Our exchange student, Camilla Gatelli, shared with our Echuca College community how she felt about the events on the weekend. Mr Duffy assisted Camilla translate her feelings into English to share with us;
I think everybody knows what has happened in Paris on Friday: a terrible tragedy, perpetrated to create fear and terror in ordinary people. The Paris tragedy is probably something that hit you but still seems too far away to be real. I am trying here to express, through my words, to let all of you understand how we feel in Europe. Everyone thinks that Australia is far from everything and sometimes unreachable – but it is not like this. What has happened in Paris could happen in Melbourne, Canberra or Sydney.
As soon as I heard the news on Saturday morning, I felt scared, lost, and far – too far – from a home that had just been shot to death. I called my parents to be sure that they and everyone we know were still alive. I also needed to be sure that I was right because by just hearing home you can reform yourself and feel safe.
Events like this weekend are designed to provoke, to scare, to cause rage in the people, to divide people and to create hate in their hearts. However, as sometimes happens, when facing the biggest tragedies people can take two different decisions: being corrupted by negative feelings and giving up or thinking positively and to go on fighting. Something that touched me was that as soon as the attacks happened the message “porte ouverte” (open door) spread throughout the social networks. The people of Paris were hiding people, saving them helping them so all the French population faced the tragedy with solidarity. There are videos from cameras in the undergrounds of people escaping and coming back home but altogether united, singing the Marseilles, the French national anthem. That’s fighting: going on living, being connected, loving, being humans. The only way to fight the anger is love; the only way to fight war is being peaceful; the only way to fight inhumanity is by embracing your own humanity.
Whether it is the horrible events in Paris, the poor Kenyan students that were kidnapped, or the death of innocent people in a disco in Bali, we should take a minute a think about these people with humanity in our hearts because that is what we are and it is our humanity that makes us different from the animals.