11 January 2015

J'ai du mal...

J'ai mal et j'ai du mal. Those mean two different things. I'm having a hard time writing the same old blog posts right now. J'ai du mal à reprendre ce blog, à continuer comme avant. That's the feeling I have : il y a un avant et un après.

It's the way I felt about San Francisco after the big earthquake in 1989. I never felt safe there after that. I hate the idea that I wouldn't feel safe in Paris, where I always felt so safe for 45 years. I know, it's all psychological.



A journalist on TV (Stéphane Bourgoin, whose area of expertise is serial killers) just said that people's fear of violent crime in France is growing (le sentiment d'insécurité croît en France), even though more than twice as many people were killed every year 30 years ago than now (alors qu'on tue deux fois moins maintenanant qu'il y a 30 ans). What's the explanation for that?

I guess I'll get started again one day soon. On verra. Peut-être demain. As a friend (who might recognize herself here) used to say when all hell was breaking loose at work: "Just do the next thing."

19 comments:

  1. Ken, you have my thoughts...
    normal life at the moment seems to have come to a halt!

    I have never been a city person, despite having lived and worked in them...
    or, fortunately, from them!
    And I have always managed to live on the outskirts...
    thus avoiding most of the turmoil that is a city...
    and, those cities have been small by comparison with Paris, London, etc.

    Whenever something like this happens...
    I think briefly of the people killed and mourn their departing in such a terrible fashion...
    and the loss of talent and experience...
    but I think more of those left...
    the injured...
    the colleagues and close friends and relatives of the dead...
    the people in neighbouring offices...
    all left here to pick up the bits and to try and carry on...
    with a new life...
    not one that they were expecting or wanted...
    my main thoughts go out to them...
    may the gods keep them sane and give them the strength to rebuild.
    We can't help... other than give support by demonstration...
    but the vigils being held...
    those can give a small comfort to the bereaved...
    and a comfort to the people taking part...
    we all need healing after atrocities like this!

    At times like this I look to Nature as the healer...
    Nature carries on and recovers...
    and when we've departed this planet as a species...
    Nature will quickly reclaim the scarred landscape.
    But, look to the countryside around us...
    admire the wonders...
    drink in the beauty...
    and take strength from that...
    and the friendships we have...
    to help us through the dark winter that suddenly became...
    colder...
    and...
    darker!

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  2. Who knows what future brings.? I believe it will be safe.

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  3. I know just how you feel, Ken.

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  4. I do heartily agree with Tim. Time and Nature are great healers! I know how you feel, but that will pass, and life will go on.

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  5. The same feeling decends on us in Australia after the recent Sydney episode where innocent people going about their normal lives fell victim to a deranged fundamentalist. Very sad.

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  6. Perhaps the media's solid wall-to-wall coverage has something to do
    with our emotions. The horror is revisited repeatedly, and after
    a day of cable news, one does feel fearful and uncertain about
    what might lie around the next corner anywhere not just Paris.



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  7. I'm glad you did the next thing and wrote to us, Ken. Tim, your words were just right. Yes, Sheila the repeated news serves no good purpose, it may even incite the evil ones. Life will always be fragile, so we need to be aware of the blessings we have each day. Stay in the present, the future will always be there.

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  8. I think I would still feel safe in Paris.....there are still a lot fewer crimes with guns there than anywhere in the US......I'm glad they got the loonies in a reasonable amount of time, at least.....thank goodness for the dropped id.....it has been non-stop coverage here too....it won't be possible to defend against a random person with a gun no matter what country....it is horrid to think that you could just go to a grocery store & not return....the man who saved a group of people in that grocery was muslim, a fact which wasn't mentioned too often...
    you just have to live every day

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  9. Sheila nailed it. And January's weather is never very conducive to much.

    The person who always told me to do the next thing was Richard. I still mutter it myself when I'm in the weeds.

    We love you. We love France. It will get better.

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  10. Agreed with Tim and Sheila -- turn off the TV, it does wonders for your mental health.

    It will get better, over time. A news story from today's rally showed Hollande and Merkel walking arm in arm, something unthinkable not so very long ago and now a hugely positive step for the EU, I think.

    Even if you can't write for publication at the moment, write for yourself on paper. It helps clear out the cobwebs. We'll be here when you get back.

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  11. Did you participate in any marches, etc.? I just got back from the one in Rodez and found it very uplifting. There IS comfort in gathering at this sort of time...

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  12. Ken

    Tim and the cousin are right .
    I know how you are feeling: 25 yrs ago, 14 young promising women were murdered by a mysoginist thug at my alma mater.
    What shocked me the next morning when I opened the newspaper ( I was already working at that time) was to find myself looking at someone I have met, on a bus, going to the University.Casually, he had stricken a conversation with me on what I was studying since I was reading a technical magazine on the subject of my thesis.

    It will take time to get over it but, please, don't let this keep you from visiting Paris. Personally, I've managed to get over it by not ever mentioning that conversation to my family, though every year, I am reminded of it when there is a memorial service for these girls.

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  13. Ken and Walt, the "next thing" is to continue doing what you've been doing. Just about the only thing that ordinary decent people can do is to live our lives as generously and inclusively as possible.

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  14. I am so saddened by all this -- Charlie Hebdo, Hamburger Morgenstadt, and attacks on Jews in Paris... ok, so only 5 shot in a San Jose nightclub last night. I guess I should listen to your blog followers and just keep doing the next thing. I guess I'm still positive enough to hope and pray that someday we will all find peace without violence. No need to love each other. Just live and let live.

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  15. The atrocity is the fear, the grief, the worry, the paralysis. Do not let the terrorists prevail. As Gandhi said, "whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

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  16. Thanks to all of you for your helpful comments. I will not be afraid to go to Paris in the future, of course. There have been many terrorist attacks and shootings and bombings there over the years, as in most big cities. I've turned off the coverage on TV many times over the past few days because the coverage is just too grizzly, but I did watch the march and huge gathering in Paris yesterday afternoon. France is very good at coming together in times of trouble. I do grieve for the families and friends of those who were killed or injured.

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  17. Somewhat to what we felt here in NY after 9-11. Time heals.

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  18. This perception problem is widespread in a great many countries, I suspect. It's notoriously the case in the UK, not just about violent crime, but also about anything that seems to be in the news (and pejorative comment) a lot: ask people what the benefit levels are, the numbers of claimants, the numbers of immigrants, whatever, and almost always the answers are vastly exaggerated. Maybe it's a function of instant comment, "always on" 24-hour news, and the increasing multiplicity of apparent providers: they all shout louder and louder to get noticed. Still and all, London life went on in the IRA years and after 2005 and the different periods of rioting; Paris survived the OAS outrages and its riots and previous terrorist attacks - Paris sera toujours Paris!

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  19. I'm late seeing this and responding. It was a shocking event. I'm so sorry it happened in Paris. I'm so sorry it happened at all. But we carry on and not give in to fear. I'm convinced that's the right thing to do. We must carry on. My sympathy to you, my friend. I miss you and hope you're doing OK.

    Ginny

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