Today I walked down into town for the first time since Friday night’s horror.
The direct route takes me past one of the crossroads where two bars were targetted, into the Place de le Republique. As I approached the junction red and white police tape made clear where the killing zone began.
Crowds of people were gathered in the road. The two bars were diagonally opposite each other and next to one of them was a launderette which had also been shot into. The windows of the three establishments had multiple bullet holes in them and the chairs inside the closed terraces were still piled up in chaotic arrangements. A couple of policemen wandered discreetly from one side of the junction to the other, hands on rifles.
I stood there for a while, then walked the fifty yards or so down into the Place. It was ringed with media crews with their vans, cables and cameras and full of people. People walking, people talking, debating, reading the messages, laying candles, singing, writing in chalk on the ground, hugging each other and crying. I stopped to relight one of the many candles that had blown out in the wind; it didn’t take long for it to be extinguished again.
I talked with a few people. No one knows how to make sense of what happened three days ago. There is a palpable sense of shock, fear, sadness – a bit of open anger, but it seems to me that people are more than anything else just stunned.
I can’t find anything to say that would encompass all this except that I am more sorry than words can express, for everyone.
Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soha