solidarity of its people.
Sat crossed legged on a stained white carpet at a house party in the 6éme the Friday night after the bombings, I had the opportunity to speak with a group of Parisian twenty-somethings about their own reflections on the situation. As I listened, each one scrambling to have their voices heard by “the foreigner”, with care and attention they explained Liberté, igalité et fraternité to me, pointing out the motto on the back of a one euro coin as a continual reminder of past struggle and the right for all individuals to express themselves freely and equally, a right which they fear is being infringed upon.
I took these photographs back in Spring, during a visit to Paris before I even planned my move. I found beauty and strength in the messages left by the French in Place de la République after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, but I never felt it was my right to have a say about the horrific incident that shook Paris to its core. As a newly fledged Parisian, I think I finally get it.