In a series of attacks coordinated by the Islamic State (ISIS), six locations targeted within Paris left 129 people dead, and 99 people in critical condition. Governments, organizations, and private citizens around the world are responding to the devastation in a myriad of ways.
French President Francois Hollande declared that the attacks are an “act of war that was prepared, organized, planned from abroad with internal help.” He has vowed to the French people that he will go after those responsible by increasing military efforts in ISIS controlled territories.
Meanwhile, those in Paris are mostly coming together in solidarity and expressing feelings of nationalism, singing “Le Marseillaise” and recalling the country’s motto of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite.” While many Parisians have stayed indoors today, there are those who have ventured on the streets and are encouraging those in the city to demonstrate to ISIS that the French people are not afraid. The country is spending the next three days in mourning.
World leaders are now also speaking out in support of France. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, speaking emotionally, told France that “We, your German friends, feel very close to you. We cry with you. We will lead this fight together with you against those who did such unimaginable things to you.”
President Obama has condemned the attacks as an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians” and feels like this was an “attack on all humanity.”
Newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “Our hearts and thoughts and prayers go out to our French cousins in this dark and terrible time.”
Social media sources have been bombarded with thoughts, opinions, pleas, and prayers for the victims in Paris. Many on Facebook are changing their profile picture to include the French flag, images of the Eiffel Tower, or the artwork created in response, entitled “Peace for Paris.”
A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on
Tweets have been made by ISIS, and ISIS supporters, celebrating the bombings and shootings, and warning others that the Islamic State will continue to go to foreign countries to carry out more vile deeds. During the attacks, they were using the hashtag #parisisburning.
And some, unfortunately, are attaching their own, mostly unrelated, political agendas. Ann Coulter raised the issue of “concealed carry permits,” June Miller went after the #BlackOnCampus movement, and Roger L. Simon blamed President Obama for the Paris attacks because he has focused too much on climate change.
Too bad there were no concealed carry permits … anywhere in Europe … since 1818.
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) November 14, 2015
Now maybe the whining adolescents at our universities can concentrate on something other than their need for “safe” spaces…
— Judith Miller (@JMfreespeech) November 13, 2015
For the majority of us, however, what we are experiencing is pain and disbelief. Pope Francis may have captured that best in his response, saying, not only was he “moved and saddened” by what has occurred, but that he doesn’t “understand these things. They are difficult to understand, carried out by human beings.” This destruction of human life and the unadulterated hatred is difficult to grasp, and for many of us it is hard to come terms of living in such a world.
Gwen is a writer who has an education degree, a social work background, an extensive knowledge of vegetables, and a devotion to queer revolutionary politics. She lives deep in the woods of Maine with two dogs, a magnificent partner, and an ever-growing collection of plants.