Paris State of Emergency

My phone lit up with the news last night, as the attacks in Paris took over 125 lives. After reading and rereading the simple sentence “attacks at a stadium in Paris, over 60 dead,” more news detailed the other locations – a restaurant and a concert hall. I was also at a restaurant, fearless until that moment.

Paris, like Vienna, is a lively city of enriched leisure, of conversation, culture and the culinary arts. Striking at the heart of these beloved past times drives a very personal fear. The closer to home, the more quickly we leap to protect what we view as our city-given right, our safe haven.

As he stood outside Bataclan concert hall, where some of the attacks took place, French president Francois Hollande said that the fight against terror will be “without mercy.” While understandable, this has me shaking my head. Alongside the #prayforparis hash tag, “no mercy” may be misguided, a reaction to a merciless act of hatred, by the IS who instrumentalize religion. Both sentiments therefore seem wrong.

Now is the time to tread lightly, be cautious, but not to panic. We must remember that the refugees among us are fleeing the same terror active in Paris last night.

We are all afraid. And why wouldn’t we be? But if we buckle under in fear, the terrorists win. If we stop going to concerts and to restaurants, we fuel the fear.

I’m invited to an event tonight. Should I go? What will the mood be like and should we even celebrate? Even if I try not to, I’m sure the thought of danger will cross my mind at some point. After all, if you don’t fear, you don’t need courage.

I’ll go, and I hope to see Vienna out tonight.