A Dagger Through the Heart of Liberal Europe

Paris 2014: Jihadist Attackers Strike the Softest of Soft Targets.

Peter Foster writes: The Paris attacks that killed at least 128 people on Saturday night will put renewed pressure on Europe Schengen agreement and threaten the “very essence” of the European way of life, as far-right parties seek to capitalise on the attacks, analysts have warned.

With Paris now enduring this second major terror bloodbath in under a year, questions are now being asked about how much longer both Europe’s open border system and vision of a tolerant, multi-cultural society can survive.

“With Paris in lockdown and France closing its borders, we can see all too clearly that what is at stake here is the very essence of our way of life in Europe,” said Davis Lewin, the deputy director of the Henry Jackson Society, a conservative think-tank.

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Attacks threaten viability of Schengen agreement and the vision of tolerant, multi-cultural society that is ‘essence’ of Europe, analysts warn.

Designed to facilitate the free movement of goods and labour that is the economic life-blood of the continent, the Schengen system has also enabled the easy transfer of both weapons and, potentially jihadist fighters, across those same borders.

Following the attacks, Francois Hollande, the French President also re-imposed border controls in a bid to ensure that none of the Paris terrorists or their support network in France were able to escape, as occurred after the Charlie Hebdo atrocity.

Even before the Paris attacks, Donald Tusk, the EU president, had warned that Europe faced a “race against time” to save the 20-year-old system, which is seen as one of the Union’s most concrete achievements.

Police and customs officers control vehicles on November 14, 2015 at the France-Belgium border at Neuville-en-Ferrain

Police and customs officers control vehicles at the France-Belgium border at Neuville-en-Ferrain

In the last few months Germany, Austria, Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia have all re-introduced some form of border controls in order to try and regulate the flow of migrants – many from Syria and Iraq – as they flooded into Europe.

The security risks posed by open borders were highlighted by both the Charlie Hebdo attack and the botched Thalys train attack earlier this year, when in both cases the weapons used in France had been smuggled in from Belgium. Read the rest of this entry »


Sympathisants Jihadists: In Paris Neighborhood Heavily Hit by Terrorists, Bobo Hipster Residents View Attackers as Victims 

‘They’re stupid, but they aren’t evil,’ says Parisian woman who works in 11th arrondissement, and in Place de la Republique, no one wanted to talk about Islamists or the Islamic State.

PARIS – Ansel Pfeffer reports: On the day after the terror campaign in Paris that left 129 people dead and more than 300 wounded, residents of the French capital are still trying to absorb what hit them.

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“They are victims of a system that excluded them from society, that’s why they felt this doesn’t belong to them and they could attack. There are those who live here in alienation, and we are all to blame for this alienation.”

By evening, after they had avoided gathering outdoors all day on the orders of police, hundreds of people started to assemble at the Place de la Republique, only a few hundred meters from the Bataclan concert hall where four terrorists had held hostage hundreds of people for more than two hours, killing 89 of them. From Boulevard Voltaire, where the hall is located and which was closed by police, ambulances carrying the bodies of the victims would emerge every few minutes, sirens wailing. As of last night only a handful of the victims had been named.

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“They don’t want us to think that maybe it’s connected to the policies of our government and of the United States in the Middle East. These are people the government gave up on, and you have to ask why.” 

A group of friends was standing near the candles that had been lit at the foot of the monument at the square, trying to find out if the waiter that had served them at La Belle Equipe, one of the restaurants attacked in the 11th arrondissement, had been killed.

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“One member of the group said they had come to the square to demonstrate ‘unity,’ but they didn’t seem to feel solidarity with the victims of the last wave of terror. There were signs calling for unity, but it wasn’t clear what they were meant to unite around.”

“It’s very personal, what’s happened,” said Stephan Byatt, an actor who lives on a nearby street. He has a hard time finding the words to describe what he’s feeling. His friend, Bruno Michlaud, a graphic artist, tries to help out. “It’s a symbol of Paris, a symbol of life. They hurt us in the center of our lives and each of us could have been one of those killed.”

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But they aren’t angry, at least not at the perpetrators. “They’re stupid, but they aren’t evil,” their friend Sabrina, an administrative worker in one of the theaters in the 11th arrondissement, said. “They are victims of a system that excluded them from society, that’s why they felt this doesn’t belong to them and they could attack. There are those who live here in alienation, and we are all to blame for this alienation.”

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“Perhaps it’s correct to bomb them in the name of democracy and freedom, but it brought the war in Syria to us in France. I don’t think it’s worth it.”

Ten months after the previous wave of terror in Paris that hit the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher kosher supermarket, one might assume that residents would feel a sense of continuity, but that didn’t seem to be the case. “Then they harmed journalists and Jews, those were defined targets,” said one of the young people who had come to the square. “Now it was an attack with no objective, anyone could have been hurt.” Read the rest of this entry »