EiffelTower_REV_P1“Solidarity exhibited around the world” by Christina Selander Bouzouina, Honorary Consul of France in Minnesota and Executive Director of the Alliance Française de Minneapolis/St. Paul. © 2015 Christina Selander Bouzouina. Published with permission. All rights reserved. Remarks given at the Basilica of Saint Mary, Minneapolis, Minnesota, November 15, 2015.

On behalf of the French community, thank you for this tremendous outpouring of support.

We are grateful for the solidarity exhibited around the world. Thank you to the Basilica of Saint Mary for gathering us together, uniting our community—whatever our faiths may be—in this time of grief.

Our community’s compassion, your compassion, the way you share in the pain and sorrow of France is critical to the mourning process. For French citizens abroad, witnessing such barbaric attacks on our Capital is simply unreal, much in the way September 11 seemed impossible and a nightmare that never ended.

As French Ambassador Gérard Araud said last night in Washington, our two countries “are not just allies, but friends.” A friend sharing our disbelief, our tears, and our commitment to peace.

President François Holland told us on November 14:

“France is strong, and even if she is wounded, she will rise once again. Even if we are in grief, nothing will destroy her. France is strong, valiant and will defeat this barbarism. What we defend is our homeland and much more than that, it is our own values of humanity.” François Hollande, President of France

Among the many victims, we mourn Pierre-Antoine. Pierre-Antoine was 36 years old and didn’t come home from the concert on Friday night. His wife, Liselie, is now left to raise their children, Elisa and Charline alone. How does one explain to a 5-year-old and a two-year-old questions no parent, anywhere the world, should have to answer?

Not in Paris, not in Beirut, not in Bagdad.

As we combat terrorism on a global scale, it is essential that we remain united in diversity. Without tolerance there will be no peace. Only together, united, can we defeat these enemies of peace.


Christina Selander Bouzouina
Honorary Consul of France in Minnesota

Acknowledgements: Lee Murphy, student of new media communications at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and copy editor for A Woman’s Paris.

CSBElysee copy verticalChristina Selander Bouzouina, Honorary Consul of France in Minnesota, and Executive Director of the Alliance Française-Minneapolis/St. Paul. Born and raised in Minneapolis, Christina moved to Europe after college.  After living in London and Montpellier, she spent nearly 9 years in Marseille, working as an English teacher and program coordinator in lycées and universities as well as several private institutions. Upon her return to Minnesota, she joined Alliance Française de Minneapolis/St. Paul, where she became Executive Director in 2008. Christina was appointed Honorary Consul of France in Minnesota in 2014 and was named Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques in 2015. For more information visit: (Alliance Française-Minneapolis/St. Paul) (bonjour@afmsp.org) or call (612) 332-0436.

From A Woman’s Paris®:

How horrible Friday night, November 13, in Paris! We offer our sincere condolences to Paris. Our heart goes out to those who have suffered in Paris and communities worldwide; we are deeply saddened by the loss.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité “liberty, equality, fraternity,” is the national motto of France and the Republic of Haiti. How true this is to our experiences with French friends, expatriates and colleagues living in France and around the world.

Take care. Be well. Tell us that you and your family and friends are safe.

Love to all,

Barbara Redmond
Publisher, AWomansParis.com
A Woman’s Paris®

Text copyright ©2015 Christina Selander Bouzouina. All rights reserved.
Illustrations copyright ©Barbara Redmond. All rights reserved.