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Paris 2015

Terrorist Attacks in Paris

We left on Monday, the 16th of November 2015 with a 6 person team for Paris, with goose bumps still running down our necks and shock about the events still in our limbs. We experienced our first surprise at the border: Against our expectations, we were not asked to show our IDs. Not at the border crossing and not at the toll station. There was an observable increase in the number of police and gendarmerie, but this was mostly as a show of presence.

At École Perceval, a large Waldorf school in Chatou, 12 kilometres from the gates of Paris, at which just four weeks earlier the congress of French Waldorf schools took place, they already awaited us and we were happy to see that our contact person and especially our volunteers were safe and sound. 

Seven of our volunteers serving in the greater Paris area were together on the said evening of 13 November 2015 in Stade de France in Saint-Denis to see the football match France-Germany, when the bombs were detonated.
We talked about their experiences, listened, and gave practical exercises to better deal with the experiences. The volunteers were relieved to come away only frightened and not injured.

With the teachers of the school, we discussed the aspects of trauma-psychology and what happens to us psychologically when we experience something traumatic. How can we as parents and teachers give children orientation, when we speak about terror? What do we say, when they ask us what good and evil are and why people do such things? It quickly becomes clear, that we cannot stop speaking of a possible peace, believing in it, and attempt it (on a small scale). Right now it is imperative to pause and reflect before going back to the order of the day.

When we drove on Tuesday morning to Paris, the inner city offered two opposing impressions: At first glance, Paris seems to be as it always is, the Eifel tower still stands and yet despite this, there was a noticeable, almost palpable, tension in the city. Everywhere one saw expressions of solidarity; the desire to not let oneself be intimidated by brutal fanatical ideologies was omnipresent.

The café terraces were noticeably empty. Like the others, we felt like we had to sit as far back as possible in the café, as if this were to make us less vulnerable. What we though also encountered were solidarity and humanity, as if the Parisians had the need to demonstrate to each other, that they stand together. When I accidently jostled a man in the crowd in front of Gare du Nord, we were both at first terribly frightened and almost fell into each others’ arms out of relief. A mix of uneasiness and “Même pas peur!” (“I am not even a bit afraid!”).
For us it is clear: We will not let ourselves be intimidated and will continue to work for a worldwide network of humanity and to create places of encounter and warm-heartedness, wherever that is possible.
In the hope, that the spiral of hate and violence does not spin further and further.

Nous sommes tous Paris! - We are all Paris!

Susanna Rech-Bigot

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    NOTE: Annual Emergency Pedagogy Conference 2019

    From 20 to 23 June 2019, the eighth annual emergency pedagogical conference will take place in the premises of the Parzival Centre in Karlsruhe.
    Under the title "Emergency pedagogy - How pedagogy can help injured (children's) souls", we will focus on the basis of emergency pedagogy at our next annual conference.

    Program and further information

Friends of Waldorf Education

Emergency Pedagogy
Karlsruhe Office
Parzivalstraße 2b
76139 Karlsruhe
Tel +49 (0)721 20111-144
Fax + 49 (0)721 20111-180
notfallpaedagogik[at]freunde-waldorf.de

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