Monday, 16 November 2015

Solidarité avec Parisisians

The world was rocked by the recent attacks in Paris. Killers who belonged to the organisation which calls itself 'Islamic State' murdered 129 people as they on what was until then a normal Friday night in a busy multicultural area of the city.

One response to the atrocity was an outpouring of sympathy and support. Messages of solidarity have come in from around the world including from the Lumierie festival in Durham City, locally the tricolour flag has been prominently displayed by local councils and individuals.

Durham Cathedral Sunday 15th November

Another response has also been evident. An online petition emerged calling for UK borders to be closed until ISIL has been defeated. The majority of the signatories may think that borders need to be closed regardless of the perceived threat. Marine le Pen, leader of the far right French National Front party has always wanted to withdraw from the Shengen agreement and end immigration, that position remains the same after these attacks.

The mode of operation of the I.S. organisation is to promote division, and launch attacks where they see harmony. They see Sunni and Shia Muslims living together in Syria and the response is to divide, they see Iraqi Christians co-existing with Muslims and the response is brutality, torture and murder.

It is exactly this brutality that refugees fleeing into Turkey, Jordan and Greece are trying to escape. Terrorists would hope that the refugee crisis would cause division, and unrest. Increasing tension in Europe. This increasing tension brings the aim of a divided, separated world closer. The 'Refugees Welcome' demonstrations in Germany, Holland, France and across Europe are demonstrations of values that are in exact opposition to those of I.S.

The international response to this attack will almost certainly be to increase air strikes in both Iraq and Syria, whether or not British planes should be operational in Syria as well as Iraq will depend on parliamentary approval and public opinion both of which are subject to change.

Where terrorist organisations try to create a climate of fear we have to try, as Parisians have done, to stand firm and get on with our daily lives.

Where they try to end unity we must build resilient, multicultural communities.

Where they try to radicalise the young, we have to educate and promote a sense of belonging.

My thoughts and prayers remain with the families of those killed.

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