Today, following yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Paris, we speak with Doug Cushman, a contributor to A News Cafe.com, who also checked in with us last year, after the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris. Cushman is is a former Redding artist/author who now lives and works in France where he writes and creates art. For more information about his books, or to contact him, visit doug-cushman.com.
Welcome, Doug. We are so relieved you are safe. Thank you for, once again, sharing your thoughts after a horrible attack upon France, your adopted homeland.
Thanks, Doni, for asking about my safety.
All is well here. I moved to St. Malo, a lovely little town on the Brittany coast last September (yes, THAT St. Malo, the setting of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel that I’ve yet to read), so I was far away from the shootings.
But I was in Paris just a couple days ago, in my old neighborhood, where most of the nonsense occurred. It’s a mixed neighborhood, filled with a diverse range of people; young, old, black, white, GLTG, Asian, Muslim, Christian, Jewish …you name it.
I loved the diversity. As an artist it was–and is still–a fantastic source of inspiration for characters and stories, a deep well to draw from. The mélange was its strength and sadly, I fear, its weakness as illustrated by last night’s events.
These are folks just trying to get on with their lives, everyday folks with everyday concerns; catching the bus, running out to get the evening baguette, dressing the kids for school and figuring out what they want to do with their lives. These are the true victims, the innocents of this senseless barbarity.
As far as I can tell (and what friends living there have told me) most of the victims were young teens and twenty-somethings.
Anger and disbelief is what I hear most from my old quartier. Suspicion settles in now, eyes averted from neighbors on the street, no one talks. It’s barely a year from the Charlie Hebdo shootings (close to the same neighborhood, too) so old anxieties rise to the top. France is not the only that’s on high alert now; it’s also fear and distrust.
I don’t know what the answer is. But I’m sure anger can’t be a part of the solution. Neither can violence. Right now all I can do is shake my head and try to understand. And shed tears. So I cry. I weep for my old home, I weep for those left alone from the deaths of loved ones, I weep for the world.
Thanks for your words, Doni. Keep sending prayers and thoughts to everyone in that small part of the City of Lights.
I’m lighting my candles as we speak.