Paris is known as the City of Light, and tonight the people of Paris shone their lights brightly to help their fellow man after a horrific series of suspected terrorist attacks.
According to French Deputy Mayor, at least 118 people are dead and dozens are wounded. Around 9:30 p.m. local time, shooting erupted amidst several cafés with outdoor terraces, and just moments later explosions were heard. Hostages were allegedly taken at the Bataclan concert hall, though reports vary on the number of people being held.
In the midst of the violence, people throughout Paris and the surrounding cities began firing off tweets, offering their homes to anyone on the streets who might not have shelter. They’re using the hashtag #PorteOuverte, which literally means “open door,” and many are tweeting in multiple languages in case those reading don’t speak French.
Anybody who’s stranded in Paris and needs shelter and somewhere safe, any Sikh Gurdwara (temple) will be happy to accommodate #PorteOuverte
— Rohan (@RohanSinghKalsi) November 13, 2015
— Julien Philippe (@JulienPhilippe_) November 14, 2015
You’re welcome to our home if you’re afraid of going home through Paris and are near La Vilette #porteouverte
— Them Games (@ThemGames) November 13, 2015
Many are also tweeting that taxis have turned off their meters for the evening and will take anyone to safety free of charge.
In reading through the hundreds of tweets from people opening their homes and offering their help to perfect strangers, I’m reminded of the Mr. Rogers quote I always see floating around in times of tragedy: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always see people who are helping.'”
What happened in Paris today is horrific, and tragic details are still pouring out as we all try to make sense of what’s going on. Still, the tweets using this hashtag remind us that there is good, that there is hope, and that we are all brothers and sisters. Our hearts go out to Paris tonight. May everyone find open doors, safety, shelter, and love.