Attacks may divide city, fear Parisians
Tony Balet came to work on Saturday with a ribbon pinned on his shirt. It was red, white, blue and black.
“People died because they were innocent and they were young,” he said. “They had nothing to do with anything; they were just out to have fun. And they were killed.” Like many European cities, Paris has a history of violence, and each time, the city has absorbed it, and even managed to forget it.
Parisians and tourists typically walk through the city’s famous sites with little thought for the earlier carnage â€” the Protestants massacred at the Louvre on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572, the aristocrats guillotined on the Place de la Concorde during the French Revolution, or the Tuileries palace burned during the Commune of 1871.
But the killings on Friday night came just 10 months after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo and the attack on a kosher grocery store, and seemed to many people here to be deliberately targeted at their way of life and their young people in particular, provoking fear and new concern about France’s ability to manage the gulf between Muslims and non-Muslims here.
“This time, the shock is greater: Charlie Hebdo was a target, a symbol. Yesterday, the victims weren’t journalists, or famous. They were civilians,” said Maxim Ferron, 30, manager of Love Organic, a trendy tea shop in the city.
Some people of immigrant background, who declined to give their names, worry that people will conflate France’s large Muslim population with radical Islam.
Many say the aren’t sure that solidarity was the reason so many stores and restaurants stayed shut on Sunday. “I think it is fear,” said a Parisian.