‘We are not afraid’
2015-12-01 15:38:55 -
World News

Three young French women living in Dublin share their reactions to the Paris attacks with Margot Garnier



Around 10pm on Friday 13 November, Lucille, Anaïs and Juliette’s phones rang. Through the news, the young French women understood instantly what was going on. And from Dublin, where they are variously studying and working, they followed along during the hours of the attacks in Paris, hoping that their loved ones were safe.


“I was really scared for my relatives and I called my family and my friends to be sure that they were safe,” says Lucille, who has a friend who lives close to the site of the restarant and café attacks in the 10th arrondissement that killed 39 people.


Juliette, meanwhile, hoped that her family decided not to go out that night. “We never know what can happen,” she says. “They could have been in the wrong place at the wrong moment.”


Glued to her laptop screen, Anaïs remembers following the development of the events until late in the night, fearing for her friends.


“While I was reading, tears came to my eyes,” she recalls. “I felt powerless. I wished I was in France and I felt far away. I rushed to my phone to call all my friends living in Paris and asked them if they were safe.”


The three young women had plans for the weekend in their adopted city, yet plans naturally changed. Too shocked to go out, Lucille canceled on the party she was planning to attend. But for Juliette, her desire to be with other French people in the wake of this tragedy was more powerful. The morning after the attacks, she contacted the French Embassy in Dublin to propose a gathering to commemorate the victims.


“The next day, on Saturday, I organised a solidarity march to honour the memory of the victims of the attacks,” she says. “It is important to be all together and to know that we can count on each other.


“This march allowed us to meet in order to say that we support France against this barbarity and that we are not afraid.”


From the Spire on O’Connell Street to Leinster House, around 6,000 people – mostly from the French community in the capital – joined Juliette in silence. At the end of the march, they sang in unison the French national anthem La Marseillaise.


Weeks later, these young women have another concern – that their compatriots back home will succumb to paranoia over different cultural communities, and they fear for how Muslims in France might be stigmatised.


“I hope with all my heart that people will be smarter and do the opposite than what the terrorists want us to do,” says Anaïs. “We shouldn’t be mistaking our enemy.”

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