Terror has struck a cruel and devastating blow again. Paris, the city of love, light and culture in a country that brought us the tenets of liberty, equality and fraternity has been wounded and hurt and our hearts are broken for the pain that her citizens are enduring.
Daesh (ISIS) have claimed responsibility for this attack and said that France remains at the “top of their list of targets”. Paris is the latest stop on ISIS world tour of terror. Not satisfied with wreaking havoc on the Middle East in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya and wherever they can cause maximum devastation, these arch terrorists have their eyes set firmly on the west. Beirut was also a target this past week with many casualties, proving that a Muslim country is also in their sites. It is no longer a clash of civilisations – it is a battle for the future of humanity.
And let’s call them what they are. They are terrorists. Not fundamentalists, extremists or militants but terrorists.
The city of Tel Aviv rallies and stands in solidarity with Paris
No amount of outstretched hands and unclenched fists is going to placate those who have declared war against humanity in the hope of re-establishing their caliphate. It is time to call a spade a shovel. Pussyfooting around the issue by speaking fluent politically correct is not going to solve anything.
Terrorists don’t care about platitudes and overtures. Their goal is to sow fear and cause as much destruction as they possibly can. Until we call them what they are, we cannot defeat them.
Nobody is immune to their ideology of hate. ISIS bring a level of terror and barbarity so depraved that not even your common garden variety terror organizations like Hamas, Al Qaeda or Islamic Jihad want to be associated with them. They have marched through the Middle East using medieval torture techniques, raping, slaughtering and beheading Christians, Yazidis and Muslims who do not subscribe to their particular brand of religion and destroying priceless and holy antiquity in their wake.
The surrounding walls of the Old city in Jerusalem lit in the colours of the French flag
Terrorists love soft targets. The diners eating in a restaurant. The music fans attending a concert. The person waiting for a bus. The family driving to loved ones to celebrate a special Shabbat. They prey on those who cannot defend themselves. They are the consummate cowards.
In the weeks to come we will start debating what should be done in the wake of these horrific events. Perhaps Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has a valid point when he says he would rather take the fight to them before they barge through the door and into Russia.
It is a difficult dilemma – how do we provide humanitarian support and assistance to those refugees fleeing the very perpetrators of this terror but are being exploited by terrorists who are using the situation to enter countries granting refuge and attack their citizens? It is a horrendous side effect of terrorism when those in need of our assistance become targets of suspicion because their plight has been used as a Trojan horse for terrorists.
It may sound repetitive but Israelis really understand, perhaps more than most, the veracity and trauma caused by terror. Israel is the litmus test and is the frontline battlefield in the global war against terror but instead of listening to us, the world and in particular the media, castigate our efforts to defend ourselves. A repugnant moral equivalence has been drawn between victim and perpetrator and any excuse is used to justify attacks. This has to stop now.
Many Israelis have taken to social media and expressed their frustration at the lack of concern and solidarity shown to us as we endure this current wave of terror. Nobody is placing temporary Israeli flags on Facebook pictures and while it is hurtful that our pain does not register among the family of nations and even many Jews in the diaspora, I am proud that despite all of this, Israel stands in solidarity with our French brothers and sisters. I am proud that we have lit our national buildings in the colours of the French flag and lowered our flags to half-mast. I am proud that we have dispensed aid and security expertise to our French counterparts. This is the Israel I know and love. An Israel filled with compassion and humanity to those who are in pain because we empathise and understand it better than many others.
The Knesset (Israeli Parliament) lit up and flags at half mast
Tragedy also brings with it the best of humanity. Today the world is united in our grief and random acts of kindness are a reminder that terror will never win.
But we need to stay united in our fight against terror. Now is the time for world leaders to do more than say catchy soundbites or shy away from the truth lest it offends those who buy into this murderous ideology. Now is the time to take a page from Churchill who led the offensive against the Nazi war machine and famously said “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.
We shall never surrender. Nous sommes unis. We are one.
A tweet from Charlie Hebdo cartoonist, Joanne Sfar