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Nous Sommes Unis: We Are United with Paris

Here are the facts as we know them:

On Friday, November 13th 2015, the city of Paris was hit by six distinct terrorist attacks. Two of the attacks were carried out at La Bataclan concert hall and the country’s national sports stadium Stade de France, and the other four were street shootings occurring near or in a restaurant. Both suicide bombers and gunmen were used to carry out this plan, masterminded and claimed by ISIS. 

After many fluctuations, the death toll now stands at 136 people (129 victims; 7 perpetrators). An estimated 100 hostages were taken at the Bataclan and were later released, many of them reportedly wounded. The French authorities are continuing to track down and neutralize related threats.

Late Friday evening, French president Francois Hollandes declared a state of emergency, that the French borders would be severely restricted for the foreseeable future, and a three day period of mourning. The city, as a sign of bereavement, turned out all its light. The City of Lights was thrust into darkness.

France has not had a good year. January began with the attacks on Charlie Hebdo – the slaying of journalists that united the world under the slogans “Je suis Charlie” and “We are not afraid.”

The summer consisted of more isolated attacks on French citizens. For many, this latest act of terrorism harkens back to Charlie Hebdo. Others directly relate these attacks to 9/11 due to the casualties and the level of carnage. 

But when France turned out their lights, the world lit them back up. The tricolor of the French flag was seen on monuments all across the globe. From the Freedom Towers in New York City and Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janero, to the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the Berlin Gate. All sported vibrant blue, white, and red.

Social media lit up in the days after the attack with messages of solidarity, sympathy, love and strength. Users tagged their carefully worded wishes with “Je suis Paris” and “Nous Sommes Unis,” which means “We Are United” in French. The sentiment “Tonight we are all French” went viral as well – a similar sentiment to what the French expressed following the September 11th attacks: “Today we are all American.”

The Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, in the process of being lit in the tricolor. 11/17/2015

The University of Pittsburgh and its students are no different. Our beloved Cathedral of Learning, as of Tuesday night, is also sporting the tricolor in place of victory lights. A candlelight vigil was held on the lawn in front of the Heinz Chapel on Monday night. It featured two speakers – an Imam from the Pittsburgh Muslim community, and Jean Dominique, a representative from the French consulate – as well as a performance by Pittch Please, an all-male acapella group on campus

Students gather in the sight of Heinz Chapel for a candlelight vigil honoring those lost in the Paris attacks. 11/16/2015

In echoing the example set by the University, our peers, the members of Her Campus Pitt, would like to offer condolences to the people of France, as well as our hope that a better world may be created from this very dark moment in history.

“I think the events in Paris, as awful as they were, remind us of the importance of support. With so many different horrific events happening on one day, there was some backlash on which events got more publicity. I think we need to remember that care is not limited. Love is not limited. Help [is] not limited. We can and have shared support for every group that suffered that day and many days before.” – Maggie Brooks, HC Pitt member

Source Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4

Photo Credits: 1 (the author), 2, 3 & 4 (the author)

A senior English Writing major at Pitt, one of the senior editors here at HC Pitt. The resident maker, news junkie, and history nerd, I can hem your pants and tutor you in the American Civil War, no problem!
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