On Friday, the 13th of November, everything was normal in Paris. People were happy that the weekend was there, and went out with friends and loved ones for some dinner and drinks, or for their favorite band’s concert or cheered for their home nation as France took on Germany in an International friendly. The same night though, the evil also descended on the French capital and took away 130 souls. It was an absolute tragedy. People have been shocked to their cores. It is with great sadness that we write about this topic. It touched us very deeply too. That is partially why it took us so long to reflect on this issue, the other being the fact that there is still so many new developments surfacing continuously. The whole picture is not clear yet. It may never be.
What is perhaps one of the most striking facts about this attack beyond the number of casualties, is the fact that this is the second tragedy in Paris this year alone. It has only been 10 months since gunmen attacked the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January. Paris was shocked then as a Jewish supermarket was attacked too and a lengthy manhunt was conducted, and as overall 17 people were lost. But as the weeks went on people calmed down and felt safe again in their cities.
That was shattered now.
Paris was stabbed in the heart. First, the Stade de France was attacked, where President Francois Hollande was in attendance as well. In overall 3 suicide bombs exploded, but it could have been a lot worse, but luckily the stadium security managed to stop the attackers from entering the stadium. Miraculously, only 1 person died at the Stadium. Next, several cafes and a restaurants were attacked in downtown Paris, as people were enjoying their friday night dinners on terraces, as most Parisians do. There were some chaotic scenes, as people had limited chances to escape. 39 people died in these attacks. Then came their main plan. Several gunmen stormed the Bataclan venue hall, where the American band Eagles of Death Metal were playing a sold out concert. People on the lower levels had limited options to escape, but the balconies were attacked too. It was a bloody massacre. In overall 89 people lost their lives.
France declared a state of emergency for the first time since the Nazi invasion. Borders were closed, and the army was deployed. But in an amazing show of solidarity, the people of Paris and the World came together to help anyone in anyway. The French police undertook raids for several days, and many terrorists were killed eventually. The nation is still mourning.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks, and President Hollande blamed them as well. France has attacked back the next day, as it launched several airstrikes against key targets in Syria. The United States, Russia and other allies followed as well. Anonymous declared war on ISIS as well. Only united can we defeat them, and one day it will happen. We must believe that.
At this point we must also mention how the people of Beirut, Iraq, Japan and Mexico must also be mentioned and kept in our prayers, as sadly many people in those places lost their lives as well the same weekend.
But at times like this, people all around the world must be reminded that “Muslim” does not mean “terrorist”. Islam does not mean terrorist. Non-white does not mean terrorist. Sadly, this must still be done, because the amount of atrocities muslims receive is not acceptable. It is only a very small percentage of them who are bad people, just like in all races and religions.
The Paris Attacks also highlight one of the other big problems that Europe faces. The Migration Crisis. Europe has failed. This must change. We can’t simply just let millions of people in from all around the world, without checking who they are. It has now been proven that at least two of the attackers made the journey from the Middle East to Greece and then to France. Borders, walls must be erected to stop the flow of people. People should wait outside the walls while we check who they are, and then if they are safe then they should be let in. Most of the people are honest migrants or refugees who should be helped if we can. But the terrorists use this lap to cross our borders, and they must be stopped. It only takes 1, to kill 130. Ask Paris. So don’t judge Greece, Hungary or Slovenia for building walls. They just want to make sure that their citizens are not massacred like in Paris. Those who are safe and really are in need of help will be let through and helped. It is that simple. Everything has a process, and rules must be enforced, or humanity as a whole is doomed.
At this point we must also acknowledge the security forces of Paris, Brussels and Hannover. They saved so many lives in the past week and a half. There have been attempts to blow up the Hannover stadium during another football match, and their train station too. Brussels is still on full lockdown. This must stop. There have also been many threats on busy places all around Europe. So if you see a patrolling soldier, stop him and thank him for his services and for the fact that he is protecting you and your family.
There was one thing though that Angela Merkel was right about, No not the migrant crisis. But the fact that a multicultural Europe has failed. It does seem like it. There are too many divides within the society. Integration is not working, especially in France and Belgium. Problems are rising in Germany and Sweden too worth the foreigners. Only the United Kingdom seems to be doing well. We hope that this will continue. But something drastic must be changed across Europe. It will all be decided in the head.
The terrorists struck where it hurt the most. The most visited city in the world. Paris is beloved for its personality, it is the cultural capital of the world. Music and Sport were attacked, and mostly the vibrant young people died. The future generations. We must not give in, we must continue with our lives as they are, because that is how we can help the most.
People must be nice to each other. There are so many things that kill us already, why must we do it to ourselves as well. We must learn to live in peace amongst us.
This is an original material of Finchley 1959.