Je Suis Paris: We Remember – Part II

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Today I continue to translate The Washington Post’s French language descriptions of those were brutally murdered by terrorists on Friday night in Paris.  To read the first installment, click here.

Mayeul Gaubert, 30:  “Gaubert was a 30 year old lawyer, AFP reported.  From the outlet: ‘Originally from Saône-et-Loire, he’d been working for five years for the startup company Cegos, where he was described as ‘funny, considerate, efficient, very professional.’  He died following wounds received at the Bataclan theater.  On his Facebook page, he had posted ‘I am Charlie [Hebdo].’”

Olivier Hauducoeur, 44:  “A Facebook post by ENSICAEN wrote of Hauducoeur: ‘An amateur runner, he had been working for a year for the Arval French classic car club, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas’ banking group.’”

Raphaël Ruiz, 37:  “Ubiqus, where Ruiz had worked for over 10 years, confirmed his death Monday, writing in a statement: ‘The Ubiqus community is in mourning.  He was 37 years old and was appreciated by everyone for his professionalism, devotion and immense gentleness.”

Vincent Detoc:  “Vincent Jeanbrun, mayor of L’Haÿ-les-Roses, where Detoc grew up, write: ‘All our condolences and all our wishes for courage go out to the family and loved ones of Vincent Detoc, child of L’Haÿ-les-Roses, unjustly struck down by the bullets of barbarians.’”

I encourage you to read the stories of all of those lost in the Paris terrorist attacks here.

Tomorrow:  When I wasn’t looking, my parents got old!

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Je Suis Paris: We Remember – Part I

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Warning:  Better get a box of tissues for this one.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published photos and brief descriptions of those whose lives were tragically lost in Friday night’s terrorist attacks in Paris.  They were murdered during a metal concert at the Bataclan Theater, at restaurants, in bars and cafés, and in the street.  More power to the Post for telling each of their stories, one at a time.  You can read them here.

Many of the victims’ stories in the Post were provided by their families or drawn from information posted on Facebook and Twitter.  While some of these stories are in English, many are in French.  I encourage you to go read the English language accounts.  For those of you who do not speak French, I would like to make the victims’ stories accessible by providing some translations here.  Disclaimer:  My French is far from perfect, but I will do my best to convey the essence of the message.  I take full responsibility for any errors.

Armelle Pumir Anticevic, 46:  (Her husband, Joseph, speaks about how he and his wife were separated at the Bataclan Theater): “When the first policemen arrived, Armelle said to me ‘Come on, let’s go.’ We weren’t far from the exit.  Armelle was behind me, everyone was rushing to get out.  She fell.  I thought that she had tripped over a dead body.  I picked it up the corpse, I carried it.  But on arriving close to the door, a cop grabbed me by the arm and I had to drop it.  Damn!  I never saw Armelle again.”

Baptiste Chevreau, 24:  “According to France Bleu, Chevreau was originally from Tonnerre and the grandson of singer Anne Sylvèstre. ‘This young man did his schooling at Tonnerre.  His passion was music, he participated in the activities of the conservatory and was going to find work in a music school in Paris.’”

Cécile Misse, 32:  “The Suresnes Jean Vilar Theater confirmed Misse’s death in a statement posted to their website.  The theater wrote: ‘For us, she will remain forever a magnificent example of devotion, involvement, enthusiasm and rare professionalism.  We will never forget her as we continue, together, to pursue our craft.’”

Christophe Lellouche, 33:  “Libération quoted a friend, Florian Giraud, who described Lellouche as a composer, musician and sports fan. ‘We met because we were both fans of OM.  I knew him for his sense of humor and the way he enjoyed joking around.  When I met him, I was surprised:  He who had trashed lots of people on Twitter was actually a fine person.”

Cédric Gomet, 30:  “Patrick Simonin, a colleague at TV5MONDE, posted to Twitter: ‘The staff of @TV5Monde gather in tearful pain in that one of its own, our friend Cédric Gomet, was cut down at the Bataclan.”

Hyacinthe Koma, 37:  “Just ask anyone about him and they’ll tell you he was ‘a love,’ ‘the essence of gentleness.’  He had a wry sense of humor and a ready smile, he was a friend.  This was a simple person whose presence was always sweet and comforting.”

Madeleine Sadin, 30:  “Sadin’s death was reported by Le Parisien, where she was described as a lover of rock, swing, and above all, her profession of teaching.  ‘For two whole days, her young students wrote RIP over and over again on social media. “Shocking,” “sad,” “horrible” were their reactions.  Some just couldn’t find the words.  Others went right out on Saturday to display a flower or a candle to pay their respects as soon as possible to this ‘incomparable’ teacher.’”

Marion Jouanneau:  “Jouanneau’s uncle, Frédéric Potier, spoke with L’Écho Républicain: ‘Marion Jouanneau was a young woman full of plans.  She was going to leave to continue her studies in New York.  It is her French youth and vigor that we loved and of which we are so proud.  She leaves a saddened family and a younger sister, age 23, for whom she was a role model, her uncle insists.’”

Pour être continué . . . (to be continued)

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Sorry is Not Enough

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I’m one of those voters who used to be known as a “bleeding heart liberal.”  Despite the fact that the world’s gone insane, I am unable to harden my heart to the pain suffered by others here in the United States and around the world as the result of senseless tragedy.

When I was young, it was the downing of Korean Airlines Flight 007.  Five years later, it was Pan Am Flight 003, known as the Lockerbie air disaster.  The former has been attributed to remnants of the Cold War, the latter to international terrorism.

Then disaster reached our own shores.  There were the school shootings, starting in the ‘90s with Columbine.  Then came the horror of my native New York City being torn apart at the seams.  After 9/11, I thought I’d seen it all.

Sadly, we picked right up with the mass murder at our schools.  Virginia TechSandy HookUmpqua Community College in Oregon.

This year, freedom of the press and freedom of speech came under attack with the Charlie Hebdo murders.  Then a jet full of vacationers returning home from the seaside is bombed out of the sky over the Sinai.  And now terror in the streets of Paris.  At least 132 dead, 77 survivors in critical condition.

Here in northern California, as everywhere else, we are far from immune.  You may not hear about the “little” local tragedies, but they arguably affect our communities even more than the major events that occur thousands of miles away.  This time last year, a couple from Utah drove into town and went on a rampage that included the killing two of our police officers.  Earlier this week, we locked the doors against the sirens that wailed throughout our neighborhood.  A few blocks away, there was a robbery, shooting and hostage-taking.  The SWAT team came out, and some streets were evacuated, residents being sent to the local elementary school to wait it out.  Then, Friday night, a local high school football player was killed in a drive-by shooting about a mile from here.

Tragedy, large and small, seems to be a fact of life in modern times.  There are days when I think that all we can do is be there to support those left to pick up the pieces, from emergency personnel to the families of the victims.

That, of course, is the bottom line.  Don’t let the steady stream of violence, tragedy and disaster in the news inure you to the real costs of these events to our society.  For every horror that you learn about on TV, in newspapers or online, there is a community that will never be the same again.  Remember that every victim is someone’s daughter or son, brother or sister, mother or father.

I thought about this while watching the debate between Democratic candidates O’Malley, Sanders and Clinton on Saturday evening.  The basis of our Western civilization tends to be reactive in nature.  We believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty, that everything will be alright — until it isn’t anymore.  However, going through tragedy after tragedy ad nauseam begs the question of whether it’s enough to merely be reactive.  Perhaps I need to change my mindset that all we can do is be there to mop up the mess.  Perhaps the time has come to be proactive, to say hey, we’re sick and tired of this and we’re not going to take it anymore.  To realize that it’s time for our leaders to be proactive instead of reactive, to prevent those intent on terrorizing the citizens of the world from committing their murderous deeds.  It is heartening to see France taking forceful steps in this direction.  It is encouraging to see Germany offering the full assistance of its military resources.  And yes, we here in the United States, along with the rest of France’s allies, must do our part to help with the effort.

If we can’t pull this off, we will remain right where we are today, stuck in a time warp where all we can do is send condolences to the mothers and fathers who have just lost their children and to the children who have just lost their mothers and fathers.

Not being a military man, I don’t know what this will involve.  But it seems that it must start with improving our ability to obtain critical intelligence.  And so, presidential candidates, at the next installment of the debates in December, I’d like you to point out which one of you is up to the challenge.  Some are saying that Paul, Trump and Sanders lack the fortitude to do what it takes.  I must add Clinton to this list, who proved by her mishandling of the Benghazi crisis, that she falls woefully short of what Hemingway referred to as “grace under pressure.”

I already know that all of the presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, are very good at showing up at the scene of tragedy and saying “I’m sorry” to the families of the victims in a heartfelt sound bite.

“Sorry,” however, is no longer enough.


Tomorrow:  Consider the turkey, a bird well esteemed

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