Liberté, égalité, fraternité.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité. (Liberty, equality, fraternity) The ‘devise’ (motto) of France has never seem to ring more true than in the past few months. Charlie Hebdo was targeted on the 7th of January and now, Paris is once again attacked in the name of Islam, by terrorists.

I’m sure you’re all aware of the terror attacks that took place in Paris. A team of 8 men, believed to be professionals, targeted restaurants and public places with hand grenades, AK-47 rifles, and suicide vests. 129 people have been pronounced dead so far, with many more injured. So what is it all about? Why is France being targeted? And who are these terrorists?

Well, the terrorists label themselves freedom fighters of Allah, and to us, we know them as IS. The Islamic State crisis became old news, with people bored of being flooded with updates from the Middle East. However, the crisis has just got scarier, and people are no longer bored. The threat is becoming very much more dangerous, and very much more real. IS threats have now spread to Europe and our next question is obvious: when will it hit England? David Cameron spoke on BBC Radio 4 on the 16th of November saying that internal intelligence forces have foiled multiple attacks similar to those in Paris so far this year.

Several attacks have been foiled in the UK this year

So is it because French security forces aren’t quite as good as other leading figures? Or is there another reason as to why Paris, of all possible Western capitals, is getting attacked. Essentially, France fights against jihadists worldwide and has one of the largest Muslim populations in Europe, as well as a shockingly divided society. France also has a constant flow of illegal weapons trafficking and some of the group who attacked recently are known to have broken through Paris borders due to the recent refugee crisis.

So how does France respond? Well I’m sure you’ve all seen the countless French-flag profile pictures on Facebook, the French flags projected on monuments around the world and the endless speeches from world leaders. Aside from these displays of ‘solidarity’, what is going to be done? France has stated that war has been declared on her, and we all know that bombing raids have been intensified. Perhaps now NATO will lend more force to destroying IS in the Middle East. Perhaps France herself will invade countries such as Syria to hunt down those culpable. Perhaps they’ll simply talk about it.

Just because they aren’t European, does that make their lives less valuable?

France is founded on the ‘devise’ we hear ring out in times like these. We have the responsibility to defend this liberté (freedom) for the sake of those who have died. Or do we not? Are we over-reacting when hundreds die everyday due to terrorism around the world. For example, most people would not even know of the recent terrorist attacks in Beiruit which have killed more than 40 people due to suicide bombers. Just because this has happened in Europe does that make their deaths any less valuable?

Il est dans des moments comme ceux-ci, qu’on doit être solidaire, et tous le monde doit reconnaître le danger du terrorisme. Tous le monde s’accorde à penser qu’on doit combattre le terrorisme. Mais que devrait-on faire pratiquement? Que pensez vous?

George Jeffreys