Saturday, May 20, 2017

Special Forces guy protecting bagel store
I almost broke my arm when I hurried back from work and rode the scooter bike too fast. I took a short cut through an oyster stand on the street corner and my front wheel slipped on an empty shell. I was lucky to escape unhurt and the oyster man helped me back on my wheels. I collected the empty lunchbox that was ejected from my handbag by the shock and had found its way to the oysters.

It was one of those cloudless starry evenings. A couple of white swans followed each other down the Seine River while I rode across the bridge. Illuminated buildings looked golden contrasting the black velvet sky and the black flowing water. An armed patrol of six soldiers in camouflaged battledress had stopped in the middle of the bridge to admire the view without loosening their grip from their semi-automatic rifles, deeply touched by the beauty of their new battlefield. I couldn’t help thinking that they wouldn’t be like that on this bridge now without Dietrich von Choltitz, the general who disobeyed Hitler’s orders in 1944. He was supposed to destroy Paris but even a career military officer can have such a strong affection for this magnificent city that he risked his life and reputation for it. 
Since the beginning of the Paris terrorist attacks around six thousand soldiers patrol the streets of Paris every day. Their main duty is to secure monuments and railway stations. Most soldiers come from the countryside and some of them have never been in the city of lights before. They can be as lost in Paris’s streets as in a foreign country. After the terrorist attacks most of the soldiers patrolling the streets of Paris are sent by the Ultramarines legion or the Carcassonne parachutist troops. But then again I wonder how a Special Forces guy feels standing all day long in front of a Jewish bagel store.

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