Terror strikes in Paris resonate with FIU students

Fabienne Fleurantin / Contributing Writer

According to CNN, 132 people have been confirmed dead, 352 injured and 99 critically wounded after a series of violent attacks across six locations in Paris Friday evening. ISIS has claimed responsibility in an online statement.

These assaults were “carried out by three teams of coordinated attackers, including one who traveled on a Syrian passport along with the flow of migrants,” as mentioned in the NY Times.

One of the terrorists has also been identified as a French national already known by police. There is belief that the raids in Belgium are linked to the Paris attacks.

France is now in a national state of emergency with 1,500 French soldiers on patrol around the country. Schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools, grocery stores and any public area will be closed all weekend for fear of a new wave of assaults.

Residents have been advised to stay inside and the border has been sealed. President Francois Hollande spoke passionately after the incident, saying “terrorists capable to carry out such atrocities must know that they will face a France that is determined and united.”

Watching idly as a witness to this bloodshed angered me. These people played no part in this war. They did not seek out destruction, nor did they desire to torment any individual. They were merely reveling at the vastness of life when their existence was taken by an unforeseen enemy.

We as Americans have crossed this obscure path before, blindsided by hatred and struck down by malice. Nevertheless, we no longer see ourselves as victims, but as survivors who built a new foundation for America.

An ally has come under siege, and just as President Obama stated, “this is an attack not just on Paris. It’s not just an attack on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share.”

This massacre has resonated with students in the FIU community. Victoria Varela is the Social Media Ambassador of Pi Delta Phi, which is the French Honor Society here on campus. She spoke candidly about her connection to France and how this incident impacted her personally.

“One of my best friends is living in Paris now and she wasn’t too far off from one of the attacks,” she says. “I’ve never felt so helpless while watching something in real time and seeing deaths being tallied and hostages held. It made me feel sick to my stomach and worried for all my loved ones and everyone else there. It’s not fair. My heart has been attacked by this. These attacks are happening way too often. First Charlie Hebdo and now this.”

Thankfully, her loved ones are safe and sound and she has been notified of their status. The President of Pi Delta Phi, Griffin Dudley, also shared her sentiments on this tragic incident.

“We are shocked and saddened by the horrific events that occurred in Paris on November 13th. Our thoughts and hearts are with our French brothers and sisters as well as the families of those affected,” she says. “Le Cercle Francais, the French Honor Society Pi Delta Phi, [Residence Hall Association] and [National Residence Hall Honorary] will be holding a candlelight vigil in the Housing Quad on Wednesday, November 18th at 8:00 p.m. for all students who wish to show support for those affected.”

As we all mourn this tragedy, it is important to note that when we adhere to these senseless acts of violence, we merge as one voice. These vicious occurrences vowed to honor God are essentially stances of cowardice.

Gruesome plots of terror have encountered France once again, attempting to dismantle democratic principles for which they stand for. These extremist endeavors won’t stand because this event is the evocation of the tireless war we wage to end terrorism.

As the World Trade Center gleams in blue, white and red, it solidifies the idea of unity in the face of adversity. The city of lights went dark tonight, but it will illuminate again.

[Image from Flickr]

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