A radicalized Islamist plowed through throngs of people in Nice, France yesterday. It was National Day, somewhat akin to our Fourth of July and Boston Tea Party wrapped up in one with fire works and one of the largest military parades in Europe. It is a day set aside to commemorate several pivotal 18th century events that resulted in a break from the monarchy. If only the throngs throughout France knew what they were celebrating, maybe the political response to what happened would be different.
By 1789 large segments of the French people had tired of the excesses of the monarchy and its courts that were supported by, you guessed it, extremely onerous taxes. So the people, backed by an influential Catholic Church (a decision the Church would shortly thereafter regret), took control of the government, violently, on July 14, 1789. Heads rolled. Literally. For this very reason, the terror attack was timed for this special day.
Initial reports are that ISIS claimed the slaughter was appropriate, “revenge” mass-murder for the death of its minister of war, Abu Omar al-Shishani. ISIS or ISIS supporters were quick with the social media responses:
“Oh France, you and the all Europe will never be secure until we will live secure on every inch in the land of the Caliphate”
“This is the beginning of the attack to take the holy revenge for the killing of Abu Omar Shishani, may Allah accept him”
These were not “senseless,” “cowardly,” or any other of the seemingly perfunctory statements that political leaders and reporters blather on about every time this happens. It was a well-planned albeit poorly, thankfully, executed attack (it appears they had more in store), designed to inflict physical as well as long-term psychological pain on the French people, and indeed, Europe and the world. The radicalized Islamists have seen the politically correct weakness close up, and they are taking advantage of it to spread terror.
Prime Minister François Hollande’s initial response was flaccid. It might as well have been delivered by a robot. You know the script. Anger. A passing reference to radicalized Islam and terrorism. More police coming and soldiers. Indignation. Evil doers are attracted to weakness. There was plenty on tap yesterday and, likely, a great deal more to come as French leaders, well, just exist.
In a few days roadside flower, candle, and ballon memorials will, as if on cue, spring up on Nice streets. Throngs of people will bewildered looks on their emotionless faces will also show up; if we’re lucky, an even smaller number may even attend Mass. Somber-looking dignitaries will join in. Then life goes on. The new normal. So much so that the media is already engaging in politically-correct story telling, not reporting.
I hope, however, that the French people do a little more this time and, if they still know how, reach deep within them for some of the patriotic fervor that drove their ancestors centuries ago to forever change a once great nation. And, yes, I still believe there are large numbers of French patriots looking for a leader. I saw a glint yesterday on television, not from any political figure, but from what seemed to be civilians chasing down the death machine that was mass-murdering Frenchmen and many others. Two Americans, a father and son from Texas, are among the victims.
French Patriots must hold their leaders accountable. They shoulder much of the blame and they, too, must be held to account. New leadership is long overdue because, as opposition leader Marine Le Pen has said many times the past few years, “the fight against Islamic fundamentalism must start” or France and other nations in the free world, as we know it, will cease to exist. This year alone, radical Islamists have launched close to 1,300 attacks in 50 countries. More than 11,000 people were killed about another 14,000 wounded. Pray today for the dead. And hope that tomorrow, political leaders will once and for all take the fight to the enemy. It is a world war.