By Victoria McClary, Contributing Writer
The world watched in terror as word spread late Friday night via social media and various news outlets that six locations around Paris, France had been the site of several terrorist attacks.
The Asbury community was informed about the situation through the Paris semester study abroad program. Brad Johnson, on behalf of Asbury’s Provost Dr. Jon Kulaga, informed students in a campus-wide email that the students who are studying abroad in Paris are safe and the location where they are staying is secure. Jennifer Stratton and Emily Houp were featured on local news station LEX18 talking about the attacks.
At last count according to CNN, 153 people had been killed. Among the dead are eight of the suicide attackers. The BBC reports that over 200 people were wounded. The greatest amount of casualties occurred at the Bataclan, a concert hall in the city. According to observers inside the Bataclan, two armed men entered and started randomly shooting people “execution style.” CNN reported there were around 100 hostages taken there who were among the wounded. Meanwhile, the attacks outside the Stade de France appear to be a suicide bomb attack in which five people were killed.
After the attacks, a state of emergency was declared, the borders were closed, and buildings around the city were under lockdown in order to keep citizens and tourists safe.
“There is dread, but in the face of this dread, there is a nation that knows how to defend itself…”
Many people took to social media to show their support for the French people and in order to pray for the city with the trending hashtag being #prayforparis. Facebook also had a way for those within the city to notify friends and relatives that they were safe by placing an option for them to update their statuses to “I’m safe.” Meanwhile, condolences poured in from all over the world including celebrities, political figures and the general public. The United States showed their solidarity with the French by lighting up the World Trade One tower in red, white and blue and by dimming the lights on the Empire State Building. Moments of silence were observed during many sporting events.
In a statement to CNN, French President Francois Hollande spoke about the resiliency of the nation, “What the terrorists want is to scare us and fill us with dread. There is indeed reason to be afraid. There is dread, but in the face of this dread, there is a nation that knows how to defend itself, that knows how to mobilize its forces and, once again, will defeat the terrorists.”