Saturday, March 24, 2012

France - Toulouse pays tribute to shooting victims

Published on Mar 23, 2012 by A minute of silence was observed at midday on Friday in Toulouse to remember those killed in the shootings that horrified France and the world.

The names of the slain soldiers of North African origin and the Rabbi and three murdered Jewish children were read out.

The gathering outside City Hall was also a public rejection of racism and anti-Semitism and a sign that people of all backgrounds can come together.

A day after the deadly climax to the siege, Mohamed Merah's neighbours are struggling to come to terms with everything that has happened.

Pascaline Mariaye, who had just moved out, says she is shocked at having lived near a man like that.

"Like many people, I would have preferred him to explain his actions and be punished like any other criminal," she said. "It was fate that it wasn't going to be that way, so there you go."

Another neighbour, Mrs Close, said: "It is hard because he is a monster but he is also a 23-year-old who got himself killed like that."

Merah's death has not lifted the sadness around the Jewish school where what should have been an ordinary Monday morning ended in a massacre.

"It won't change anything, dead or alive, it won't bring our children back," said a man, giving his name as Maurice, who goes to the school to pray.

"He wanted to die so it is too easy for him," said Justine Ribes, 16. "He got what he wanted. The little ones and the soldiers, they didn't ask for anything. They didn't want to die."

But here too, communities are supporting each other. Among the flowers left outside the school is a bouquet from Muslim parents in Toulouse.


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