Eleven months ago today, I set foot on the French soil for the first time together with my husband and my sister-in-law. Although it was late at night when we finally reached our hotel, the invitation from the luxurious bed failed to overcome our excitement to explore the city.
The majestic Arc de Triomphe, the famous street of Champs Elysees donned with Christmas lights, the surprising presence of tuktuk or rickshaw in this European capital, the search for the French macaron, not to mention the stately Louvre that takes several days to visit if you are to look at every single piece of art, the train ride of the metro, and of course, the monumental Tour Eiffel that transfixed my gaze, all bring good and happy memories.
With the recent tragedy that happened in Paris, I looked back at my photos and remembered the short but full of excitement time I spent there. I remember the time we walked on a dark back street, without any soul, as we meandered our way to the Eiffel Tower. There was no apprehension of something sinister lurching in the shadow. We felt safe and free to move.
At the Tour Eiffel lit up with its patented lighting system, I was enamoured. The massive Louvre housing a great collection of arts and sculptures, I wish to go back and see all the other things I missed. I wish to explore every nook and cranny of Paris.
But will I be able to go back to this place and pick up from where I left off? The memory is wounded and a scar will stay there.
Why oh why there is so much hatred and wickedness in this world? Why can’t anyone enjoy the freedom of living peacefully in their respective places?
Am I being bias for the rest of the countries which experienced terror attacks in the past few days? Of course not! But having been to Paris made me associate with the sentiments of its inhabitants more automatically because it’s closer to home and you can’t change that fact. I feel the same sentiments for the citizens of the countries ravaged by war and terrorism.
I wish to visit Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and other places in the world.
Daily, I follow the plights of the Syrian refugees as they brave the sea only to get passed on from one border to the other. I fear for them as winter starts to set in. I am almost getting to the point where I can’t handle to see the news anymore.
I pray for all the nations who suffer a catastrophe in one form or another, be it war, natural disaster, economic depression or anything in between.
I pray for the healing of the wounded nations and for humanity to embrace each other’s differences and live together in harmony.