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Today We Are All French

Jim Smith/El Hispano

Philadelphia – “La amenaza del Estado Islamico es como un rio subterraneo que puede desbordarse en cualquier momento,” dijo escritor Febrizio Larousso de La Jornada de Mexico.  “Sus brotes en la superficie transformo en ciclon sangriento en cuestion de minutos.”

 Mexican writer Febrizio Larousso said this week that ISIS is like an “underground river that can overflow the banks at anytime, transforming into a bloody cyclone” in minutes.

    A tri-color French flag dangled loosely below Robert Indiana’s Love sculpture as a sombre crowd of more than three hundred French nationals and friends gathered at JFK Plaza, Saturday night, paying quiet tribute to at least 129 killed in an orchestrated series of attacks in Paris on Friday.

   The evening’s solemn hush was broken by the singing of ‘La Marseillaise” the French national anthem. A replica of the Eiffel Tower at the foot of the sculpture was carefully adorned by numerous candles and flowers.


    Both Chloe and Gaelle D., Au Pairs from France working in the city -requested not to use last names- met with three other French friends at a local coffee shop prior to the event.  While admittedly stunned by the attacks on the Bataclan Concert Hall, Le Carillon Restaurant and the other sites around Paris,  Chloe and Gaelle D. recalled that only ten months earlier “attacks were made on (the Parisian publication) Charlie Hebdo and on a Kosher grocery store.”

    Questioned over whether they felt more secure living and working in the United States, these twenty-something friends referred to terrorist attacks in Boston and the 11th of September in New York. “It’s something that can happen anywhere.”

   Even well-known figures, such as Fox News Commentator Geraldo Rivera and the musicians of the band U2, were caught in the aftermath of the violence in Paris.  A visibly shaken Geraldo Rivera spoke on-air of his daughter who was at a soccer game when “chaos” ensued following the Friday night irruption of terrorism.

   Describing his daughter Simone as “wonderful” and “gentle soul,’ Rivera conceded he was struggling with his emotions: “It’s very upsetting,” he said. “It’s a lot easier to report on these  things.”  

  Bono, the leader of the band U2 which had to cancel a scheduled concert, angrily denounced the attackers as “cold blooded,” noting that they intentionally targeted young “music fans.”


   In an analysis of the terrorist attacks, Fabrizio Larousso of Mexico’s La Jornada, characterized this “threat of the Islamic State (ISIS) as an underground river that may overflow at any time.  It bubbles to the surface transforming it into a bloody cyclone in minutes.”

   Larousso recalled the “slaughter” of 9/11 on the Twin Towers and recent attack on Charlie Hebdo, noting that many of these terrorists are educated in Europe or the U.S. and have passports, meaning they have “no need to disguise” themselves.

   Mr. Larousso also highlighted the fact that ISIS and other terrorists are well financed by middle eastern banks, oil magnates and countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

     Pope Francis and other religious leaders expressed profound sadness over the attacks in Paris, denouncing the use of God and religion “to justify use of violence.”

  Local leaders, such as Camden County Clerk, Angel Fuentes; Philadelphia Managing Director Rich Negrin; and Danilo Burgos, aide to Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, all took to social media to express their unity with the people of France, many of them adopting the imagery of the artist Jean Jullien’s Eiffel Tower shaped into a peace symbol.

Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York noted that  Albany’s Alfred E. Smith Building and the SUNY System Administration Building were aglow in blue, white and red in “continued solidarity with the people of Paris.”

   Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf released a statement on the attacks in Paris, extending “our deepest condolences to the French people and all those affected by these horrific acts of violence. Our thoughts and prayers are with victims of this heartbreaking tragedy and their families.”