Early stories told by victims who escaped some of the attacks we can hear on French news contain an indication of a motive: payback.
More specifically, payback via killing and terror as an act of war, perceived by them as legitimate following the armed involvement of France in Syria and against ISIS.
That's what they said.
With more than a hundred people killed and several simultaneous armed attacks against civilians, targeting symbolic places like the Stade de France (Football which is the most popular sport, symbol of victories and cultural unification) or the Bataclan (a small concert hall, symbol of culture, reputed for the magic intimacy artists find here with their audience) as much as people, this event still ongoing is the largest terrorist attack in France to date.
I can't tell if this justification by payback instead of mainly ideological really is significant.
After all, those who commit barbaric acts, leading to their own death have to justify them to themselves somehow.
It could be significant, differentiating then what happened tonight from Charlie Hebdo previous events.
In case it is significant, it is a reminder that France army is indeed at war in foreign countries and against multiple groups including Islamic ones.
Actually, France was close to go to war against Assad in Syria several years ago with the idea of saving civilians mass murdered by a dictator and help the democratic opposition to establish a legitimate replacement government.
It turned out that the situation wasn't quite so simple, and after failing to convince other countries to follow it didn't happen.
After that, France's army got involved in Mali, since January 2013.
Now, France has started bombing targets like ISIS training centers in Syria, since September 25 2015.
I can only observe that my country is not a neutral one.
Instead, it tends to enter armed conflicts when asked to by foreigners demanding help when crimes against humanity and mass killings happen.
I think it does with reasonably sincere goals to protect human rights more than plain political or economic self-interest. France has a tradition of action to protect human rights.
A majority or French people are against war however. They also learned their lessons from a colonial history on not trying to "civilize" other countries.
But France is still involved in wars.
And tonight's attacks might be one among many acts of the distant war happening in Syria French citizens do not really see or live until now.
What I hope is that the French government won't run into more paranoia. The ongoing direction for Internet surveillance is bad enough already.
I hope that the French government won't be trying at any cost to prevent new attacks by punishing the local population for the consequences of a war fought distantly.
Won't be trying to provide an impossible security at the cost of freedom and privacy.
I see that other European countries put more resources into welcoming refugees, less into armed conflicts.
Maybe it's a safer approach. Maybe it's a better one.
Still providing help to other human beings in need by making an effort to share a better environment, instead of leaving them trapped into the insanity of war or oppressive regimes.
But doing so in another way that getting involved in the same violence and insanity.
Because as we can see, through such interference we end up bringing the insanity back home at some point.
It's true welcoming refugees is not the easiest thing for everyone, but tonight events might be a reason to reconsider current France's approach to human rights protection and peace.
13 thoughts on “What sense make of tonight Paris attacks, if any?”
Most European countries have different policies, and differing points of view on refugees and immigrants. That, in itself causes many complicated issues. It seems that the Euro nations to get their act together and have some standard policy for all immigrants and refugees coming in to the Euro zone. The ability to move from one country to anther is too easy. Otherwise, without better control, there is less counter intelligence, less safety and greater potential for crazy cowardly acts such as this one
this has nothing to do with border control and illegal immigration, as far as we know.
+Casey Meighan that's no the issue here. My guess is that the attackers were probably born and raised in Europe, anyway, like was the case for the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The refugees are not the ones responsible by the attacks. They are refugees because they are leaving the peoples that do this attacks in their native countries. This is the sadness side of all and now, they will pay, again for this acts.
oh, btw +François Simond, you shouldn't call them ISIS, they're not a state/country.
Daech is far more appropriate.
Notice that I speak about welcoming refugees in the post in the context of: there are wars, what is the best course to preserve peace while helping those in need as much as possible.
It's a quest of sense for why Paris, why France, why this way.
Those who blame the refugees instead are missing the point and their speculation doesn't answer the previous question.
Only Paris / France has been under such attack, and so far none of the other countries receiving refugees. And I hope it will stay this way.
Today ISIS / Daesh claimed responsibility: "France will remain a top target as long as it continues its policies, and the attacks were a response to insults of Islam's prophet and airstrikes in Isil territory".
+Emmanuel Krebs I understand. I called them ISIS since it's how most of the English speaking world name this group.
Because France is a simbol.
Liberté, égalité, fraternité.
Same the Christians ( most Catholics and protestants) use FRANCE like a symbol of THEIRS religious persecution with the state laicism.
4 Days ago, in a public tv channel owned by the Catholics. a well Know Father, Called PAdre Paulo and a HISTORY/ physician ( yep, he have a degree) teacher Called Felipe Aquino was speaking how FRANCE lead the Europe into this SECULARISM blaming France for the massive christian exodus in europe.
+Friedrich Sinofzik yes, French are very proud of this secularism completed by humanistic values.
It's only after learning about the ways of other countries that I realized things can be rather different elsewhere, so much it is natural and evident here.
It's certainly not this type of event that will weaken the secular core of France.
The sad thing is that everyone loses with it.
Now the government will use this new "subject" to unbalance the concept of "republic POWERS" and take more citizens rights in the name of security.
This is more devastating than the stack itself.
+Friedrich Sinofzik we'll see. The French government response so far has been sparse and prudent.
The state of emergency is only a temporary measure: see this description
the anti terror law after the Charlie Hebdo attacks already was a good example of this overpower that turn the tinny line between the powers under balance.
And more overpower will come..
WE NEED TO TURN RELIGION A PERSONAL THING and forbidden this to be used in public..
i'm more and more radical about this.
+Friedrich Sinofzik I know you are, and this is already like that in France for a lot longer than I exist.
Now it's a question of being smart about how to handle the situation.
There are enough terrorist recruits already available in France and other European countries to commit more acts of this type.
An approach with more war and internal tensions (including anti religious statements) as the only response would likely trigger more attacks and produce little to no positive result.
This is why I am calling for a change of strategy, while keeping the same values.
i'm not speaking about to be intolerant.. but more to this..
paradox of tolerance: Unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them. — In this formulation, I do not imply, for instance, that we should always suppress the utterance of intolerant philosophies; as long as we can counter them by rational argument and keep them in check by public opinion, suppression would certainly be unwise. But we should claim the right to suppress them if necessary even by force; for it may easily turn out that they are not prepared to meet us on the level of rational argument, but begin by denouncing all argument; they may forbid their followers to listen to rational argument, because it is deceptive, and teach them to answer arguments by the use of their fists or pistols. We should therefore claim, in the name of tolerance, the right not to tolerate the intolerant. We should claim that any movement preaching intolerance places itself outside the law, and we should consider incitement to intolerance and persecution as criminal, in the same way as we should consider incitement to murder, or to kidnapping, or to the revival of the slave trade, as criminal.
Vol. 1, Notes to the Chapters: Ch. 7, Note 4 – The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945)