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October 2017
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Our War on Terror

Our War on Terror

It has now been over 3 weeks since France’s city of love has been hit by a series of coordinated terrorist attacks. On the night of 13 November 130 individuals lost their lives in a ruthless and cruel manner. The evening started like any other in Paris. The city was filled with joy, music, and food. It all started at around 21:20 o’clock when the first explosion was heard near the Stade De France. This was followed by a mass shooting in several restaurants and the Bataclan theatre. These attacks are currently the most fatal in France’s history since World War 2. It was not long ago since Paris was hit by a terrorist attack of the same nature. The Charlie Hebdo shootings shocked many around the world, and resulted in the implementation of many different policies. But this was not enough.

ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) were rapid in claiming their responsibility. This vicious organization is repeatedly reaching headlines because of their acts of terror. In an article written in the Atlantic, Graeme Wood claims that one of ISIS’ aims is for the west (and the rest of the world) to build a hatred towards Islam. After these attacks many individuals were swift in blaming Islam for what happened. This could result in Muslims around the world feeling discriminated against and joining radical organizations such as ISIS, which is exactly what they want.

The French reaction was one of anger accompanied by a feeling of unity. The French president, François Holland, stated that he would destroy ISIS. This was followed by a military operation that bombed parts of Islamic State held territory. The question now is whether this is the correct response. There seems to be quite a distinctive division between people that support or are against military actions in the region. From past experiences, using violence to defeat the enemy has led to the death of innocent individuals. On the other hand, a malicious group such as ISIS cannot easily be persuaded with diplomatic solutions.

The search for a scapegoat was another topic that was covered in the news. Some of these terrorists were able to travel to Syria, radicalize themselves, and return France through the flow of refugees. This led to many right wing parties bashing on Europe’s response to the migrant crisis. In the wake of these attacks, support for these populist groups grew exponentially. Many citizens of Europe whom were already skeptical of letting a waste amount of migrants in their country now are even less inclined to support those in need.

France – and other European countries – have the duty to protect their citizens. At the same time, they should protect the liberal values their nations are built on. This includes helping those that flee from war and terror. As a result of the Schengen Agreement any person is able to travel freely around member countries. Undocumented and unscreened refugees are therefore able to enter any country without restrictions. This utopian policy is one that only functions when the people entering are well educated, kind hearted, everyday people. This, nonetheless, is not the case. As proven by these attacks, the current way we handle refugees simply does not take into account the safety of its host country.

Many politicians now strive for more controlling policies regarding the influx of refugees. The United States, whom already had a lengthy procedure for incoming migrants, has now strengthened the process. The US has an ocean separating the refugees from the country and are therefore able to carefully select those who come in and those who don’t. European nations do not have this luxury, but this should not be an excuse for letting anyone come in. Proper screening has been done in the past. But because of the current situation in Syria, politicians such has Angela Merkel have taken an open-door policy.

The logic of turning away all incoming refugees and migrants is a flawed one. On the other hand letting anyone in and trusting their intentions is not the solution either. One should therefore aim for a middle ground between both ideas. The migrants should fairly be divided among countries in addition to proper screening and integration policies. This would lead to both security and liberal values being fulfilled. It should not be denied that this is a difficult task, but it is one that can be achieved. The outer borders of Europe should be strengthened not to turn away those in need, but to be capable of handling the situation properly. In addition to this, the sharing of information should be present between Schengen members. There is currently no database set in place. A finger print made in Greece is difficult to access by French authorities. A consolidation of policies is therefore a must to reach a palpable result.

All in all, the current situation in France and surrounding nations is a complex one. The tragedy that occurred should not only be mourned but also be learned from. It is through mistakes that we acquire new knowledge and strive for improvement.


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