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Correspondence

Paris Holds Her Breath

In the days that followed the November terrorist attacks, many here in Paris were paralyzed.  Friends of mine refused to leave their homes.  Businesses stayed closed.  This is a level of violence and death to which those of us in the First World are simply unaccustomed, though modern jihad threatens to change that very quickly.  Thousands of people canceled plans to come to Paris.  Air France reported a loss of €54 million in bookings.  Hotels lost millions.  Small businesses have been hurt as well.  The owner of an excellent restaurant, La Mercerie, in Saint-Germain-Des-Prés told me in December that he had lost €30,000 of bookings to date.  Even Lyon, three hours away by high-speed train, canceled its multimillion-euro annual event, the Fête des lumières, which was scheduled for the first weekend in December.  The risk and tensions were simply too great.

And yet, in spring 2016, nothing has really changed.  We are all a bit wounded from those days, yet no one has any concrete solutions.  As in America, we are told not to “scapegoat immigrants,” and that Islam is a “religion of peace.”  Above all, we must not allow the right to “exploit tragedy for gain.”  Yet in the magazines, in the cafés, and in private conversations, there is a skepticism about this approach and mindset. ...

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