Yesterday evening, France was attacked once again by extremists associated with ISIS since the Charlie Hebdo massacre. This time, there were over 120 people killed in 4 separate attacks in the Paris area, the most congested deaths happening at a concert venue where hostages were taken. The police have killed eight of the attackers, and so far they are searching for others involved. ISIS released a statement afterwards:
“Let France and those who walk in its path know that they will remain on the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State“
To start, fuck these animals. To hell with anyone who kills in the name of the voices in the head of some ancient prophet that was penned down and given to the generations following. Enough of grown men killing civilized people in the name of fairy tale bullshit. And to go ahead and say this upfront for those who might call me an islamaphobe, I’m not. I’m no more or less hateful towards radical muslims than I am towards radical christians who make their children or relatives destitutes because they don’t think or act how they want, influence political policy that harms a secular society, or touts their nonsense as the truth. The same for anyone else. But I really don’t care what you think or how you may feel. Those who commit violence or stall progress, not including those who haven’t done anything, are not worth sympathy or respect for their beliefs. Fuck them.
Now that I got that out of my system…
We are undoubtedly facing the continuation of religious fanatic terrorism being the enemy to the modern civilized world. We face political and ethical conflicts on how to deal with this issue as attacks happen in different sizes and are covered differently. Those in the harbor of secular society lie awake at night wondering why a portion of this human race that we share is poised to strike fear and death into the lives of others who don’t live or think as they do. We seek a wise and balanced resolution to the problem without wrongly discriminating against those who have done nothing wrong, but we seem to fall short of that goal at times.
There is a lot in public discussion that this event has stirred up once more: The military presence in the middle east (as discussed on Real Time with Bill Maher as the events were happening), the interpretations of Islam, ethnic and national tensions, and of course, the situation with migrants fleeing conflict in Syria to parts of Europe.
I can only speak for myself as someone with sympathy for the humanitarian approach, with an ocean between me and the center of events happening and the reports I’ve read. Giving aid to migrants and not assuming that the overwhelming number of them are among the radicals is reasonable: the majority of them are families and children who simply want out of the wars plaguing them. However, its incorrect to try to make it seem like an easy situation to control or form an opinon around. There can be no doubt that, like any group, radicals among the refugees have used the migration as an opprotunity to get to their targets. So yes, we need to help the migrants as a moral and humane imperative, and as a responsibility of modern society. But we need to do so in a professional and organized manner, having seen what happened last night and knowing the potential for terrorists to get in. Reaching that middle-ground where we will first give people aid, then allow entrance into a nation if they meet certain criteria seems like the best and only reasonable solution to this crisis.
The far-right approach to rejecting all refugees without even establishing camps outside the gates is about as reasonable as the United States’ approach of having bombing runs and drone strikes in areas in the Middle East in trying to combat enemy forces, which has been shown to miss intended targets almost all the time, creating more radicals and catching the world in an endless clusterfuck. Do they honestly think that telling over a thousand refugees to go back the way they came will leave nobody pissed off to where they might start sympathizing more with anti-western radicals? People have completely abandoned de-escalation tactics in favor of a quick and dirty riddance of their concerns. We are going to need to sit down and coordinate an effective and balanced plan to get innocent people aid and treat them humanely as we would our brothers and sisters, and weed out those who want to do harm. Hopefully the European Union can make this happen rather than simply giving rhetoric on the matter.
Returning to France, before I begin to seem like I’m only using this situation to defend the refugees, we are beginning to see the citizens of Paris picking themselves up from the tragedy they have suffered yesterday. The French Soccer team has announced it will go on with its match at Wembley Stadium in England, Blood banks are being flooded with altruistic donors, and the Parisian Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, affirms that they are “stronger than those that want to silence us”. I have to agree with her.
Internationally, the hearts of everyone around the world are pouring out for the French people. U2, The Foo Fighters, and The Eagles of Death Metal have canceled their european tours in response to the attacks and offered their respects online, a major fireworks show in London was cancelled as the attacks were being reported, and world leaders shared their solidarity with the French people through statements, as more than ten major cities around the world lit their signature buildings with red, white and blue colors in the fashion of the French flag.
Human beings recompose themselves and their nations after tragedy in different ways, but time after time, we see the light of international unity, friendship and solidarity triumph over the evils that seek to ruin their people. We are right, as Americans, to reflect on the kindness that France showed us in Le Monde after the September 11th terrorist attacks on four areas of the country in 2001. “We are all Americans! We are all New Yorkers”, Jean-Marie Colombani wrote. As a young blogger from the other side of the Atlantic, I want to return the favor for our friends in Paris — We are all French, We are all Parisians.