The city of Paris has a Latin motto which is: ‘Fluctuat ned mergitur”. The translation to English is ‘tossed by the water but not sunk’.
When visiting Paris the week the before the November 13 massacres, I enjoyed the hospitality of a city full of spirit, wonder and warmth. The first night there I had long-planned a visit to the wine bar at Verjus to enjoy the explosion of informal drinking and enjoying smaller plates that has spread across the city. Imagine my surprise. When I arrived I found that it was closed for a private party. We lingered for a moment on the street and struck up a conversation with a man who turned out to be the host of the party. Seeing our disappointment, he invited us into his birthday celebration for a glass of red wine.
Doors opened to us.
Now doors need to remain open for them.
I walked the streets of the 10th and 11th. The district was packed with people out enjoying their lives in these vibrant neighborhoods. 7 days later hell would break loose.
The decision of whether to travel and where to travel will always be personal. Only you can decide whether to travel to Paris, or for that matter Beirut or Tel Aviv or whatever city struggles with the horrors of this modern world.
I ask you to go. When you do, think about this: By doing so you stand in defiance of those that who act without regard to human life. You stand in support of the working people of Paris, from the maid that cleans your room to the chef at a gourmet restaurant to the bartender who pours your wine.
Parisians are returning to their cafes. They will not back down. Will you join them?
We are tossed by turbulent waters but our spirit must not sink. When you wonder, when you doubt, do not give in. Go to Paris for the first time or the 10th. It is the loudest statement that you can make to honor the 128 innocents who died.