Friday, January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015 -- Hyper Cacher -- Paris, France

This morning I walked to the Hyper Cacher supermarket where last week a terrorist, who had already killed a police officer, held a number of people hostage and killed four of them. Just before I arrived, a long caravan of black cars went speeding by me with red lights flashing and sirens wailing. It turned out that I had been passed by John Kerry's entourage. The American vice president had just finished laying a wreath in front of the store.

Due to Kerry's visit, there were scores of police cars parked around the store. Here's what the scene looked like. (Incidentally, you can click on any of the photos in this blog to see them in higher resolution. Then use your Web browser's back button to return to this page.)

Large police presence as John Kerry lays wreath at Hyper Cacher
There were literally thousands of bouquets of flowers at the site, but I do have to say that the wreath that Kerry had just left was the most impressive floral display.

The ribbon, hard to read in this photograph, reads "United States of Amerida"
The photo below shows the door of the market riddled with bullet holes. I have no idea how many shots were fired, but obviously there were very many.

The bullet-riddled door of the Hyper Cacher market
As I previously mentioned, the site was strewn with thousands of flower bouquets, and there were also very many signs, most of them lettered by hand. In the following picture, the sign on the cardboard translates as "I am a Muslim come to share our pain." I would translate the white sign as "How crazy it is to hate all roses because one thorn pricked you."

A few of the many messages left at the Hyper Cacher

As I stepped back from the supermarket, I took one last photograph of the scene from a greater distance. There are still many more bouquets of flowers out of the frame to the left and right. A week ago this was a thriving branch of a chain of Jewish supermarkets. Today it is an abandoned building guarded by a few unarmed police officers.

A parting shot of the Hyper Cacher
Many are asking now if France can protect its Jewish citizens. Benjamin Netanyahu has strongly hinted that French Jews should leave France and immigrate to Israel. I have also read that more Israeli immigrants are coming from France than from any other country. However, I have also read several editorials by French Jewish columnists who say basically that leaving France for Israel would be jumping from the frying pan into the fire, because Jews are even less secure from terrorism in Israel than they are in France.

Whatever the solution might be, there appears to be a strong feeling in France that the government is not doing enough to protect its citizens from terrorism, and that feeling extends also to the French-speaking region of Belgium.

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