Midnight in Paris



Paris, January 8th, 2015:

So how does it feel to be on the streets of Paris today with the aftermath of the terrorist attack yesterday in this great and beautiful world city?

We are currently in our hotel room, venturing out for a little food and coffee, wandering a while in the shops, and braving the rain that appears to be soothing the hearts and minds of the everyday Parisienne as they try to resume their daily business.

The incident that has blasted into our otherwise organized and quiet lives in this celebrated and normally bustling city, has resulted in a shock and pall that hangs over us. Ghost-like in its invasion into lives, its fingers chill the heart as we hear the latest news from every TV station.

We came here to celebrate. We were in St Valery en Caux for a couple of days, following in the footsteps of my own father, Harry Stokes, who, along with 10,000 other soldiers, was surrendered and ordered to lay down his arms after a horrific battle in trying to hold off the Nazi army, forever advancing on the land of France with Britain in its sights, following its occupation of Paris.

Again, the French people arose and rebuilt. Decades later the little town of St Valery en Caux is now quaint and appealing. Its Atlantic seagulls wheeled above us there, crying in their traditional style as if to say that life continues after such monstrous fighting and death. It’s the incident that forms the opening of my book, “Dancing With My Daddy”, and it was a life journey for me.

And then we drove into Paris at the height of the drama, watching and wondering as we heard sirens and saw a police presence that we assumed must be normal here.

 But Paris has become anything but normal in the last 24 hours.

Today, the average French citizen deserves our prayers and our thoughts, as we together continue to battle on many fronts the attack of an enemy that often strikes the innocent and the outspoken from the rank and file of our society. They grab this notoriety and ‘fame’ in a mindless bid to bring down others who may not agree with their ideals and the way they think, seemingly curbing the freedom of those whom they view as different, as infidels. But they are the tools of an even greater threat.

My heart today goes out to the average Mama and Papa out on the streets of this city, walking through the drizzling rain and, in this area particularly, being affected emotionally by the tolling bells of Notre Dame Cathedral. They are calling a city to mourning for the lost. We can see the cathedral from our hotel room, opening the windows often to let in fresh air and the sound of the bells. It refreshes, but its stirs the heart.

Not just the loss of life. The loss of freedom, equality, and all things that have been declared for hundreds of years in this great and embracive nation that stands for freedom of speech and thought. France.

We from Sydney are still raw from our own experience of the violence that curbs freedom and brings death and destruction to families, real people in a real and reeling world.

Can we no longer be allowed to speak out in the name of freedom?  Must we now pull in our words and nervously guard our opinions, rather than, like Voltaire, declaring that:

“I may not agree with what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it?”

It’s a wake up call for us all. Times have changed. The enemy of love is gaining attention and that headline that we all dread in our own cities is being broadcast. Emblazoned and immortalized in moments with technicolour-beamings which instantly are available to anyone who cares to watch, we hunger for the latest input from those who want to force-feed us on the very latest, and then we watch it all again on repeat.

And CNN says to us:

“So…what is the future?” – talking about satire, journalism, freedom of writing for us all.

But surely the question is not one of uncertainty, but an investment of our future as individuals in the Truth. Its not writings, cartoons or journalism that is being threatened. It’s perhaps not in the attack, but in the defence of our own souls from degenerating and playing into the enemy’s hands….in fact, this attack on humanity itself has not differed except in its presentation.

What ever is the answer, we ask ourselves?

There is only One. It is Love itself.

SUBSCRIBE with email or RSS
sp sp