By French journalist and former Hong Kong resident Francois-Xavier Pasquier

On my way home, a road was blocked. I went to a policeman asking why:

“We’re under attack. There has been shootings in Paris and explosions near the Stade de France. The president has been evacuated.”

So I opened my Twitter feed and here it is. The atrocious news that I still do not want to face is unravelling slowly.

I’m on the verge of crying. I am in shock, and I still don’t understand. People were enjoying a Friday evening that they probably deserved and, just like that, for terror is absurd, their lives ended.

We still don’t know who is responsible for these atrocious acts, and whatever comes instinctively to our minds, nothing, absolutely nothing can justify these acts. Not any idea, not any God, nor any political game can justify the murder of innocents. We are one humanity and, if there is one, created as equals by the same God, and so we must stand.

People are evacuated on Boulevard des Filles du Calvaire near the Bataclan concert hall in central Paris, early on November 14, 2015. Photo: AFP/Miguel Medina.

Sens Critique Vs Fear

I deeply love my country. I especially love the way we are educated, so as to acquire a comprehensive thinking mindset that we call sens critique.Whatever our background and family appartenances, we are supposed to have a personal opinion. So I keep on learning, reading, I expose myself to other cultures, history, and literature as I’ve been taught to do. And often my opinion swings, and my beliefs are shaken by a new piece of understanding.

These acts of terror, are a challenge to our very sens critique. And now I’m afraid that we won’t be up to it. I urge every of my fellow French citizen, and really, every man on earth to adopt this sens critique.

Now I’m afraid

I’m afraid of an even tighter grip on individual freedom for the sake of an illusion of safety that can’t be guaranteed anyway. I’m afraid of a surge of fear and violence against foreigners, when generations of them made what France is now. I’m afraid of the political forces that grow on those fears. I’m afraid for our armed forces that are already almost fully deployed in Africa and Syria. I’m afraid for my neighbors, my friends and my family that could get murdered at anytime.

Most of all, I’m afraid that if we all lose this sens critique we will just fall into the same fanaticism that led to the death of innocents.

I plead you, whomever you might be, who let anger destroy your humanity, to listen to this inner voice that says that you could learn a bit more, that no belief nor opinion is certain, and certainly never certain enough to justify atrocious acts, or even small ones leading to the escalation of violence.

And if logic doesn’t reach you, look at my eyes, and see that no matter how much anger has been put into your heart, we are brothers in humanity. I love you as such, no matter what you did, as I loved every single person that you’ve killed.

Soldiers secure the area near La Belle Equipe, rue de Charonne, at the site of an attack on Paris on November 14, 2015 after a series of gun attacks occurred across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. Photo: AFP/Pierre Constant.

Today, Je suis Parisien et je prie pour Paris

When the time comes to mourn our dead, with my fellow Parisians, from France and the World, we will march and find strength in each other. We must not forget that the French motto ends with Fraternity.

I’m afraid but I’ve got hope. So I won’t be afraid for long.


Guest Contributor

Guest contributors for Hong Kong Free Press.