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13 November 2015: Terrorism in Paris

terrorism in Paris

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Who could have anticipated terrorism in Paris? No one.  And yet it came.

It was a Friday, that 13 November 2015. Even in Paris, it was an evening that anticipated the weekend when everyone began to relax.

Some were at the stadium to follow a football match and some were going to have dinner out with friends. Other were there to enjoy a concert.

But nothing went as planned.

The whole world has seen the developments of that madness live on television.

The effect of terrorism on each of us

 In front of these images that scroll on my screens the question is always “why?”  Why terrorism?

The terrorist act, through dramatic, frightening gestures, aimed at arousing strong emotional reactions, has as its objective not so much the individual victims as the whole community, all the population that in some way identifies with the victims, for reasons of nationality, culture, or religious affiliation.

The accomplished act, amplified by the media that become more or less involuntary accomplices of a well-studied project, affects all of us by modifying our habits, our reactions, undermine our certainties, making us feel insecure in our own home.

The daily routine is being broken and replaced by insecurity to undermine the very values of our society. One instinctively becomes more suspicious, hostile to what is perceived as a potential threat. And the more we feel that the risks are beyond our control, the more threatened we feel, in danger, amplifying our discomfort. meeting the expectations of those who planned the attacks.

The act of terrorism provokes an underestimation of our role and our ability to react and, at the same time, an overestimation of the power and strength of those who implement it.

Suggestion inhibits reasoning

Faced with the surge of emotion unleashed by the terrorist act, a psychological conditioning is produced in those who are involved, even if only as spectator,  giving rise to a collective suggestion, That is to say, a conviction induced by an external force which cannot be resisted with sufficient firmness.

Suggestion is an instinctive response, which escapes our control, and which is triggered in a situation of upheaval generating an idea of a possible solution that takes us out of trouble.

To arrive at a practical solution, suggestion must be able to go through a process of intellectualization that deepens the initial thinking by observing and focusing on the problem. From here will be born the idea that anticipates the real possible solution to the problem. It is the reasoning that, testing the hypotheses based on experience, will indicate what the consequences will be if the idea is adopted.

What to do?

The most effective reaction to terrorist acts is to maintain as much as possible our daily lives, our habits, not allowing fear and confusion to affect our lives.

Difficult, of course, but possible. A way of dealing with the tragic night in Paris, and others that are sadly related to it, we find an answer in a song, “Bataclan” (which is precisely one of the places where the massacre took place). The song is a hypothetical letter, or an email, that Valeria, the young Italian victim of that evening, wrote to her mother telling about her life in Paris. She is happy and she thanks her mother for letting her go and leaving her free to follow her wishes. The writing ends greetings her mom and saying that her friends are waiting for her at Bataclan…

This song came to life that evening, and is told to us by its author.

An answer comes from Massimo Priviero and his “Bataclan”

It happened one night in mid-November. And I had a concert just the day after, unlike what happened with 90% of cases, I decided not to cancel. I took home the fragile and moved emotion of that evening as heart and head continued to revolve around the bombing that there was in Paris. Paris is so sweet.

It is full of wonderful memories of my twenty years when, for example, I had happened to go there several times and to keep my trips at a reduced price by singing at some metro stops. After the attack, I found myself writing this song almost inevitably and in a completely natural way. I didn’t want any bombs to go off, though.

I thought it was stupid that this happened as much as I didn’t want to make any referring to some suicidal criminal. The sweetness of a feeling had to overcome any death, even the most terrible, even the most unjust.

I saw on television Valeria’s parents and I heard them talking about their daughter with a nobility and with a serenity that moved me as it had rarely happened to me. I thought that no event could ever win such nobility. I thought of how invincible is the love that binds a mother to a daughter.

So the bombs and the shots didn’t really matter to me anymore. I didn’t care what the right measures could ever be to stop criminal fools. I had no knowledge of that. What might be the best ways to stem certain things would be thought of by those who were in charge of doing so, inevitably making mistakes as often proved by the facts. However, amor vincit omnia was written.

Oh, I don’t mean love to give to the brother who shoots you in the face.  I don’t even think I could. I still mean love that no death can kill as long as only a fragment of it can survive even in a corner of memory.

So thinking, I wrote this light dialogue between Valeria and her mother, I try to stare at a beautiful smile of a young woman without fear.

I really think that somehow this young life didn’t end in one night in a Paris club. I imagine this life continues as if it had been taken over by so many other young people who move for the same boulevard in a similar way to his. A strong, beautiful way, and eager to shake the hand of those who move near you. No, I don’t think Valeria Solesin’s life ended one night in Paris at a club called Bataclan.


Here you will find a live performance of Massimo Priviero and below the video you will find both the Italian and English lyrics.

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About Anas Alaoui

Anas Alaoui

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