I Am Still Charlie

The terrorist attack in Paris hit hard and fast, and before we knew it, it was over. Well, not really. Until the suspects were caught, it was a harrowing few days. Everyone was fearful of what would happen simply walking down the street. That’s the intent of terrorism—to make you feel afraid all of the time. To live in terror.

Then the nation rallied together the following weekend, marching in cities throughout France. Millions carried “Je Suis Charlie” signs, showing support for those who had been killed. Support for free speech. Support for the government who now has to figure out how respond.

But… that was a few weeks ago. What are we supposed to do now? When do we take down our “Je Suis Charlie” signs and stop tweeting with the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag? When do we start trying to forget about this tragedy and move on?

The answer: We don’t. Sure, we should try to move on. We can’t live in fear everyday, because that’s letting them win. But we can’t ever forget. We remember what we were doing when it happened (I was cooking hot dogs, of all things). We remember how we felt, how we feared for the people in danger, how we worried for our own safety.

Even if I wanted to forget, I couldn’t. Just the other day, two military vehicles parked in front of my house and unloaded troops and gear. There’s a Jewish elementary school on my street, which is now guarded round-the-clock by these brave souls. Guarded, because of the threat of terrorism. Some person with different beliefs, someone who feels strongly about those beliefs, might use this school as a way to make those beliefs known. Might take these poor children hostage, or worse.

I can’t forget because as I look out the window of my Parisian apartment, amongst the elderly women walking their dogs (and hoping I didn’t notice they didn’t scoop the poop) and people getting their daily baguette, I also see parents walking their children to school, hoping and praying that their child, their school, won’t be the victim of a terrorist attack that day.

I see military vehicles a stone’s throw from my window, there to serve and protect. But also to remind us that the threat of terrorism is ever-present.

Hopefully the worst of it is over. But I will still support the right to freedom of speech and will honor those who died in the terrorists attacks in Paris in January.

I Am Still Charlie.

Vicki Lesage proves daily that raising two French kids isn’t as easy as the hype lets on. In her three minutes of spare time per week, she writes, sips bubbly, and prepares for the impending zombie apocalypse. She lives in Paris with her French husband, rambunctious son, and charming daughter, all of whom mercifully don’t laugh when she says “au revoir.” She penned two books, Confessions of a Paris Party Girl and Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer, in between diaper changes and wine refills. She writes about the ups and downs of life in Paris at VickiLesage.com.