Solidarity with Paris, Beirut and Baghdad

by on 14 November, 2015

11651173_1125567404137282_902298289_nToday we stand in strong solidarity, sympathy and prayers for three cities hit by unabashed terrorism. No one could imagine the horror that would develop today as 160 people have been confirmed dead and 40 more feared dead after a series of bombings and shootings across France’s capital. More than 43 people died on Thursday when ISIS declared responsibility for suicide bombings in Beirut. At least 26 people have been killed in two separate ISIL attacks on Baghdad.

In Paris, the scene of the crime was the Bataclan music festival in Eastern Paris just 200 metres away from the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, the scene of another terror attack in early January. Hundreds of concert goers were struck by terror as three men shouting “Allahu akbar” burst into the hall. There was instant “gunfire, bloodshed and grenades thrown into the crowd.” Survivors were rounded up and a tense standoff prevailed for over two hours. Police are only now uncovering “a scene of horror and apocalypse inside this music hall” according to a journalist on French television.

More than ever, France deserves to be protected by defensible borders as a sovereign nation. Hollande has done today what he ought to have done ages ago by increasing border controls. EU legislation will only let Hollande do this for a period of up to two months.

The attack on Lebanon is not unprecedented, but the terror has gotten bolder as sharing a border with war-ravaged Syria makes it “an accessible target.” With Hezbollah having a growing presence in the country, Lebanon has been described as “a stable instability” where “various factions have lived in relative peace.”  This has been cruelly undermined by the “factional struggles between Islamic terror groups” that are emerging as Hezbollah and ISIS fight each other with civilians in between.

A similar situation has emerged in Baghdad today as ISIL killed 26 people and injured dozens more by targeting the funeral of a Shia fighter killed in battle. This followed a “roadside bomb detonated at Shia shrine” which killed 5 and wounded at least 15 others.

There has been international reaction of sympathy towards the extent of attacks but also a formidable reluctance to call out Islamic extremism for what it is. While President Obama called this “an attack on all humanity and the values we share,” he left out ‘Islam’ from his terror statement on Paris even after twitter erupted with celebratory messages by members and sympathizers of Islamic State. The bearing of responsibility for today’s attack was savagely clear but Obama still said “I don’t want to speculate at this point in terms of who was responsible.”  

Freedom of speech as a human right was savagely undermined by terrorist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and it is continually oppressed by radical Islamic extremism throughout the Middle East. How many more people will have to be killed in order not to offend anyone? Sympathy is all good and well but it doesn’t bring back the dead.

Celeste Arenas is a 3rd year Arts student at the University of Sydney. She is the Community Relations Manager for the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance and on the Executive Board of Australia & NZ Students for Liberty, as well as on the Executive of the University of Sydney Libertarian Society.

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