On Friday, November 13, 2015 around 9:20pm, terrorists began the first of several coordinated attacks across Paris. A group of armed men began shooting at a rock concert at Le Bataclan in the center of the city, killing 89 people. The attacks continued throughout the city, and included a soccer game at the Stade de France stadium in which the president of France was in attendance, as well as cafes, and restaurants. In total, 129 people were killed, and 352 people were wounded in these deadly assaults- the worst terrorist attack in Europe since the bombings of commuter trains in Madrid in 2004, which killed 191 and wounded 1,800.
“Fortunately my family wasn’t affected. However, one of my best friends lost two friends in the attack on the concert hall. Unfortunately I am not exactly sure how he is coping because we didn’t have time to talk about it. But I am sure that like most French people I talked to, he is under deep shock and feels a mix of anger mixed and a desire to not give them what they want, which is to have French of Judeo-Christian descent start antagonizing French muslims.” Marc Birnkammer, French Professor, NDNU.
Seven of the attackers were killed either by police or through suicide bombings. While one, Salah Abdeslam, still remains at large. Currently there is a worldwide hunt on for Abdeslam who turned out to the be a Belgian born young man who was naturalized as a French citizen. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the massacres in a statement that France’s president, Francois Hollande, concurs with.
The police have made several arrests in Brussels in connection with the attacks. While the French have launched air strikes against ISIS at specific targets in their city of Raqqa. During this time France had a period of three days of mourning in which the citizens were advised to stay home, and the major monuments were shut down.
These attacks have occurred during a time while countries across the world are struggling with taking in tens of thousands and in some cases like Germany, hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees. One of the gunmen killed by police was found with a fake Syrian passport.
“Terrorists have always found a way to come into countries they wanted to target. Let’s not forget that the terrorists who have been identified so far are not even Syrian refugees. They are from Belgium and France!
“What happened doesn’t affect much my view on the fact that western countries can not morally turn their backs on people who get bombarded, shot at, tortured (just to name a few things) by their own government. We are not talking about pfile:///Users/eoakmon/Downloads/Paris%20Attacks.docxeople who just feel like they want a better material life and leave a country where they could remain. Their homes don’t exist anymore since they were bombed, and if they don’t leave they’re going to die. They’re escaping death, and shutting our door to them is totally wrong from an ethical perspective.” NDNU French Professor, Marc Birnkammer states when asked how these attacks have affected his views on whether or not countries should accept Syrian refugees.
U.S. President Obama pledged solidarity with France, saying, “We’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
Around the world, cities have wrapped their monuments in blue, white, and red in solidarity with Paris. Country leaders are coordinating their alliances to thwart any further attacks, and to figure out a way to stop ISIS.