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Piano Set Up At Paris Train Station Provides Music And Comfort


Now, as Steve mentioned before his conversation with Mara, the man believed to have coordinated those attacks here in Paris is dead. That is according to French authorities. Abdelhamid Abaaoud was Belgian. He's been described as an operative who carried out the attack for ISIS. He was killed, we're told, in a police raid yesterday in a Paris suburb. And we'll be following that news all morning. Leading to this point, at least, there has been so much unease here in Paris. Yesterday, Eurostar, which operates the Chunnel train between Paris and London, suspended check-ins at the Paris train station, Gare du Nord, because of a security threat, we were told. We paid a visit to Gare du Nord last night, and police were everywhere. There was also something else - a piano that is set up in the middle of the station for anyone to play on. And Issam Djouad(ph), a young man with curly, dark hair and a multicolored scarf, was sitting down at the piano.

ISSAM DJOUD: (Foreign language spoken).


GREENE: Issam is an environmental engineer who also composes his own music.

DJOUD: You can't think when you're playing music. You have to be with the music. If you're not, you're not playing. You have to be ready to forget everything you know, everything you had in your day. If you had a bad day, you know, it will be heard on the piano. And if you had a good one, it's the same.

GREENE: What were we hearing there? Is it a good day or a bad day?

DJOUD: Normal day (laughter).

GREENE: Seems like there's a lot to try and forget right now in Paris.

DJOUD: Yeah, a lot. Really a lot. I really don't have words right now, but playing music can help you, you know, letting some - some emotions to get out without speaking.

GREENE: You said this was - this feels like a normal day, not good, not bad. Is that a sign that you might be moving on a little bit from what happened Friday?

DJOUD: You know, that is our revenge. Tonight we are going to spend time with friends. We have to go out and have fun, you know? And trying to be happy with everyone, it is our revenge.

GREENE: Though it is not like Isam Juwad and his girlfriend are feeling totally safe.

DJOUD: I was worried about her taking the train but I'm not that much (laughter).

GREENE: You're worried about her but not yourself.

DJOUD: (Laughter) Yeah.

ISSAM DJOUD GIRLFRIEND: I take the train twice a day to go to work. And, yeah, I think we are still afraid to take transports and everything. But, as he said, you need to go on with your life and go back to where we were.

GREENE: You feeling better today than yesterday? I mean, are you feeling less afraid each day?

ISSAM DJOUD GIRLFRIEND: No, same. It's still in my head. But, I mean, you need to live.

GREENE: Now, before we said goodbye, Isam, this young man who feels a safe space behind the piano, took me to that piano in the train station. Said he wanted to play one more song, one he'd written. It's called "Rising Sun."


GREENE: It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

David Greene is an award-winning journalist and New York Times best-selling author. He is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, the most listened-to radio news program in the United States, and also of NPR's popular morning news podcast, Up First.