10 Quotes That Capture The Horror And Complexity Of Paris Attacks

The terrorist attacks shook the world, producing shocked, saddened and angry responses.

A series of coordinated terrorist attacks that left at least 129 dead and 99 critically injured in Paris on Friday night has sparked mass outrage, angst and grief. The attacks have also led to questions about the way in which countries, individuals and religions are confronting threats posed by religious extremism.

Below are 10 quotes from the attacks and its aftermath that underscore the horror of the event and the complex challenges faced in its wake.


It was terrifying. There was lots of screaming, lots of panic, lots of blood. People threw themselves to the ground but then they just started firing at random at the people on the ground. That was when I thought we had to get out. We were around five metres from the stage, so we hid behind a speaker, then we ran backstage to the dressing rooms. We could still hear rounds and rounds of gunfire as we ran up flights of stairs and someone forced a trap door open onto the roof. A man from a neighbouring building took us into his apartment. There were 40 of us in the flat. We heard the shots. Later we heard the load bang of the police assault. I was separated from my son who was in a different apartment and I now just want to find him.

-- Frédéric Nowak, via The Guardian

It lasted for ten minutes. Ten minutes ... ten horrific minutes where everybody was on the floor covering their head. We heard so many gunshots and the terrorists were very calm, very determined. They reloaded three or four times their weapons. They didn't shout anything. They didn't say anything. They were unmasked and wearing black clothes and they were shooting at people on the floor, executing them ...

... I have some friends right now who are still inside the theater who are hiding, because they are not sure if there are still terrorists in there, and they are hiding in some kind of room in the dark. They texted me, and they are very afraid, of course, and they are waiting for the police to intervene, but it's been over two hours now. This is terrible. What happened was terrible, horrific. I mean, honestly, 15 minutes, 10 minutes of gunshots firing randomly in a small concert room.

-- Julien Pearce, via CNN

We cannot leave, Paris is at war.

-- @notkerouac, who attended the France-Germany soccer match on Friday night, outside of which an explosion took place 


Truthfully, I can’t imagine how it doesn’t change [the administration's] approach. When you give this kind of organization this much freedom of movement and go after it this incrementally, people shouldn’t be surprised by things like the aircraft bombing.

-- Michael E. Leiter, former director of the National Counterterrorism Center under former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, via The New York Times

During the debate last week, I stated that we should not admit those claiming to be Syrian refugees and was condemned by the left for that position. I was right and the events in Paris affirm that. Even the far left and politically correct government of France has closed its borders.

-- Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R)
The refugees you shamefully blame merely flee what made you tremble tonight. Except they do it every day. 
-- @_Pourquoi, a translated tweet
Syrians left Syria in dangerous ways to live in peace, but the killers followed them to Europe.
-- Moaz Shaklab, a businessman from the Syrian city of Homs who settled in France two years ago as a refugee, via BuzzFeed
Europe today is in crisis -- much greater crisis than France. The social fabric of Europe is coming apart. The eurozone is not going to crumble, I don’t think we are going to see lots of countries leave Europe. What it means to be Europe, the idea of shared values that matter more than just the economic interests of creating a common market -- that is going away and so is the transatlantic relationship, which is at its weakest -- the alliance -- at any point certainly since the Soviet Union has crumbled …

-- Ian Bremmer, via Facebook

Attacks like the ones tonight in Paris are committed to purposely trigger an Islamophobic backlash. That backlash is not an unintended consequence of such attacks, it is part of their logic. ISIS types want an Islamophobic backlash because it lends credence to their narrative that there is a war between the West and Islam. By strengthening and emboldening the xenophobic right-wing in Europe, they strengthen their own worldview as well. And the most tragic irony is that that backlash may target refugees who themselves had been fleeing ISIS' reign of terror. Thoughts with everyone in Paris tonight. May the forces who wish to beget an apocalyptic "war of civilizations" be defeated.

-- Nader Atassi, via Facebook

The cab ride I just had home was the saddest 25 minutes I’ve experienced from another human being. This Muslim cab driver said I was his 1st customer the past 2 hours tonight because of the Attacks in Paris. People have been scared because of NYC being on high alert. For 25 minutes, I had to tell this stranger, this human being like you & I, that he was not a part of what was happening and how sorry I was people were looking at him with fear or anger.

He cried the whole way to my apartment and it made me cry too. He kept saying, “Allah, my God does not believe in this! People think I’m a part of this and I’m not. Nobody wants to drive with me because they feel unsafe. I can’t even do my job."

It was one of the most heartbreaking moments I’ve ever experienced in my whole life. He was such a sweet guy, around my age. He couldn’t have been older than 25. 

-- @alexmalloyy, via Twitter