Bastille Day, 14 July 2016

Bastille Day, 14 July 2016

Fourteenth July is Bastille Day and who could have predicted it would end in such horror. My heart goes out to the people and families who have been affected by the attacks in Nice.

I had drafted a fun post about how we had spent Bastille Day in Paris, but just before I hit the publish button Nice happened. Eighty-four people are dead, including children and a further 50 are hover between life and death. We hear that ISIS have claimed responsibility for this atrocity.

Agnes Poirier, a French journalist living in London so eloquently says:

“This is the third attack on France and the French way of life in 18 months. Every one of us has been targeted by this radical Islamist ideology: cartoonists, journalists, French Jews, football fans, diners, rock fans, and now families enjoying that most childlike and wondrous of spectacles: Bastille Day fireworks.

There is hope, of course, that this warped ideology, in its profound inhumanity, will eventually self-destruct. We shouldn’t simply wait for it to happen, though.

A state of emergency cannot protect us all. The aim of the attackers is to exhaust police forces while triggering a civil-war mentality in the country.

The question is: what can each of us do to eradicate this festering disease? We can stay calm and resolute, of course, but that is not enough.

The government must have a clear long-term strategy, and we must all be united and stand firm on the République’s values of fraternité and laïcité.”

What can we do?

  • Don’t be afraid – that’s what they want
  • Don’t let them curb your freedom – that’s what they want
  • Don’t let them get inside your head – that’s what they want

Talking to your kids about terrorism

This isn’t the first time we’ve had to talk to our kids about terrorism.

Two weeks after arriving in Paris, the Paris attacks happened. There was no escape everyone was affected. The State of Emergency measures meant the kids could no longer spend school break-time in the park, and all school trips were cancelled.

The children’s publisher Bayard Jeunesse produced a two page leaflet,  ‘Explaining terrorism to children’ It’s written in easy to understand language, and this version’s in English. If you need to use it, I hope you find it useful.

Photo credit: Yann Caradec, courtesy of Flickr

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