Helping those Affected by the Paris Terror Attacks

Eiffel Tower lit up in red, white and blueFor the past ten days, my attention has been captured by the almost continuous press coverage of the Paris terrorist atrocity on Friday the 13th. Like most people, I was horrified at what unfolded. Sitting in Australia, I assumed I was powerless to help and at some point, pulled myself away from the television to get on with life. I really hate feeling powerless. It makes me feel lethargic, fuels my desire for chocolate and Seinfeld re-runs. And I know I am not alone. I then went to work Monday to make a relaxation recording for the School of Self Esteem.

The School of Self Esteem uses Audio Relaxation Recordings to help people reduce their fear and anxiety. You see, when people are thinking about starting to tackle their personal problems, some are overwhelmed with anxiety, which stops them getting started. If they do start, their fear often pushes them to quit. I’ve found these recordings to be amazingly effective in helping people.

Whilst making the recording, it occurred to me that terrorist events cause fear, panic and anxiety in people generally and such a recording would be ideal to help those affected. This simple idea brought out the energy needed for action. But I was immediately struck by an obvious obstacle – I don’t speak French and surely helping Parisians could only effectively happen if the recording was in French. As fortune would have it, I knew a Frenchman had recently started working in the same building as me. I hadn’t met him yet, but the seed was planted in my mind as to how to tackle this.

Click to Listen in English:

Cliquez ici pour écouter en français:

I recorded a demo in English and got some friends to give me feedback. This included that a male voice might be a bit too strong for some people and a female voice might work better for women. OK… so I needed the help of a French translator and female to do the voiceovers. I wasn’t deterred by the problem despite the fact that I didn’t have an immediate solution.

OK … with the backing track done and script in English, on Monday morning I introduced myself to Hugues, a Frenchman who is new to Sydney and works in the same office building as me. He was just thankful some one had approached him and broached the topic as he was feeling isolated in a foreign country while ‘Paris was burning’. He listened to the English recording, was impressed and wanted to help. Hugues volunteered to translate the script into French and do the male voice over. Despite recently arriving in Australia, not having met me before and being snowed under with work, he worked back into the night to make this happen. Bravo mate.Paris mourners with a sign, "Not Afraid"

Then we needed a French female voice. Hmmm. Where do I find that at short notice? When in doubt, turn to Google. And presto, I found Isabelle in France and she agreed to a vastly discounted rate. 24 hours later she had produced a professionally recorded French female voice over. However the feedback was, it was delivered a little fast. I then went through the recording, the English script side by side with the French one, and inserted little spaces to make the pace more relaxed. My French definitely benefited from the experience.

It was then the next problem dawned on me. How to get this out there to those in need? The press? I don’t know anyone in the press, let alone the French Press. Twitter? Sure … but what can one person achieve on Twitter? Engaging support for a social media campaign therefore had to be the answer. But then self doubt crept in: am I going to expose myself as foolish for thinking I can help people on the other side of the world who have just been through a terrorist atrocity. That’s when some sage advice placated me: “Isn’t it worth doing it even if you only help one person,” said a confidante. Too right.
Flowers in Paris mourning victims of the terrorist atrocities

So I am putting my pride to the side and putting social media to the test.
While the recordings were made for and inspired by the awful events in
Paris and my own connection with France, a friend made a good point when giving feedback. There have been many recent terrorist events around the World this year (Denmark, Egypt, India, Israel, Kenya, Ukraine, Denmark, Lebanon, Nigeria, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan) in addition to Paris. Plus, more than 30,000 American’s are killed from gun violence each year. “Wouldn’t they all benefit form this,” she asked. Touche.

Please forward the following links to all those affected by the Paris or other terrorist atrocities or violence. Let’s help them reduce their anxiety and fear and rest their nervous system. The world can only be a better place as a result.

Link to English Version:

Link to the French Version / Version Française:

A sincere thanks to all those who have made this possible, especially Deepthi, Isabelle, Julia, Wendy, Hugues and Tsung. Equally, thanks to all those who are helping by sharing, liking, forwarding, tweeting or whatever flavor of social media you’ve pushed this out through.

To the people of Paris, France and all those effected by terrorism or violence – peace.

Thank you for your support,

Sean Nunan

Principal, School of Self Esteem

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