During times of crisis people come together to find peace, to show support and to send the message that we are strong enough to endure what befalls us. Sheffield University did just that …

 

On Monday, students at the University of Sheffield gathered to commemorate the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday in a candle-lit vigil. The event was jointly hosted by the Le Cercle Français and the Amnesty International society in aid of the 129 people killed by Islamic extremists.

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The vigil, which over 800 people attended, was led with speeches in both English and French. A three-minute silence was also held in aid of the families who lost relatives on Friday and for many of the injured who are receiving life-saving medical care after this horrific incident.

Candles were lit and handed out in procession to the crowds who throughout observed a considerate and attentive silence to the kind words spoken.

Third Year, Aerospace Engineering student, George Hull, commented that: ‘It was nice to see so many people come together and show support at a time when there seems to be so much bloodshed and conflict in the world’.

References were also made to the recent suicide bombings committed in Beirut which killed 41 people. Mainstream media in the wake of the Paris attacks has been criticised for ignoring the event which was also coordinated by the Islamic State.

This was not the case last night, however, as students including the International Students’ officer, Peggy Lim Pei Qi, called for solidarity with the French, Lebanese, Syrian and Iraqi people.

Since Friday, France has launched a fresh round of aerial attacks on the Islamic State forces in Syria following François Hollande’s declared commitment to destroying the terrorist group. French and Belgian investigators are currently searching for other conspirators who may have connections to Brussels.

The small police presence at the vigil, including the university’s own security officers most probably reflected concerns of a possible outbreak of violence against migrants in Britain in association with the attack.

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There was, however, no tense atmosphere at the Sheffield Students’ Union; only a compassionate expression of solidarity with those who lost their lives in these horrific attacks. Once again, the University of Sheffield has lived up to its respectable image as a diverse institution capable of such honourable gestures.