On Friday evening, French authorities confirm that terrorists launched coordinated attacks in six different locations across Paris.
The attacks killed more than 128 people and injured hundreds more, more than half of whom are in critical condition. Officials report that these numbers will fluctuate as more information comes in.
It was the deadliest attack in France since World War II, and the rest of the world could do nothing but watch with horror as innocent people lost their lives.
As we’re swarmed with information, surrounded by horrific words and images depicting nothing but bloodshed and grief, it’s easy to let the darkness cloud the corners of our vision until we see nothing but hopelessness.
But in the wake of such senseless terror, let us remember that people are good. People are really, truly, good.
The hashtag #PortOuverte surfaced on Twitter in the early stages of the attacks, when the city was still swarming in chaos.
“If you are in Paris and you need shelter, find someone using the hashtag ‘PorteOuverte’. People are offering shelter. Stay safe!” one account tweeted.
Hundreds (if not thousands) of Twitter users utilized the hashtag to invite those in the city who might “need help or a place to sleep” into the safety of their homes.
Port Ouverte. In French, it means Open Door.
At a time when no one knew what places were safe, before it was even clear how many attacks had occurred or if there would be more, Parisians were opening their doors without hesitation to people they did not know. They welcomed complete strangers off of the street, feeding them and letting them sleep in their beds and on their couches and floors. They showed a trust and solidarity far more powerful than any cruel act of violence could ever be.
In another display of kindness, Taxi drivers turned off their meters in the City of Lights that night. With an emergency curfew (the first since 1944) in place and most public transportation suspended, cab drivers – the only hope for some – bravely shuttled people to safety with no expectation of payment.
Humanity can raise its head in the face of unspeakable evil.
These are just a few examples of the way the world rallied around the people of Paris when they needed it most, steadfast and unrelenting with love and support. It is the smallest glimpse of the way humanity can raise its head in the face of unspeakable evil and shout, in unison, that goodness will always win.
Our thoughts will stay with the people in Paris as they begin to put the pieces of their lives back together.