Paris: Then and Now
by Amaia Calhoun
On Friday November 13, 2015, Paris, France was attacked by Islamic State attackers resulting in 129 deaths and 352 people severely hurt. It all began when one terrorist carried out a suicide bombing outside of a soccer stadium north of Paris. France’s President Hollande was attending the soccer game. Another attack of shootings and suicide bombings happened at the Bataclan, a concert hall. Eighty-nine people who attended the concert were found dead on Saturday. One of the attackers most likely traveled to Europe with a Syrian passport posing as a refugee.
In recent weeks, Europe has been facing a huge refugee crisis. This year, more than 380,000 migrants and refugees mainly from Syria, Somalia and Afghanistan have arrived in South Europe. They are fleeing their countries because of conflicts such as persecution on a basis of religion, race, political opinions, etc. and poverty.
What has happened with Paris has made the refugee crisis an even bigger problem and much harder to handle and resolve. European countries have had to decide whether to allow these refugees to enter their countries. The crisis is further complicated now, because one of the Paris attackers traveled to Europe seeming like a Syrian refugee. This has changed the decision of some European countries to allow refugees in.
Last spring break, I traveled to Paris. I immediately fell in love with everything about the city. I remember eating delicious croissants, taking pictures of everything around me, and walking and taking the Metro everywhere. Now, Paris is in a state much different from when I was there. Public transportation is not working as smooth as usual, schools, museums, food markets, etc. are closed and Charles de Gaulle Airport has had significant delays because of more frequent baggage and passport checks. Also, many protests have been going on in Paris against France’s state of emergency. Protesters have thrown objects at police officers causing many of these protests to spiral out of control. It has even reached the point where police have had to used tear gas to remove these protestors.
If I traveled there now, I imagine I would have a very different experience than I did last spring. I wouldn’t be able to do the same things I did or have the same experiences. France has a lot of work to do regarding their decision on whether or not to let refugees and migrants into their country and getting the country back to the place I visited last spring.