On Friday night I took the train down to Deptford in South London. It’s strange because this city is like an archipelago, where its inhabitants rarely leave their islands to visit other parts. But as East London’s rents are outgrowing most of us, many of my friends have moved south of the river. Thereby I’m forced out of my little comfort zone to explore areas previously unknown to me. Friday was an occasion like that, where at 8pm I stood in the back patio of an unknown bar on a street I’ve never been to, in an area I had never heard of.
Squeezed around two tables many of us had gathered outside in mid November to drink to this lovely woman.
I gave her six presents wrapped in Beyonce posters, what else right? There were things like a cat sticker book, Highschool Musical 2 fridge magnets, dragon fake tattoos and two prints of my favourite photos of Lovisa. It went down well.
We drank mulled cider to keep warm and chatted away about bad parties and flat evictions, my god awful job interview and where to find the best vintage coats.
Just as people got foggy and dancy the horrific news about Paris hit us. A damp seriousness fell over the whole bar. People were on their phones trying to reach loved ones in Paris, grieving the horrendous state the world is in and speculating in what this will lead to. What’s ahead looks like everything apart from bright.
It is terrifying because it feels so close. I’ve been to that restaurant, Daniel went to that band’s gig here in London, my friends live in Republique. But I’m one of those lucky enough not to lose somebody close to me. If you did, I’m deeply sorry, not that that’s even close to cutting it.
Although I do really want to stress for us all to remember that this is about more than Paris. It is also about children being stabbed in the head at a mall in Kenya. It’s about the suicide attacks in Beirut as well as Bagdad just days before that were as severe but that nobody talked about. This is the violence in Syria that is forcing millions of people to abandon their homes, their lives. That is just as important, as devastating.
I have no solution but to grieve the state of the entire world, not just our own, and welcoming those who fear the same violence, independent of religion, race or background.
”Happiness can be found
even in the darkest of times
as long as one remembers
to turn on the light.”
– Albus Dumbledore
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