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Bodies removed from the Bataclan theater, Friday night. Living in denial is an ominous sign
Photo: EPA
Ben-Dror Yemini
Wailing sirens in the middle of Kiddush
Op-ed: We arrived at our friends' house for a Friday evening meal when the Paris outside was bright and merry; we walked out to a shocked and gloomy city.
PARIS - It's Friday evening. We are in the middle of the traditional "Shalom Aleichem" song during a Shabbat Eve dinner with friends in central Paris. Everything is calm and quiet.

  

 

Towards the end of the meal, the text messages arrive. Is everything okay? We have no idea what is going on. We turn on the television. At first, it seems like a minor event. Nothing to get excited about. And then, from the outside, the sounds of sirens clarify that it's much more serious than that. We are just minutes away from the Bataclan theater which was targeted. The picture is far from being full. There are a number of bleeding centers.

 

We arrived at our friends' house when the Paris outside was merry. We walked out to a shocked and gloomy Paris. The restaurants and pubs were deserted. The streets were slowly deserted too. Only the sirens kept on wailing ceaselessly. A few more minutes passed before the extent of the horror was revealed. While we were drinking wine merrily, the audience at the Eagles of Death Metal rock concert - what a symbolic name - was massacred one by one. Like ducks.

 

The Islamic State has taken pride in the fact that it has extensions within European countries. It has promised that the attacks will arrive. And it has kept its promise.

 

Paris began three days of mourning Saturday, but the free world needs many more days of self-examination (Photo: EPA)
Paris began three days of mourning Saturday, but the free world needs many more days of self-examination (Photo: EPA)

 

Only four days ago, there was a wave of arrests of radical Islamic activists, who started a recruitment network and planned terror attacks. It turns out that the security services are unaware of what is going on. There is no country with total prevention, not even Israel. So there is no need to disregard the French security services.

 

On Saturday morning, the city was empty. Most of the large commercial chains, like Galeries Lafayette, remained closed. So did most of the other businesses, without receiving any order. Compared to vibrant and joyful Paris, it was a city under curfew.

 

The synagogues actually opened. They receive tight security from the French army. But at 10 am, the order arrived: Please end the prayer and evacuate the synagogue. The same order was issued to every synagogue in France. Other public institutions, like the many museums, received a similar order even earlier.

 

Certain areas in Paris have undergone a demographic change over time. The majority there has become Muslim. Crowds of young people usually gather there. They are part of the potential intifada threatening France in general and Paris in particular.

 

On Saturday, things were quiet there. After the murder at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices, there were expressions of understanding and support among young Muslims. In the schools, they refused to stand up in memory of the victims. What now? Why it's hard to find any justification. After all, we are not talking about revenge following a disregard of Muslims. So the coming days will also test France's social strength.

 

Most of the Muslims in France, according to many surveys, do not support the radical jihad. Most of them are loyal citizens. But there is no need for a majority in order to create a crisis. The French, for their part, have been afraid of a Muslim takeover for years. The majority see it as a danger to French culture.

 

When I spoke to several young people, who were clearly Muslim, they insisted on one thing only: It's still unclear whether the perpetrators were Muslim. In the afternoon hours, it was already clear.

 

But living in denial is an ominous sign. That was what happened in the days and years after the terror attacks in the United States. In many Muslim countries there was a majority which claimed that the Americans or Israelis were behind the attacks. It's only a matter of time before this foolishness spreads like wildfire. There are those who want to buy these goods.

 

France will never be the same, a French intellectual told me. It's an illusion, I replied. That's exactly what they said after the terror attacks in the US. Since then, the situation has become much worse. The Islamic jihad, with all its extensions, has become much more lethal, popular and strong. It is shattering countries and controlling areas as big as a country. It is raising its head in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

The hatred for the free world has only increased. And the elites - not all of them, but some of them - have been busy justifying the radicals: They are miserable, they are deprived, they are desperate, they are poor. It's all because of the oppressive West and the Zionists, and perhaps the Jews who control the world. Even US Secretary of State John Kerry argued that it was because they were poor. And the terrorists didn't even know they were poor. Neither in the New York attacks nor in the attacks in Madrid, London and now Paris.

 

Paris began three days of mourning Saturday. But the free world needs many more days of self-examination. It's uncertain that rethinking things will defeat terror. But with illusions of poor and desperate, with a routine supply of excuses for murderers, we are likely to see many more terror attacks.

 

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