As long as I can remember, Paris has always been known as the city of love. Thanks to wonderful romantic movies such as Forget Paris (starring Billy Crystal), Chocolat (starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche) and Midnight in Paris (starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams), Hollywood has encouraged men and women around the world to visit the city’s history and splendour. Through cinema, many of us who have not had the chance to visit this beautiful city have been able to absorb the splendour of The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the gothic Notre Dame Cathedral on the big screen. But today my heart goes out to those in Paris. Instead of watching scenes of intimacy or endearment on my television screen, I have watched a country hurt by evil and hatred.
Also known as The City of Lights, today the capital of France was looked upon as a broken heart in despair. Those cobblestoned paths and roadways of Paris that should be shouldering the footsteps of lovers on their way to an intimate dinner, or families on their way to a galleria, are lined with armed police and scared citizens. The Bataclan Theatre, known for it’s Chinese architecture has become the scene of a horrendous mass shooting that had so far taken the lives of 100 people. Men and women were simply enjoying a concert, until the world’s most pathetic people took their lives away. The Stade de France, the country’s national stadium and home to the nations football and rugby teams was the scene of explosions and chaos. Several restaurants across the city are now crime scenes and the deceased and wounded transferred to hospital.
As I type this it is 9.15pm in Melbourne, 5.15am in New York, and 11.15am in Paris, a country that has been declared a state of emergency. A country that was still coming to grips with the attacks that occurred back in January, when Islamist gunmen murdered 18 people after attacking magazine Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman on patrol. As my day winds down, the people of France are enduring a new day, the people told not to leave their homes. About 1,500 military personnel have been deployed across the city and schools, businesses and tourist destinations closed temporarily.
Tonight Australia is sending a message to the people of France…that you are not alone. Sydney’s famous Opera House is among a range of iconic landmarks that have been light up in blue, red and white as Australians show their support for those in Paris rocked by these horrendous attacks. Tonight I light a candle, for those lives that have been taken away, and for those that are spending another day wondering when these atrocities will end. Tonight I also say a prayer, that all this evil will stop and that we can all live in a world were peace and prosperity reigns.
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