Once again tragedy stikes in France. This is now the third time in only 18 months that the press has called me as President of the Alliance Francaise of NW CT to comment on a terrorist attack in France: the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack, the deadly attack in November 2015 in Paris and now Nice.
Pictures and videos from the aftermath of last night’s attack along the normally beautiful, wide, palm-tree lined Promenade des Anglais brought tears to my eyes. My husband went to High School in Nice when his family relocated from Algeria in 1961. Then, after we were married, we lived in the area for 3 ½ years before moving to the States. My daughter was born in the neighboring town of Cagnes-sur-Mer so our hearts are especially breaking right now. Family and friends have been letting us know they are safe but the sense of dread and fear must still be palpable to all.
How sad that the night brought so many people out to enjoy what was probably a spectacular fireworks display! Typically on warm summer evenings in Nice people will linger late into the night to enjoy a drink or dessert in the restaurants that face the beach, or simply stroll along the spaciously wide sidewalk that runs along the Mediterranean sea for miles. Traffic had been re-routed so people could also walk in the wide boulevard meaning many innocent people were easily killed and so many injured.
The city, as well as the entire south of France, was/is surely full to the brim with tourists from all over the world and I am saddened by how this will affect the hospitality industry. It seems that the common thread in the last 2 attacks was the desire to prey on an international crowd who was enjoying life – the fact that they were celebrating a national holiday was probably an added bonus.
I’m feeling very sad.I feel a sense of hopelessness – what can we do to bring peace to this world? I feel frustrated and angry – when will this madness end?
And, actually my thoughts turn to a more certain determination to continue our work to teach French and promote the cultures of the francophone world. Learning a new language – any language – helps us communicate better with other people so that we can better understand their traditions and be open to different ways of doing things… that may be the best path to peace.
Marda Gutierrez, President