We Have Almost Nothing on the Paris Attacks (updates)

Duff gang members, Paris
Duff gang members, Paris
Duff gang members, Paris
Jane and Didier on an easier day
Jane and Didier on an easier day

… by Gordon Duff, Jim Dean and VT Paris Bureau Chief Jane Rosenstein

One day after 

Jane and Didier went out on the streets of Paris and noticed that there were not many people . All the cinemas were closed and several bars were also closed.  People heard the news on the TV and were staying close to their apartments. They felt scared to go out. The streets seemed deserted in several areas like Opera and St. Germaine de Près. 

Deaths are listed this morning at 128.

Jane and Didier from VT Paris were passing the restaurant shortly after the shootings there.  This is as close as any of us got, they thought it was a fire.  

We are gathering what we can but this is a city of 5 plus million in virtual lockdown.  Do we want to say:  “Round up the usual suspects?” We are still waiting on word from our own people in Paris, some of whom were near the unfolding events.

A few of us, Kevin and I, have lived in Paris.  Jane, an Atlanta girl, has been there for a couple of decades and keeps VT at the heart of what goes on in Paris.  We typically attend and review everything.  Tonight we were lucky.

Update notes:  18:23 Paris time.  Jane and Dedier are out doing interviews, prettymuch all that can be done, while picking up a few things as Paris shuts down.  Everything in Paris is closing including grocery stores and restaurants.

Here are Jane’s notes:

Didier and I were on a bus when we saw the firemen at the restaurant in the 10th after passing metro Charonne.  We thought it was a huge fire.  The bus drier told the passengers he would have to take a different route but would try to get us to our destinations.  It would be an adventure.

The passengers, not many as the bus was not crowded, agreed.  He turned the bus to go in the opposite direction and then told us to leave the bus.  We were near Charonne at Blvd. Voltaire and the people were running.  As we were going into the subway/metro a worker told those exiting not to go up the stairs to the right.  A British couple told us the metro did not stop at Republique. 

As an American, I consider Paris the only world city I can freely call my “home town” other than Detroit, another former French city.  For that reason, I am throwing in a few personal photos rather than anything else. We will get into this in a bit.

Duff girl gang at military cemetery outside Paris
Duff girl gang at military cemetery outside Paris
the bench outside Shakespeare and Company Book Store, the "Brit hangout" for Highlander fans
The bench outside Shakespeare and Company Book Store, the “Brit hangout” for Highlander fans

The people of Paris have our concerns and sympathy and we “have their backs” as well.  We are on this.

Initial accusations came in while the bombs were going off.  As with the Russian air disaster, the first reports can very well be red herrings.  We got two layers of them on the Sinai crash, one from Al Jazeera on the engine trouble and another by British intelligence citing Russian mechanics paid off by Saudis planting a bomb.

Both were lies and both were not innocent lies and we hope President Putin takes note of this.

As to Paris, first stories, long confirmed, tell of ISIS cells in Paris and a “declared war on France” by ISIS.  Layer two says the money supporting them comes from Qatar.  This is where we begin, following this where it goes or watching it evaporate into space.

What we also hope for the French people is that Netanyahu is not packing his bags in the near future and heading for Paris.

The date Friday the 13th has Freemasonic references in Paris but that would be October 13, not November, tied to the round up of the Knights Templar in 1307 which led to the burning alive of Jaques Demolay.  I only mention this and don’t think there is anything in it. However, the date often has meaning and we are looking for help here.

A week or so ago, the French promised to move an aircraft carrier into the region and join whatever is going on.

Notre Dame Paris
Notre Dame Paris

On a personal basis, I am going to look at Qatar and Saudi Arabia along with movement in a number of markets, never writing off economic issues.

We await identification of the terrorists but we also, to a greater extent, wait for the disinformation and obfuscation that would lead us to who is responsible.  There is no greater form of confession nowadays than the Al Jazeera confession on “Sinai.” We watch them first, they are a nasty bunch representing a thuggish nation ruled by would be James Bond bad guys.

On a personal note, Paris became American after the Great War.  Not just Hemingway or Maugham’s Razor’s Edge, my favorite the Bill Murray version, but a town that has been a haven for so many.

Where I might not always feel like defending France, Paris is something else.  I have friends there, I can always rent a filthy hovel and eek out a living writing paperback novels and selling plasma. Who could ask for more?

Back in the early days when VT was a busload instead of a dozen stadiums filled to capacity (more), we actually took trips together.  I wish we could do this again.  I would take everyone to “my Paris.”

Everyone has their own “Paris.”  Mine are the two or three neighborhoods I have lived in, they call them arrondissements.   There are open air market days, everyone has their own preferred bakery, tabac and hole in the wall cafe.  I have an “olive guy” and a “soap guy,” even a “fish guy.”

In Paris, you can, no matter how semi-notorious, take the battery out of your phone, go “cash” and totally disappear.  When done for the right reasons, peace and security, stopping time, it is a good thing.

Paris is that open.  Now this openness is going to end, cameras will be everywhere like London, parking a car will be even more impossible and there will be fear.

Things have been bad enough, idiot politicians, no real jobs, Parisians never curb their dogs, and crazy Americans like me are everywhere, speaking bad French and driving up rents.

We are not “Charlie,” we never were but we are all Parisians and today we bleed and suffer with our brothers and sisters.




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Jane Rosenstein is a U.S. citizen living in Paris, France. She is a professional translator/interpreter. She is the owner of The International Connection which does international marketing consultation including sales of wine, interpretation, and translation. She enjoys the cultural life that living in Paris offers and has talents in organizing events. She speaks English, French, and Spanish. She has a B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.B.A. degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, GA.