I was Skyping with my Mom when my roommate came in and told me that there were three joint terrorist attacks in Paris. I could not begin to process what I was hearing and the only thing I thought of were my friends living there. I found out that they were all safe and I started talking to my Mom again.
Over the next few days I passively followed the story still not fully able to comprehend what exactly was going on.
Today in my Political Science class, the professor uses give or take the first 45mins to discuss the attacks from the viewpoint of an expert in the field. He bluntly put it that if the terrorist came to Heidelberg that they would most likely attack the very building we were standing in because it’s close to the town center and it’s the Center for American Studies. That’s when I finally understood and was able to comprehend everything that my brain was fighting. I’m right in the middle of all of this. The attack happened west of me, there is unrest east of me, and I’m far away from home. I haven’t had a close link to terrorism since 9/11 and even then I don’t remember much about it because I was so young.
My professor also mentioned how refugees could be recruited to these terrorist organizations if the western countries begin to mistreat them and it makes complete sense. They just left an area trying to escape this sort of treatment only to come to a new country and still get treated the same way. Thankfully, Germany is trying its best to work with refugees to make sure that they get the support that they need to have a pleasant life again.
With all of this being said, I’m not scared. I’m definitely more aware of my position in Heidelberg and Europe in general but I cannot and will not succumb to fear. However, I will be careful, smart, and safe so don’t worry about that!
On a lighter note, I’m starting to miss the simple pleasures in America like notebooks that have lines instead of grid paper, water fountains, and English. I’ll elaborate on all of that stuff soon enough. Take care!