Last Friday, Paris was struck by six coordinated terrorist attacks, killing at least 129 people and injuring over 350 others, according to multiple news outlets. Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old student from CSU Long Beach, was one of the victims of the terror.
The Nov. 13 attacks were orchestrated to target cosmopolitan spaces, such as cafes, restaurants, the Bataclan concert hall and Stade de France. Three explosions occurred directly outside the soccer match that was taking place between France and Germany, where French President François Hollande in attendance.
Assailants were allegedly members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and two suspects were killed initially while seven others were arrested. This prompted airstrikes in Syria on Monday night by French military in coordination with US forces. The suspected ringleader of the attacks, along with two of his affiliates, was killed in a police raid early Wednesday morning in a suburb outside of Paris. In the wake of all of this, at least 21 US state governors have said they will not accept refugees from Syria in order to re-evaluate security processes.
“UCSC has 13 students studying in Paris through the UC Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) as well as others in other parts of France,” said Guy Lasnier of the UCSC Public Affairs and Communications office in an email. “Each one was contacted Friday night and Saturday and are safe and accounted for. In fact all UCEAP students in Paris, including from other UCs, are safe and accounted for.”
Classes at the UC Center in Paris resumed on Monday with a noticeably heightened security presence.
“The entire city is on edge after this, and things simply do not feel the same,” said Jason Tomczak in an email. Tomczak is a UCSC student studying abroad in Paris through UCEAP.
France is currently in a state of emergency, which can last up to 12 days according to French law. This means increased security measures at schools, airports and train stations, stricter border control and a temporary ban on public gatherings. A state of emergency also allows for the establishment of curfews, restricting free movement of people and vehicles and searching homes without a warrant.
Support for victims of the attacks has reached a global level. International monuments like Christ the Redeemer in Brazil or the Sydney Opera House in Australia lit up with the blue, white and red of the Tricolore in solidarity against terror and in memory of those who were lost.
California experienced its own memorial on Sunday, when thousands of people attended a candlelight vigil in memory of CSU student Nohemi Gonzalez, who was murdered during her time studying abroad.
“The attacks in Paris two days ago only seem to confirm what many of us already know, that we live in a very uncertain world and even the most innocent among us are at risk when doing nothing more than living daily lives,” said Carmen Taylor, the Vice President for Student Affairs at CSU Long Beach, to an audience of 2,000 mourning students, family and community members. “That’s all Nohemi Gonzalez was doing when she found herself in the middle of some senseless act of violence that had nothing to do with her. Still, it was an act that claimed the life of a vibrant 23-year-old student here at our university.”