The following guest post was written by Marie Vallet. We met when she came to Chicago in the summer of 2014.
We had exchanged e-mails before she came over from Paris, France, so we knew each other slightly before we met. But when we heard each other's voices -- and languages -- we had a decision to make: Would we use French or English?
Each of us wanted to practice our second language, so we decided to use them. I spoke French; she spoke English.
We had a great day together as I showed her Chicago -- even though it was Air Show Saturday and very loud. We parted as friends.
We have continued to write to each other, usually in our own languages. Our continuing friendship has made me very concerned about the attacks in France, from the murder of journalists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris early in 2015 through attacks in Paris in November and July 14 (Bastille Day) in Nice and the murder of a priest in Normandy.
Even before the most recent attack, Marie and I discussed writing about life and the situation in France. What follows are her responses to my e-mailed questions. (Any translation problems are my own and will be fixed when she reads the English version of what I send out.)
By Marie Vallet (Questions by Margaret H. Laing)
What is the hardest part of the emergency for you?
To stop all of the people responsible for the attacks by using the files and the "S" file (the list of people identified as susceptible to commit terrorism), and to cooperate with Belgium, which also has been deeply touched by terrorism.
Also, to search for the origin of the funds (in Qatar?) in order to block the supply of arms and remove the armed forces of Syria.
What does not seem to have changed?
Controls in strategic locations are not more reinforced (in commercial and tourist centers). There are few extra police officers in the streets.
Who is the politician who is France's best leader during the emergency?
None! We are not reassured, and no messages go out except the ones of the type "Never again like this!" That is useless!
Do you think the attack on July 14 will hurt future Bastille Day celebrations?
Yes and no; it depends on the president in 2017, but we must not remove all our festivals.
What can the U.S. do to help France?
Spot and denounce future terrorists and their ramifications in U.S. files.
You've seen some parts of this country. What could we do better to help win this war?
We should take an example from Guantanamo and install prison camps especially for future jihadists.
What do you want Chicago to know about this war?
Nothing. That Chicago should live in peace with its culture of art. It has already had its part of history with gangsters, and it is on the level of countries that decisions should be taken and not on the level of states.
Thank you, Marie.
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