Pray for Nice - Before & After
I wrote a really beautiful blog post one week ago as I was leaving The French Riviera. I typed on the plane, full of energy after a relaxing week on The Cote d’Azur, filled with inspiration after spending some lazy days submerged in nature, surrounded by crickets, geckoes, beetles, butterflies, cats, bees and birds.
My fiancé and I had been down into the local village every day, buying croissants, practicing our best French and sampling the regional wine and provincial foods. We’d gone into Antibes, dressed in blue and white, to watch France win the Euro Semi-Final and joined the face-painted fans cheering, singing and dancing in the street.
On our last night we went into the town to watch a local band play. We felt very content in the glow of the warm, summer evening, eating good food, drinking local wine, listening to music and watching kids from different families befriend and play with one another.
A group of 5(ish) year olds joined hands and ran around in a circle; kids of different cultures, tourists from Sweden, Poland, UK and France danced with the French locals, Algerian, African and Iraqi to the Universal language of music, laughing and giggling as they relished in the evening’s entertainment and welcomed all newcomers with international smiles into the group.
The next day, I sat on the plane to Sweden and got out my laptop inspired by the harmony I had witnessed and the hope I felt it surely reflected into the future. When I went to post that article, two days later, it had gone. I couldn’t find it on my laptop, I searched where I had written it, it didn’t exist. My optimism had vanished in cyberspace.
I had a dream that night that Johan and I were traveling back to LA from our summer trip in Europe and received bad news about our flight. The Air France plane scheduled from Paris to LA had been diverted and hijacked en route and we were not safe to travel on it. The representative in my dream told me it would go into the air territory of terrorist groups. I felt unsafe and unsure how to get back to America.
I woke up feeling uneasy and first thing I saw was that there had been a major attack in Nice. Right where we had been driving just four days previous. A suspected terrorist had steered his lorry into the French Bastille Day Celebrations, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds more on the French Riviera.
I had the choice whether to erase the memories of the harmony and beauty that I had witnessed in Southern France, concentrating only on one’s man’s attempt to destroy it, or try to rewrite the original, optimistic article, in hindsight of what had since happened.
I turned to the news; I saw crowds of people unite under the traumatic circumstances, helping one another get to safety, opening their homes to strangers, sharing posts & hashtags to relocate loved ones, coming together to provide aid and relief, connecting to one another through the heartbreak and felt the love from around the world pouring out; uniting, uniting and connecting the hearts of all people.
I thought of the young children reaching out to include one another in the dance celebrations and realized now, through tragedy and social media, we too were doing the same. The love for one another, empathy, so deeply engrained despite any exterior genetic differences that from around the world, beneath the sorrow, came strength, support and love.
World harmony does exist and we’ve witnessed in the too-many tragedies recently that when the human race rallies together love always wins, we grow stronger, get closer and become better. I do have hope for a bright future, and whilst writing about what happened in France on Bastille Day, I am reminded of the lyric from the French Revolution musical "Les Miserables," that “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”