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Faced With Hatred, We Must Respond With Unity

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 14/11/2015 Dominique Sopo
PARIS ATTACKS © Christopher Furlong via Getty Images PARIS ATTACKS

The carefreeness of an autumn evening and a faint, lingering sense of summer washed over Paris and its suburbs on the evening of Friday, November 13. For my part, I was engaged in a conversation about France, its tensions, and its proponents of hate, who collectively spread hatred in our shared living space. The discussion dealt with our country's institutional failures, and the deadlocks it's facing. It touched on the relationship between Jews and Arabs, an impassioned node that represents the war in Algeria... But we also touched on the darkness that comes with the situation in which the Arab-Muslim world and the West regard themselves as blocks in perpetual confrontation, each driven by evil genies to live in perpetual fear of the other. We spoke of dishonest and perverse politicians and positions, political parties more interested in capitalizing on these pains to create fractures and hatred than in building bridges. We spoke of my plans to implement projects to overcome these obstacles -- to become stronger as a country and more fulfilled as individuals.

But that's when I learned, through my smartphone's buzzing, that a fatal shooting was underway, just a few hundred meters from where we sat.

A society faced with terrorism fails at the moment it behaves exactly as the ideologies of terror predict it will. Do not grant them the satisfaction.

It was not a shooting. It was carnage -- a word that in its origin, refers to the slaughtering of animals. For the assassins' bullets, grenades and explosives did not see men and women, but rather a dehumanized and faceless mass whose blood needed to be shed.
These actors, like those that struck the capital last January, are moved by a jihadist ideology. That is to say, an ideology of death, composed of racism and anti-Semitism. In the face of these attacks, nothing would justify complacency. It won't be acceptable to witness what we witnessed in January, for individuals and groups who specialize in maintaining this nauseous disorder to reverse the positions of the executioners and the victims, to make the most dubious insinuations about the nature of the events that have taken place.
Faced with the murder of innocents, there is no "but." Faced with the murder of innocents, we cannot take violence against bodies and the taking of lives for granted as legitimate means of action, or permissible outlets for hostility. Freedom of speech brings with it a responsibility for the words that are spoken. The questionable word, the ambiguous word, the evil word, they might not directly call for crime. But they can be words that cover up crime, or even worse, facilitate it. In this regard, the press would be well advised to not show complacency -- or admiration -- towards groups that present themselves under the trappings of anti-racism but invite young people to take the path of dignity by confining themselves to acrimony.
Faced with such attacks of unprecedented magnitude and savagery, the only response worth giving are a clear and sharp condemnation of these actions and a recalling of our values of liberty, equality and fraternity.
Always be wary of those who think they can thrive on the misfortunes of the country.

If the goal of terrorists is to instill fear and cause us to strip ourselves of our own liberties, no one should be fooled by their fundamental objective: to trigger the cycle of hatred in our society.
In this regard, how can we not be disgusted by politicians who, while the bodies of the victims were not yet cold, delivered messages of hatred against people of the Muslim faith. Always be wary of those who think they can thrive on the misfortunes of the country. In response to them, we recall that killers' bullets do not discriminate between religions, skin colors and nationalities.
As the political momentum in France continues to limit the public realm, let us reject all behaviors that deepen this fatal path, a path that paints us as a country ready to implode, and one in which our country is seen as being in a state of battle between two camps, whose mutual radicalization justify one another's.
A society faced with terrorism fails at the moment it behaves exactly as the ideologies of terror predict it will. Do not grant them the satisfaction.
This post first appeared on HuffPost France. It has been translated into English.

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