The despicable Paris attacks show the desperation of the IS. The US, after the 9/11 attack, have tightened the security and set up a strong internal surveillance system, whether approved or clandestine, making it virtually impregnable for the militants. France on the other hand is a soft target, with enormous overt and covert support from disgruntled locals settled in many suburbs, particularly of Paris city.
A friend in Saint Denis, a Paris suburb, invited me for a dinner. The surroundings were scary, with offensive graffiti. Narrow eye slits expressed the disdain of a foreign face in an expensive car in their region. I discreetly enquired with my host on the safety of the car, having seen a unforgettable scene in an Oscar winning film ‘Slum dog Millionaire,’ where upon return the owner finds that all the tires and many other parts missing from the car parked in Asia’s largest slum, Dharavi. Though he laughed aloud and comforted me I could not cherish the wines in his cellar.
Having been visiting France for the last four decades regularly and having close ties with the French, I think the people in general are a bit different. If Germans could be labeled as ‘bound by rulebook,’ the French are more humane. They normally do not interfere in private life and are liberal to comical levels. Permitting Charlie Hebdo was invitation to trouble, which the French knew, but stopping them was sacrilege as well. The French would have gone on and on debating the issue, even more than the escapades of their chivalrous President, which the citizens ended as his proof of being human.
Tapping of phones, or eavesdropping too is offensive to the core values of French, and an American counterpart on the other hand would not have cared to nab any mischief monger. If the US believes in prevention, the French believe in cure. There lies the malady.
Carrying the core value of the bloated French pride in participating with the US, while attacking Syria, the French government has forgotten their responsibility to protect their citizens, or has taken things in a cavalier manner. French is more like Bengal, happy with dance, songs, theatres and movies, poetry reading, dining and wining! (Though the last part is sadly missing in Bengal).
I thought Charlie Hebdo would be the last act of desperation by terrorists. A nation, which prides itself as one of the forerunner in defence, be it internal or external, should have revamped its intelligence gathering, which would have saved many lives lost.
The IS is succeeding in breaking the morale of common citizens by such acts of terrorism. They also may be succeeding in mentally alienating the disgruntled French minorities from the mainstream, thereby attracting them to convert as sympathizers of the IS. To engineer backlash on the minorities and thus cause severe unrests in the country. One cannot forget the many days of violence triggered on 27th October 2005 from Clichy-sous-bois, resulting in declaration of emergency on 8th November 2005 with 3 arrests and 3000 arrests and 9000 vehicles burnt in 20 days of mayhem.
Liberalism has its limitations as well! Se réveiller la France!