On Friday, November 13th at 9:20 p.m., Paris France was hit with a coordinated terrorist attack starting with suicide bombings at an international soccer game. In all, there were eight attacks at five different locations throughout Paris. Four of the attacks occurred outside public bars and restaurants. The largest of the attacks happened in a theater during a concert where 89 people were held hostage and killed. Overall there were 129 deaths and 352 people injured.
Of the eight terrorists, five of them were French-born. Another was identified by the Syrian passport found by his body. The Islamic terrorist group ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks and all evidence suggests this is true.
In retaliation, France executed two coordinated focus bombings on ISIS strongholds in Al-Raqqa Syria confirming the destruction of all targets. Meanwhile, hundreds of searches were conducted in France resulting in many people taken into custody and put on house arrest. To reinforce the magnitude of these events, Obama and Putin put aside their own problems to discuss the attacks. Additionally, hacktivist group, Anonymous, declared total war on ISIS and within a matter of days recovered over five thousand ISIS twitter accounts to slow communication.
To top things off, France has agreed to take in 30,000 more refugees not only displaying their strength, but also their compassion.
Following events like these there are always mixed opinions on how the world should handle the situation. Some request immediate action, others recognize that Bush made a similar mistake after 9/11. Obama was adamant about not sending American troops but stated that the U.S. stands with France in the war on terror. However, he never specified.
Democratic candidates released similar statements as to not undermine Obama while Republican candidates distastefully interjected their stances on American gun laws and the importance of building walls to keep immigrants out of the country. Donald Trump took to twitter with a not-so-sympathetic “I told you so” and others suggested Syrian refugees be blocked from the U.S., especially those who identify as Muslim calling them a “Trojan horse.” Obama responded calling this a betrayal of our country’s values stating, “The people who are fleeing Syria are the most harmed by terrorism… They are parents, they are children, they are orphans.”
So what does this mean for us here in the States? Aside from the threats from ISIS towards Russia and America, there is still much debate on how to prevent a hypothetical attack. It is important to remember that a lot of this is speculation. Ironically, Kearney High is already doing one of the most important things as far as preparation goes. All of the lockdown content being shown in Bearcat Time as well as the drills are some of the most beneficial tactics of prevention in case of an incident like this.
Around the world, multiple international monuments lit up in the colors of the French flag. Immediately after the attacks the world showed
their support for the people of France. But why are these attacks in particular attracting so much support from the western world? Literally a day before the attacks in Paris a double suicide bombing in Beirut Lebanon killed 40 people. Two weeks ago, 224 people were killed the bombing of a Russian plane. In April, Al Qaeda killed 147 people at a college in Kenya, a country where 500 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in the past three years. However, the colors of their flags were not flown.
Perhaps perception of the countries plays a role? Lebanon is bordered by Syria and Israel and even though it is a relatively peaceful country, the Middle East is painted with the same brush. Kenya is most likely written off as a poor African country, and Russia’s aggression towards the Ukraine makes them appear unsympathetic.
But it may be more complex than that, it could come down to reliability. There was a shooting at the concert of an American band in a western city that holds appeal to the entire world for its beauty and culture. It is easy to see the victims as any of us here in the western world and serves as a reminder that we are in danger whether the attackers are from Syria or our own backyard.
In times like these our actions are fueled by anger, it is important though, that people are angry at the right people. The Islamic State is responsible for the attacks, NOT all Muslims. The situation is made worse because innocent Muslims will be discriminated against because of generalization. There was a Mosque in Canada intentionally set ablaze the day after the attacks.
A lot of the story is yet to come and people should keep in mind that there will be a time after all of this. In order to combat this terror and hate, what personal freedoms are you okay with losing? Do we lose human compassion with refugees or anyone else? How do you avoid killing innocent people in the process? It is questions like these in which we must determine the answers to in order to win the war on terror.