On Friday 13 November 2015, the night of a series of co-ordinated terrorist attacks, Paul Stephenson was at home in Paris. Though unharmed, he was, like the whole population of the city, swept into a blizzard of fearful publicity and alarm. And then there was the aftermath. The Days That Followed Paris made its way onto paper in the first four weeks, an attempt—in many shapes and forms—to record and respond.
But how can personal experience be rationalised when it’s also a global news phenomenon? Is tragedy ‘lived’ through social media, or cheapened by it? What can possibly be learned? Emotion is collected here, and recollected too, but not in tranquillity.
Facebook knows my whereabouts:
It looks like you’re in the area affected
by the Paris Terror Attacks.
I am asked to check-in.
I am asked to confirm I’m safe.
It appears on the feed.
Friday night and within an hour
I’ve received sixty ‘likes’. I feel sick
at the attention, the show of concern.
Julie is safe.
Nicolas is safe.
Amy is safe.
Xavier is safe.
Ricardo is safe.
Scott is safe.
Kate is safe.
Emily is safe.
Jason has yet to confirm.
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