Saturday, 12 December 2015

Everything’s the same, and not the same

I think it’s fair to say that the good people of France, and particularly Paris, have not had a good year.

Things have happened in the French Capital that are the stuff of nightmares and it’s hard to imagine how things could ever be the same again.

And yet, at least here 800Km to the south in Marseille, people appear to be going about their lives as normally as possible.

The restaurants are busy, the Christmas Market by the Vieux-Port is doing a brisk trade and the Ferris Wheel next door is adding to the feeling of the festive season.

Along the harbour side the human statues, break-dancers and pan-pipe players are performing as I assume they have always done.

And everything would be normal if it wasn’t for the fact that every now and then you catch a glimpse of half a dozen soldiers patrolling in full combats with scary looking guns, reminding you that this is still a nation in a State of Emergency.

Despite that, or perhaps because of that, people appear to be going around their normal lives with only minor changes – more routine bag searches and the big red triangles at the entrances to buildings and parks reminding everyone the country is on a very high security level.

Is it, casting around for an appalling cartoon style stereotype, the spirit of the Indomitable Gaul?, or is it just human nature to try and get back to the routine as quickly as possible, to not let yourself succumb to the wishes of those who use violence?

All I know is at present the people or Marseille, and France, against everything that has been thrown at them are showing the won’t be cowed.  I’d like to join with them in saying Je suis Paris, Je suis libre!

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