In the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris yesterday, an as-yet unidentified man played John Lennon’s “Imagine” this morning outside of the Bataclan concert hall. According to multiple reports, including one from People Magazine, the musician towed his peace-sign-decorated grand piano to the scene of some of the worst carnage of the November 13 attacks with a bicycle, sat down quietly, and without further preamble, played “Imagine.”
The crowd of onlookers surrounding the pianist appeared awed and stunned. When he finished “Imagine,” presumably a homage to the lives lost and the survivors who are forever changed, he stood quietly, wiped his face, and left. The area outside the Bataclan concert hall has been turned into a makeshift memorial for the estimated 80-100 people who lost their lives their last night. The concert hall was overtaken by terrorists, presumably with ties to ISIS, which has claimed responsibility for the Paris attacks.
The Bataclan, where the nameless pianist played an emotional and poignant rendition of “Imagine,” is one of several areas of Paris that have been turned into memorial sites, or sites of remembrance. Citizens and visitors to the traumatized city alike have found places to come together and share their grief, to deposit wreaths and flowers and notes to honor the dead.
Both private citizens and journalists, who congregated in the area where the lone “Imagine” singer played, were in awe of the performance. One journalist who witnessed the impromptu rendition of such an apt song had only a few words to say, reported Dead State.
“What a moment.”
What a moment, indeed. A moment Paris, France and the entire world were sorely in need of in the wake of such senseless violence. While “Imagine” played, authorities in France were still investigating the details of the attacks that killed over 120 people and left scores more injured, many of them critically. Families in France and around the world waited for word of their loved ones. France remained in a State of Emergency. The borders remained closed. While “Imagine” played, tensions between the Muslim population and the non-Muslim population in France escalated, again.
However, as so often happens in the wake of terrible tragedies, whether natural or man-made, the people of France and their supporters around the world united in solidarity. Something evidenced by “Imagine” being played at one of the scenes of the attacks. When news of the attacks broke, social media exploded with messages of horror and outrage but mostly messages of love and support for the people of France.
Don't allow this horrific act allow you to be drawn into the loss of your humanity or tolerance. That is the intended outcome. #ParisAttacks— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 14, 2015
The world responded in kind, lighting up monuments in the colors of France’s flag in support of the survivors and to memorialize the deceased.
This while Paris did something unprecedented.
In addition, the hashtags #PorteOuverte (“open door”) and #strandedinUS began to circulate on social media. The trends took off so that people with room to spare could offer places to stay to those in need. In essence, they’ve become a grassroots effort to ease the burden of those stranded due to the closing of France’s borders or other hardships associated with Friday’s terror attacks. While all of this was happening, an unidentified pianist planned to play “Imagine.”
If anybody trying to get to France is stuck in Prestwick, you are welcome at my home. #PorteOuverte— Marsi (@DMHull) November 14, 2015
Martin used to be said "Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." and French people have already proved me through #PorteOuverte— Tharanya М. (@PARPRAEAF7) November 14, 2015
In addition to the public support for victims of this tragedy, charitable organizations have gotten in the mix as well. The French Red Cross has mobilized, putting hundreds of pairs of boots on the ground to help where help is needed the most. They are accepting donations to assist in the aftermath of the terror attacks on Friday. If you are in the Paris area and can’t donate cash, you can help the wounded survivors with a blood donation to the French National Blood Service.
While “Imagine” played, the people of France displayed their spirit, even amid the tragedy and uncertainty. Private citizens and the media alike were reminded of the humanity behind the carnage. People of the world were already working together to overcome their oppressors. People found the strength to resist their anger. While “Imagine” played, terrorism was once again overcome by hope and love.
[Image via prayforparis/YouTube]