Sameen Rashid, London
The picturesque city with long boulevards and rues, with tiny blue signs, interlocking at corners where beautiful buildings stand. With small black balconies and large windows adorned with wooden shutters. Cafes with seats facing the city, watching passers-by. Metro signs in red and white on iconic lamp posts. To the city where the lifeblood of the Seine flows, with arched bridges connecting both sides of the river. To the chaotic roundabout surrounding the Arch of Triumph. And you will be triumphant over your enemies. You will stand tall in the face of adversity as tall as the Tour that marks your modernity. You have been shaken to your core. Your bistros were once the place where once philosophers, poets and artists sat. The open minds of your previous inhabitants pushed aside to more sinister, divisive and inhumane thoughts. Do not let hatred take root amongst you or ignorance overtake the intellect that you pride yourself on. Guard the beautiful eloquence of your tongue, and let not words of abhorrence over take it. You have many admirers, more than Mona Lisa herself. Where once liberté reigned supreme, now has become the city of restrictions. War has come to your arrondissements, attacked your culture, and your cœur. But that is indeed sacred, no one can take that away; peaceful and serene just like the basilica itself. The famous baguettes of boulangeries have come up against Kalashnikovs. The béret and paintbrush are now police helmets and shields. You are grieving the loss of so many innocent lives, hopes and dreams. You are grieving the loss of your fraternité, shattered as if it were the glass of the Louvre pyramid itself. You were once leaders of culture, history, art, language and all things chic. The envy of capital cities of Europe, none can compare to your beauty and grace. Now the frontline for the continent, the battleground. You can, and will, withstand the onslaught of tyranny, and once again be the place of révolution of peaceful defiance against those that wish to destroy humanity and unity.
We await the day, InshaAllah, God Willing.
You are in our thoughts and prayers.