I’m still stunned after hearing the news of what happened in Paris yesterday evening. A country, which not long ago was shaken to its core by an attack on freedom of speech, was attacked by an insidious group hell-bent on ensuring the world bows before its sinister ideology of hatred, bigotry and fear. However, the people of Paris are strong, they endured fascism during the Second World War through sheer force of will, they didn’t give in then and they most certainly won’t give in to fear now.
The very fact that these terrorists use innocent civilians as tools to further their agenda shows that whatever misguided goal they seek is out of their grasp. This is an act of desperation. Have no doubt that this is just the death rattle of a fractured group, and the fact that France, and indeed most of the world, is standing tall in solidarity with Parisians shows that the terrorists will not win.
Yet humanity, for all its strident positives, could easily become marred in racist posturing with our refugee neighbours. The Front National are already using this tragedy to further their pathetic anti-immigrant agenda, as is Donald Trump in the States. No doubt, the cretins and the opportunists of this world will leap on the far-right bandwagon and point fingers with glee at the desperate people fleeing war-zones – using this tragedy as a reason to subside our moral compulsion to help those fleeing from violence.
However, for once I’m not feeing misanthropic over this whole situation. There have been uplifting examples of solidarity across the globe. Nations have lit major buildings with the French tricolour, people have tweeted the numbers of various embassies to ensure that loved ones are safe, and indeed in one touching moment a lone person cycled to France simply to play John Lennon’s Imagine. This is humanity at its best. Rather than being beaten by this tragedy, we are all collectively standing up in the face of a massacre and letting the odious, the bigots and the extremists know that we aren’t giving in.
I can only offer my thoughts to the families who have lost loved ones. I know, however, that the aftermath of this disgusting action will forever show the sheer power of human will and unity. Everyone, regardless of nation, has banded together for the Parisian people. We have sent a clear message to those who seek to tear apart the values that we hold dear: our commitment to freedom is infinitely stronger than any act of terror.