On Friday November 13th, 2015, 129 lives were claimed in six separate attacks throughout the capital of France. In addition to the 129 casualties, an additional 352 were injured to varying degrees. These six separate attacks took place at a concert hall, the Stade De France soccer stadium, and two separate restaurants.
Being that it was Friday the 13th, terrorists seem to take great pleasure in choosing to strike terror on days that have some sort of negative connotation. The other notable day that I’m referencing being 9/11, which of course are the numbers that Americans dial when in need of emergency assistance.
Our country as well as many others are standing by France in these tragic times. On the Monday night following the attacks in Paris, Secretary of State John Kerry stated that “Tonight, we are all Parisians”, while attending the lighting ceremony at the U.S. embassy in Paris. In addition to American support, the likes of Great Britain, Israel, and even Russia have offered messages of support. The terrorist organization taking responsible for the attacks is ISIS, which has been a rising extremist force in recent times. In retaliation, France has carried out numerous airstrikes on Syria and has conducted raids in an effort to root out the specific individuals responsible for the attacks. Additionally, a “hacktivist” organization known as Anonymous has claimed to have shut down over 5,000 pro-ISIS twitter accounts in the wake of the Paris attacks. Although the threat of ISIS is something that the world can clearly no longer ignore, the attacks are not the only issue.
As was the case with Ahmed Mohammed, the teenage clock maker, people are allowing pre-conceived stereotypes to perpetuate their fear and hate of what they do not understand. Essentially, peaceful Muslims are once again being targeted for something that they have absolutely nothing to do with. One particular Muslim woman who was approached while paying homage to the victims at a makeshift shrine, said that “the Quran says that nobody can take a life.” She then went on to compare the killers to Nazis, adding, “They have nothing to do with us.”
This Muslim woman, named Abiba Trabacke, makes a very interesting comparison regarding the Nazis and the attackers. For my discussions in cinema class, I recently gave a presentation on an episode from The West Wing, titled “Isaac and Ishmael”. The episode was a tribute to the 9/11 attacks and made a very interesting comparison of its own. In the episode, a character by the name of Josh Lyman made an analogy claiming that Islamic extremism is to Islam as KKK is to Christianity. This analogy does a fantastic job of separating the true terrorists from the religions that they claim to practice. In reality, these extremist groups follow a false form of major religions that go against many traditional beliefs. I feel as if bringing the KKK and Christianity into the discussion allows many Vanguard students like myself to somewhat relate to the plight that many innocent Muslims find themselves in. John Kerry said on Monday that “tonight, we are all Parisians” but one can’t help but hope that tomorrow, we are all at peace.