Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Paris, c'est un village...even more so this week

A gas explosion in a boulangerie in central Paris last week took many lives. And the lives of two pompiers/firemen responding to the call to control the fire and help inhabitants out of the block of buildings it took.
It was reported 'At 8.37am the fire brigade was called to 6 Rue Trévise to investigate a gas leak. While they were there a dramatic explosion occurred,” a spokesman said. He praised the courage of the firefighters who risked their lives to save people. He said one firefighter had remained under the rubble for two and a half hours before being rescued by colleagues.

Fires in Paris - a densely populated place - demand immediate response. The fire station is smack dab near the explosion. In the center of the quartier's life; by a school, shops. There was a moving tribute to these two firefighters as the funeral march passed with their hearses along the street and a hundreds of fireman from all over Paris lined it and saluted. In silence. My friend saw so many fireman in the Metro she wondered where they were going.

The next day people in the quartier took their children to the station offering condolences to the fireman who had lost their colleagues, their friends. The video showed them thanking the pompiers for their service and giving applause for those people they'd saved in the fire. A mother was interviewed, very moved, and said the pompiers are part of our life here; they visit my children's school, during safety week they bring the school children to the station and let them spray the hoses and get on the truck, and on July 14th Bastille Day they throw the best fireman's ball in all of Paris. Not to mention they hawk their hunk calendar for charity!
They're part of our community, the mother said. That struck me. There's so much ugly news, so much about the unrest in France, the violent aspects of some of the gilet jaunes- the yellow vests who have been demonstrating every Saturday, that I wanted to show, yes, terrible things but that people band together to get through it. People who appreciate goodness and selfless service. Every day.
Their community is a village. The village they identify with. Paris originally came from a collection of small villages. And they're still there - as Parisians say 'Paris, c'est un village.'
Cara - Tuesday