Erschuetterung: Uber Den Terror (We Are Not Afraid)
Gila Lustiger is an eminent German writer who has been based in Paris for many years and regularly comments on French culture and current affairs in the German press. In this 150-page essay, she makes an honest, analytical and heartfelt enquiry into the recent terrorist attacks that shook France and Europe.
Inviting the reader to join her in her attempts to make sense of the catastrophic events, Lustiger draws upon past and present occurrences of terrorism and incorporates a wide range of opinions – from her own to those of the media world, the Jewish community, psychologists and philosophers – building a rounded and well-informed picture of the attacks, their causes and the aftermath.
The essay touches upon much more than just terrorism; it looks deeply into the French social system, the school system, the discrepancy in wealth and the inequality present in everyday life. Amidst the descriptions of terror, pain and death, Lustiger manages to end her essay on a hopeful, humane and loving note: a conversation between her and a friend who tells her that she recently hugged a Muslim man, whose eyes were covered and who held a sign stating ‘free hugs’, while bystanders formed a circle and applauded.