Paris attacks: French native and NU alum asks ‘Why?’

Nov 17, 2015

Newman University alumnus Robin Allard ’14 was just one hour away from being another victim of the recent Paris terrorist attacks.

The first location of the Paris attacks occurred at the Stade de France at 9:20 p.m. local time. The attacks were carried out by suicide bombers in a series of deadly explosions.

From Boulogne-Billancourt just outside Paris, Allard tells his story as the events unfolded on Friday, Nov. 13.

Robin Allard '14
Robin Allard ’14

I live in Boulogne-Billancourt which is 15 minutes away from the Stade de France where the soccer game was being played. I was supposed to meet friends in a bar near the stadium to watch the game. Fortunately for me, I was pretty tired after giving some English lessons in Paris so around 8:15 p.m. I went back home to watch the game on TV. I was one hour away [from being] at the wrong place at the wrong moment. I got pretty lucky and I am also happy that my friends went to a different bar (10 minutes away from the attacks) so nothing happened to them either.

I was watching the game (France vs Germany) and heard the two bombings on TV … but I did not think it was anything different from usual loud noise during soccer games.

When I was about to fall asleep, my brother sent me a text asking if I was doing okay and if I was safe. I turned on the TV and watched the news while hearing the police and firefighters driving down the street where I live. I could not sleep.

The next day we were not allowed to leave our apartments and houses. It was very scary and I did not feel safe at all so I stayed home all Saturday long.

The map below shows the location of Allard’s home in Boulogne-Billancourt (A) in relation to the Stade de France.

Allard’s reaction

I have to say I am very angry at those people. I mean – it is stupid to ask that but, “Why?” What is it bringing them? Except revenge? They kill in the name of Allah who clearly forbids to kill others. Unfortunately, this will bring people to generalize these attacks to all Muslims which is completely stupid.

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 16: A man weeps for a lost friend as people gather to observe a minute-silence at the Place de la Republique.
A man mourning a lost loved one at the Place de la Republique in Paris, France. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

It is very hard to read stories from the ones who survived, about the ones who did not, to see pictures, videos of the attacks … It could have happened to me or anyone else, it happened so quickly. It is just sick.

Seeing all the support we have had during the weekend and now still means a lot to me and all French people. I never thought we would see such a big support and it is so nice to see that!

Robin Allard graduated from Newman University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Sports Communication. Allard played on the soccer team and was a student worker in the University Relations Department, where he wrote articles for Newman University news publications, including this news website.

Feature Image: “Marianne the Goddess of Liberty” stands with “Liberty Enlightening the World,” more commonly known as “The Statue of Liberty.” “Marianne” is a long-standing national symbol of the French Republic, with depictions of her common in government buildings and on official French documents and postage stamps. “Liberty Enlightening the World,” a gift to America by France in 1876, has many similarities to “Marianne.”