Contributing Op-Ed Writer: France’s Cult of Fearlessness

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Tyler Hicks/The New York Times

Paris — SINCE a attacks dual weeks ago, I’ve been avoiding supermarkets — that seem like intensity targets — and doing many of my selling during a minimarket. The assistant there, a immature male from Mali, keeps revelation me not to be afraid.

“They’re not going to make me change my life,” he pronounced of a attackers. “I’ll go wherever we want.”

I’ve been removing this harangue all a time. “You can't be afraid, Madame,” pronounced a lady who runs one of my daughter’s extracurricular activities, when we didn’t uncover adult shortly after a attacks.

In Paris these days, it’s not stylish to acknowledge that you’re terrified. Almost immediately after a shootings, signs and hashtags seemed observant “même pas peur” — a kind of stadium intone definition “you don’t shock me.”

“We contingency uncover these assassins that we’re not afraid, that we’re stability to live,” pronounced a 72-year-old crooner Johnny Hallyday, famous as a French Elvis. He added: “If we weren’t a singer, we would take adult arms and go quarrel them.”

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Cafes are full — or half full — of Parisians proof that a terrorists haven’t won.

The French primary apportion tweeted a Friday before last,“Tonight, loyal to themselves, a people of Paris are during outside cafes, and they don’t give in,” adding a hashtag #Parisisaparty.

I find it tough to join this cult of fearlessness. How could we not be afraid? Every time we pass a cafe, we suppose it being stormed by group with Kalashnikovs. we travel around Paris feeling a mix of vertigo and dread.

I’m not a usually one who feels this way, of course. Parisians won’t acknowledge that they go to a gym, let alone that they’re frightened of terrorists. In New York, you’re speedy to be confessional and neurotic; in Paris you’re ostensible to be stern and discreet.

This ease might also be partly pharmaceutical. Even before a attacks, scarcely a third of a French race took anti-anxiety pills or identical medications, possibly frequently or on occasion. (The enemy were apparently holding an amphetamine called Captagon, that creates we feel almighty and fearless.)

There are cracks in France’s intrepid facade. The inhabitant producers’ kinship estimated that sheet sales for concerts and some other shows in Paris were down 80 percent. It’s unexpected easy to arrange indoor play dates for kids; many families no longer spend weekends during parks or museums. A crony confessed to me while dropping off her daughter that she had been carrying moments of “disintegration.”

The fear isn’t cramped to Paris. Local newspapers opposite France have been profiling a victims from their regions. A new essay in Le Monde pronounced that, forward of subsequent month’s spontaneous elections, domestic meetings around a nation have turn spontaneous group-therapy sessions, with celebration activists deliberating their stress about safety.

The famous French melancholy about a destiny has been transposed by a “fear of a present,” a essay said. While a attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Jan were mostly directed during journalists, there’s a clarity now that anyone could be a target. By late this week, there seemed to be fewer cries of “même pas peur.”

I’m not dauntless in a best of times. Maybe I’m generally spooked now given — until recently — we spent my workdays in cafes, where we can lay for hours for a cost of a singular espresso. Around my neighborhood, I’m famous as a American who talks to her mechanism while she types. The few times I’ve finished this given a attacks, I’ve spent many of a time wondering either my laptop would inhibit a bullet.

Some foreigners we know are holding condolence in statistics: Even after a attacks, a Paris segment has fewer murders than New York City. “I’m from Alabama,” a musician we know said. “Why would we be fearful of this?”

Others have retreated into a kind of sensitive superstition: I’ve been told, variously, that a Metro is safe, though not a commuter train; that Paris is safer than ever for a subsequent 6 months, while a terrorists regroup; and that restaurants are protected as prolonged as they don’t have outside seating.

The many useful thing I’ve review was a children’s journal that explained how to be “stronger than a fear.” A child psychiatrist suggested essay down what you’re fearful of to get some stretch from it. “It’s as if you’re putting a fear subsequent to you,” he explained. “You’ll see it some-more clearly.”

A mishap dilettante told me it helps to do something constructive; I’ve sealed adult for a first-aid course, that is a start. I theory we’re all ostensible to get used to vital in a some-more dangerous world. A crony told me she woke adult one morning a few days ago and only said, regulating a somewhat stronger word, “Screw it, I’m not going to be fearful anymore.”

I’ll give that a try tomorrow.