By Kimberly Yosko
On November 13, Paris and the surrounding communities were caught off-guard by many different terrorist attacks around the city. According to CNN, approximately 128 people were killed and many more were wounded.
One of the attacks happened in close proximity to an OLLU alumni’s neighborhood. Virgil Cissoko, who graduated last spring, grew up in St. Denis, France, which is one of the small neighborhoods in the capital city of Paris.
“This…was very close to my house,” Cissoko said. “[It’s] about a 5 minute walk.”
When Cissoko first heard about the bombings, one of his first thoughts was about his family’s safety. Thankfully, Cissoko’s family was not hindered by any of the attacks, but they are shaken up by what happened that fateful night.
“My mom was in [a] panic,” Cissoko said. “I had to make sure everybody was ok. I tried to say the right thing, but it was really hard, because a lot of people lost family [members].”
Another person connected with OLLU, Maxime Glorieux, who was a student here during the Spring 2014 semester, was also affected by the France bombings.
“I had my tickets for the Lille concert of the band who was playing at the Bataclan. It was scheduled the day after [the attacks],” Glorieux said.
Glorieux believes that there are ways for the people of France to cope with the pain after the tragic event.
“It will take time to fully move from this,” Glorieux said. “Now we have to show the world that French people are not afraid and nothing can change our lifestyle and culture.”
In his own life, Glorieux does not want this to be a setback.
“I won’t change anything,” Glorieux said. “I will take care more about safety, of course. To fully move from this…the best way is to go out, go to concerts and sport games, [and] enjoy walking around with your boyfriend or girlfriend.”
Cissoko is unsure if the French or anyone else should retaliate.
“I don’t believe in killing people,” Cissoko said. “I don’t even want to talk about the ISIS stuff. I just want [to] think about the people that lost people. It could have been my mom or my sister.”
Cissoko’s mother wants to move to the United States to be closer to her son, but Cissoko knows that the process will take a while and the road will not be easy.
As for the future of France, Cissoko knows that Paris will be able to rebound, but it will take time.
“It will take a long time for Paris to overcome this, because, right now, in people’s minds are still the bombings [and those thoughts are] still fresh,” Cissoko said.