French students cope after attacks

As events in Paris unfolded Friday, Nov. 13, Truman State students from France were going about their daily lives until they found out about the coordinated Paris attacks.

Many of the affected students contacted their families and friends to make sure they were okay while trying to stay updated on the events that continued to unfold. Thanks to the Facebook status option that allowed friends and families to declare whether or not they were in a safe place, many French students were able to keep in touch with loved ones who updated their statuses.

Delphine Azernour, a student from Paris, says she was cooking dinner with a friend when she first heard about the incidents in her city.

“We went to the fifth floor of my dorm to watch TV. Some Americans came and hugged us and some of them stayed up with us all night. The first two hours were a lot of crying. I’m from Paris, and I’ve always lived there, and it’s really weird to see my city. I could recognize the streets. The place they attacked is a place I go a lot of the time. I’m still shocked.”

– Delphine Azernour

Azernour says she appreciated groups from around campus reaching out to support her. She says the International House sent her a message directly, and the staff invited her and other French students to dinners in their homes.

Azernour says she had inner conflicts during the days following the event because she did not experience the attacks firsthand. She says during that time, it was hard to accomplish anything.

“[My friends and I] spent a lot of time together and people supported us,” Azernour says. “When everything happened, I experienced a strange feeling. First, I am away from home so I did not really live the event. Second of all, I don’t know anybody who was actually touched by the attack. So when I started to get really sad, I felt like I was not allowed to. Because it is way worse for some people, and I got lucky. But the fact is that even if nobody I know died or was injured, I was deeply mad and sad. I figured out that it is because I am really happy and proud to be French. At some point, I was not even sad, but just really, really, really angry. Like, nobody has the right to attack my city.”

Azernour was not alone in getting through that long night — Julien Vincent-Seillier also is a student from France whose family lives in a suburb near Paris. Vincent-Seillier was working in the SUB when he received a notification from French news outlet Le Monde.

For more information on Truman’s efforts to honor Paris and more from French students continue reading on Issuu.