One must admire Parisians for the courage they have displayed over the last week. There has been a plethora of expressions of sympathy for the victims and their families, endless analyses of what happened and why, tough talk in bars and in articles with quasi-identical titles – “How to Conquer Daesh” – (L’Obs, 19-25 November), “How to Smash Daesh” (L’Express, 18-24 November) – brave denials of being afraid and encouragement to show it by continuing to go to the theatre, music concerts, sporting events and the local bistrot after the day’s boulot for the habitual apéro. Life must go on, and to change our life-style would be to admit defeat. The fact is that we really have no choice. Some of us – for the time being – will take precautions, avoiding crowds, accepting restrictions to our freedom of movement, inspection of our persons and belongings and even houses, traffic jams and other inconveniences required by security. But we know that the officially declared three-month state of emergency is here to stay. From now on, we will all be in harm’s way.
Not a very encouraging prospect. While terrorists are planning their next strike we will try to find the courage to pursue our daily routines rather than live in constant fear of being part of the next tragedy. We can no longer be blind or indifferent to the now permanent threat of violence and death. We shall approve or at least tolerate the costly measures security demands. We will accept necessary restrictions on freedoms we have enjoyed until now. But some of us will not be content with fatalism, resignation and safety first. We will promote reflection on the root-causes and motivations of terrorists, do our best to deradicalize the fanatics and prevent the indoctrination of new recruits to Daesh.
The battle will be for hearts and minds. Until Daesh self-destructs by recognition of its blind faith and blind folly, we will continue to live in a Reign of Terror. The Catholic Inquisition no longer exists. When will Islamic terrorism become a thing of the past ?