By Janice Tieperman
The nation of France is coming together following a devastating cataclysm of terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday, Nov. 13.
Nearly 130 are dead and at least 180 more are injured in the wake of several scenes of violence led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Over half of this death toll can be attributed to the hostage crisis and shooting that occurred in the Bataclan theatre, which was hosting a concert for the American band Eagles of Death Metal.
According to reports given to the New York Times, “Four men brandishing AK-47 assault rifles entered the hall. There were shouts of ‘Allahu Akbar’ [‘God is greater’] just before the gunmen opened fire.”
After at least ten minutes of gunfire, “the gunmen began rounding up survivors, holding them as hostages as dozens of police officers massed outside,” the report continued.
Over two hours later, the terror finally reached its end as the police stormed the theatre, resulting in the deaths of three terrorists by suicide and one by police gunfire.
Another round of terror bombarded France’s national sports stadium, the Stade de France, where 80,000 people, including French president Francois Hollande, were in attendance to watch a football game between France and Germany.
Only 15 minutes into the game, a man was discovered by security to be wearing explosives on his person, which he soon detonated outside out the stadium.
While only the bomber lost his life in this particular explosion, another explosion occurred only minutes later at a nearby McDonalds, killing a civilian.
BBC reports that the other locations of terrorist attacks were La Belle Equipe, a restaurant where at least 19 were killed by gunfire; Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant where at least 12 were killed by gunfire; and La Casa Nostra restaurant where at least five were killed by gunfire.
Shortly after these acts of terror were committed, Hollande officially declared France to be in a state of emergency—the first time in 10 years.
The men who committed these atrocities came from a variety of backgrounds, and several were born in France.
While seven of these terrorists are dead, there have been continued searches for the perpetrators and accomplices that have escaped thus far.
“The suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks has been on the counterterrorism radar for sometime,” CNN reports state.
According to this report, the name of this terrorist leader is Abdelhamid Abaaoud, who “is believed to be close to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi.”
Following the attacks, the lights of the Eiffel Tower were turned off in memory of those who had perished that night.
Numerous nations began demonstrating their support for Paris and the nation of France by lighting up landmarks in the colors of the French flag such as the London Eye and several skyscrapers in New York City.
President Barack Obama made a statement declaring America’s support for France.
“This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share,” he stated.
“Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” he continued.
Social media has also taken up a stance on supporting the people of France in several viral ways: Twitter has been trending with the hashtag #PrayforParis and Facebook has offered a new option to watermark profile pictures with the French flag to demonstrate solidarity with the nation.
These attacks have only seemed to awaken the underlying issues that have been plaguing the world for the past year.
While several nations such as the United States have long declared the need for action against the Islamic State groups, this recent terrorism has forced many to take a call to action.
“France is at war,” Hollande stated, “but we are not engaged in a war of civilizations, because these assassins do not represent any civilization.”
At the beginning of this week, France launched several campaigns of airstrikes on Syria, where many ISIS camps are thought to be located.
According to the Guardian, Hollande “has also said in the coming weeks he would be meeting the US and Russian presidents Barack Obama and Vladmir Putin, in an effort to build a ‘union of all who can fight this terrorist army in a single coalition.’
There has been much room for debate between these two nations, as America has been supporting the rebels and Russia has been supporting the government in the Syrian civil war.
Other areas of debate have sprung up in the issue of the Syrian refugees.
Many nations, such as Scotland, have already begun to give these citizens refuge following the terrorism in Paris and the constant terrorism of the Syrian civil war.
Obama has declared his support and continued desire to accept Syrian refugees into America.
Several states, including Pennsylvania, have declared open borders that allow Syrian refugees to live within their territory, but there have been many protests from well-known politicians about whether this course of action should be taken as a nation.
Other issues have spurned from the recent terrorist attacks, questioning if Islamophobia, or the fear/dislike of the Islam religion, is being spread through these attacks and the policies being made after them.
The future for France and modern society as we know is currently uncertain.
If this past week has shown us anything, it might be that the united support for all who have been victimized by ISIS and ISIL may prove key in conquering this terrorism once and for all.
Email Janice at: