Monday 23rd November
We were all shocked by the recent events in Paris but it is hard to really know what to make of it all. Was it, as the Media would have us believe, a well coordinated attack by ISIS, who present a clear and present danger? Is it, in the words of President Hollande, a declaration of War on France by ISIS? Is it a step-change in the nature of terrorism, and one which it is almost impossible for us to defend ourselves from? Or is something else happening?
I can almost dismiss M. Hollande. After all he promised to defend Parisiens after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Supermarket in January. It was almost de rigeur for him to behave, well Presidentially, I suppose. He has declared a state of emergency, where all civil liberties are suspended and the Police can have a free hand to pursue enemies of the State. And there has certainly been a lot of activity; whether well-planned or panic measures we will probably never know. But of the over 200 raids we have seen few if any actual arrests so far. And what are we to make of the raid on Thursday morning and the following siege? It seems to me that 5,000 rounds of ammunition on one apartment would appear slightly excessive. And we only have French intelligence telling us that the man killed was the mastermind behind the attacks. Oh, so that’s alright then – he deserved to die (as did Jihadi John just over a week ago too). And now that they have been eliminated we can sleep a bit easier. Can’t we?
And honestly I do not know. There has been such mass news coverage of the last week in Paris that actually the more I know the less I am sure of. It would appear that the attacks were well organized, but could actually have been worse. There also appears to have been a major lapse in intelligence by the French and Belgians. And what do most Muslims, treated in France and Belgium (and here to a degree) as second-class citizens, think of all this. It makes no difference however much their leaders protest their abhorrence of ISIS there is always an element of brush-tarring, amplified by Marine Le Pen. And quite possibly many Muslims have somewhat divided loyalties, not that that would ever push them to such acts themselves. But ISIS have been very successful with their message that the West has been conducting a Crusade against the Middle East and Muslims and Arabs in particular.
It may well be that in the next century Historians will also conclude that that is what was happening. Unless we, the West, rebuild Iraq and Syria and Lebanon and protect Gaza and sort out the Israeli occupation, we will surely continue to suffer more ‘terrorist’ attacks in the future. We need to stop bombing and invading and trying to instigate regime change, and really help these people devastated by twelve years now of War and Occupation. And I don’t think that any of that will happen any time soon sadly.