When are we REALLY safe?

The cursor is blinking and the voices are quiet. The music is playing, Ibrahim Maalouf’s melancholic piano soundtrack, breaking the heavy the silence hovering in my living room. This is one of those posts where the words are not flowing. One of those posts where feelings are still struggling to find their rightful place. Am I sad or am I angry? Am I shocked or am I afraid?

Paris has entered 3 days of mourning but a small part of me can’t help but snicker at this announcement. As if 3 days were enough. As if 3 days is all the time we’ve got before we should just suck it up and move on with our lives. For most of us, moving on will be easier, of course. We will spend some time reflecting on this atrocity and we will stare into the void until our eyes can no longer tell the foreground from the background. We will ask ourselves why. Shout it from within, a string of silent, deafening cries. Why?

What is wrong with us? What can be so wrong with us that we refuse to learn from our mistakes? When did taking a human life become a means of conveying a message? A long time ago, you will tell me. So long we have forgotten when it all began. An impure act, lost in the mists of time.


Photo taken during my recent visit.

I was in Paris less than 3 weeks ago. I have many, dear friends in Paris. Friends I have grown up with, made memories with. Friends I have laughed with, confided in, had drinks with, been to concerts with. Friends I have led normal lives with. But what is a normal life today? Going to see a rock band at the Bataclan, not to ever see the light of day again?

I spoke to my mum an hour ago. She and my grandma were heading out to the cemetery as it was Задушница (probably the equivalent of All Souls Day) last Saturday and my mum was too ill to leave the house then. Commemorating the departed seems even more painful today but then again… When is it ever painless?

Just before she left, I found out about Gatwick Airport’s evacuation of the North Terminal this morning. A suspicious bag was found and a man allegedly armed with a gun was arrested. I am not working today but I was there two days ago.

Just before she left, she said to me:

“Please, stay in today.”

Is this the message they are trying to convey? Don’t you dare leave the house if you want to live? Don’t you dare go out for drinks or catch up with a friend or lead a normal life because you see? We call the shots now. We decide what is normal and you don’t get to be innocent. 

I found my Facebook flooded with empathic statuses and so much love and prayers addressed to Paris. I was also relieved that 40 of my friends were marked as “safe” during the Paris Terror Attacks. Thank you, Facebook. But when are we really safe?


Thanks for reading.
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13 responses to “When are we REALLY safe?

  1. Beautifully expressed, Elissaveta. And yes, it is what ‘they’ want – that we live in fear, that ignorance, divisiveness and prejudice are allowed to flourish. I loved the images of Parisians lining up in droves to give blood, the ones tweeting that their doors were open if people needed a place to stay. This is defiance, this is how the majority of people live, and is what we should hold onto – many standing together against the atrocities of a few. It does not mean my heart is devoid of fear, of course not – but I cannot let it overtake love and compassion.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. So much clarity, passion and heart in this post, Elissaveta. And a very good question to contemplate – when are we really safe? I’ll be sitting with it tonight…


    • Thank you, Gulara. To tell you the truth, I’m a little anxious expanding on this question. With such tragedies happening all around us, can we ever be certain about our safety and that of our friends and relatives? It is terrifying to think about…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, the truth is … we never are. We lull ourselves into a false security, another day, another distraction. It takes a great tragedy like this to wake us up to the enormity of this realisation – that ultimately we are not safe and we cannot delay living life fully until all those external conditions are perfect. So, sitting with your question this evening, I am treading uncomfortable waters. Thank you for courage to voice it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I should have probably owned that what I wrote in response is just where I am right now. And it’s different for all of us. And it’s different for me on some other day too…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hope this isn’t weighing on you too much, Gulara. It isn’t an easy reality but I hate the thought of such difficult to find safety. I much prefer at least the hint of an illusion…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. But Ellie, you’ve never been safe not since birth, and you never will be until death. Medical, incompetence, a freak of nature, storms, germs, badly built stairs, random animals, a moments lost concentration there are infinite ways you can die and random acts of violence by total stranger is a long way down the list. We don’t wear face masks on he Tube like the Japanese; are they sage or paranoid? Note the tragedy, nod to the randomness of fate and do not change your life one jot or those nutters have won their own perverted little battle. I am not complacent. We need to find a way to minimize these risks but the same goes for lift failures or anther flu virus. And by the same attitude that tells me that health and safety can go bonkers if you let it, so reacting to such an atrocity by staying in, missing work, missing an opportunity is foolish, I suggest. It makes no sense to me. Spend your energies being as good as you can and deny your mind the luxury of letting the flight response rule you. Fight it.
    Love the post btw!


    • You are so very, very right, Geoff!! I guess until such disastrous moments happen, we lure ourselves into thinking we are safe and I do like to think to some extent, we sometimes are (even if it’s just an illusion…)
      I absolutely agree with you and that is exactly what I told my mum when I could sense she was scared… but hey… how do you stop a single mum from worrying sick?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I have grappled with the question of ‘when are we ever safe’ and come to the conclusion that we aren’t but need to live as if we are. We must face our fears and live life to its fullest. Although are hearts have been broken with this senseless atrocity, the terrorists can never break our spirit. I still believe that light will win over darkness in the end. Enough already #peacefortheworld.


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