International student from France Candice Farel hosted a vigil Saturday night to mourn the lives of the approximately 129 people killed in Paris on Friday in terrorist attacks by the Islamic State also known as ISIL or ISIS.
The event was held at fourth-year political science major Farel’s home on Del Playa Drive where approximately 50 people attended to honor the victims of the attacks. Attendees carried a French flag and walked to the end of the street to release a lantern over the ocean.
Farel said she organized the vigil for individuals affected by the attacks to come together.
“We needed to do something to wash the pain from us, but also to show that even if we’re not in France, we are still here,” Farel said. “It was important to us.”
We could have been there if we weren’t here for the exchange program … This could have been us.
–International Student from France Maxine Lefebvre
International student from France and third-year global studies major Toki Awonuga said people need to “stand united” against terrorism and not blame attacks on any religion.
“There is no religion, not the Quran, not Christianity, not Buddhism, not any religion that allows murdering, killing and such actions,” Awonuga said.
Farel said terrorism is something society needs to “conquer.”
“We have to show a message of peace to show everyone that terrorism is just a small piece of a bad thing,” Farel said. “We are numerous, we are the masses and we are here to protect our rights.”
International student from France and third-year gender studies major Mayalen Etcheverry, who helped organize the vigil to help foster solidarity with France in I.V., said it is difficult being so far from France as the country recovers from the attacks.
“We want to create a bubble with anybody who wants to come in just to support all the people who got touched by these attacks and to feel as if we are home with our loved ones,” Etcheverry said. “We needed to do something.”
Farel said the vigil was meant to honor not only the victims of the Paris attacks, but all lives lost to acts of terrorism.
“We represent everyone,” Farel said. “This is not just about France.”
International student from France and fourth-year statistical science major Maxine Lefebvre said violence like that which occurred in Paris on Friday is a reality for many people living in parts of the Middle East.
“Let’s not forget that some people in Syria and Iraq are living this every day for years. We need to care,” Lefebvre said.
Lefebvre said any of the French international students studying at UC Santa Barbara could easily have been in or near the 10th arrondissement and 11th arrondissement of Paris where the attacks occurred.
“We could have been there if we weren’t here for the exchange program,” Lefebvre said. “This could have been us.”