by Jenna Gibson
On Friday, Nov. 13, tragedy struck France: coordinated terrorist attacks occurred all over Paris. These attacks involved mass shootings, hostage-taking, and suicide bombings, killing 129 people and injuring hundreds more. Eighty-nine of those people were killed during an Eagles of Death Metal concert at the Bataclan Theatre, where the attackers took hostages until early morning of Nov 14. There were also three suicide bombers surrounding Stade de France in Saint-Denis, a stadium just north of Paris, along with four other suicide bombings near the middle of the capital.
“I found out about the Paris attacks a few minutes after midnight,” Amara Johnson, a freshman at Millsaps, said. “I felt restless and sad, angry as well. Over 120 people killed, countless others injured…They took innocent lives all in the name of violence. The incident reminded me to cherish the moments I have and to hold dearly to each day. I pray for Paris and for the people affected by the attacks.”
Dr. Andrew Thaw, a professor here at Millsaps, stated the following about the attacks: “Here in the US and also in Western Europe we are faced with the realization that the security measures and precautions that have been put in place to protect citizens have proven ineffective in deterring certain forms of terrorism. However, at the same time we can view this latest terror attack as an event that will most likely unite the Western countries and lead to a combining of efforts and resources that would otherwise not have occurred. The important thing to keep in mind about such attacks is that they are carried out by fringe groups or extremists who do not represent large populations of people.”
The attacks have been claimed by the ISIL (the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant), their supposed reason being French’s unwanted involvement in the Syrian Civil War and the Iraqi Civil War. The suspected leader of this terror, an ISIS member named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was killed in a raid on Nov. 18.
Many countries have started to take in Syrian and Iraqi refugees, and Obama has recently stated the United States will also be taking in refugees. This has sparked controversy throughout the United States; on the 19, the House passed a bill that could limit Syrian refugees, and perhaps abolish the possibility altogether.
“I see a lot of conflicting information and hypocrisy on the internet,” Bailey Smith, a freshman at Millsaps, states. “Syrian refugees go through interviews, and it’s a process to get here. Three-fourths of them coming to the U.S. are women and children. I understand the safety concerns though. Many parents are skeptical and want to keep their children and family safe from possible future attacks in America.”
On Monday, the 16, Phil Bryant, the Governor of Mississippi, announced that he would do everything in his power to stop refugees from coming into Mississippi.
Thaw had this to say about the Syrian refugees: “While I see the uniting of targeted countries as comforting with respect to increasing the safety of their citizens, I also anticipate that many innocent victims will be caught up in the raids and military style counter-terrorism movements that the Western countries will carry out. Being associated with terror cells does not make one a terrorist, but given the callousness with which the Paris attacks were carried out I do not expect the response by Western forces to be mild or discriminant.”
Picture is courtesy of International Business Times.