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2015年11月17日 (火)

パリの同時多発テロ 許せぬ自由社会への暴力

--The Asahi Shimbun, Nov. 15
EDITORIAL: World shares France’s grief after heartless attacks in Paris
(社説)パリの同時多発テロ 許せぬ自由社会への暴力

The cruelty of the terrorist attacks in Paris made us shudder. This barbarous act, which took so many lives indiscriminately, was a tragedy not just for France, but for the entire globe.

A Friday night in Paris turned murderous. Random shootings and explosions occurred almost simultaneously at multiple locations in central parts of the city, leaving a tremendous number of people dead or wounded.

All the attacks took place at venues that were bustling with crowds. Guns were fired at random in a hall that was hosting a rock concert packed with young people, as well as at restaurants and a cafe. Bomb blasts, apparently from suicide bombers, rocked a soccer stadium in the suburbs.

Most of the victims were ordinary citizens who had nothing to do with conflicts or extremist thought. The grief of the victims and their families can never be fully fathomed.

This barbarous act of violence on citizens can never be forgiven.

The most important task for the government of France, for the time being, will be to eliminate public anxiety by restoring peace and order. The French government should also move steadily to uncover the facts and background behind the attacks.

The international community should work together to support that effort. France is not the only nation that is bearing the brunt of terrorism. Every citizen should be reminded that his or her country could be facing the same danger tomorrow.


In January, Paris was the site of successive attacks on the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical weekly newspaper, and a kosher grocery. Seventeen people, including citizens and police officers, were killed in the serial attacks.

The latest attacks took place at a time when the Charlie Hebdo tragedy was still fresh in many minds, leaving the public seriously shocked.

Anxiety is also spreading across the globe, because later this month Paris will host the Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21). The terrorists possibly also had that in mind.

Since January, the government of France was supposed to have strengthened security in an all-out effort to prevent a recurrence. But that measure still failed to block the multiple coordinated attacks that once again stained the French capital in blood.

Civil facilities are called “soft targets,” which are not quite like military or other establishments. Even though their vulnerability to attacks is no secret, we are faced with a dilemma, whereby stepping up control over human mobility could erode the principles of a liberalist society.

Terrorist attacks are called challenges to freedom exactly for that reason.

Whatever their direct political motives, terrorist attacks are always intended to incite fear in a peaceful and civilized society and create a divide between people.

As in the case of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in January, it has been pointed out that radical Islamists were involved in the latest attacks. But, even if that is true, we should not readily associate the attacks with Muslims at large or with immigrant communities.

It comes across as all too natural that a group of French Muslims has released a statement denouncing the attacks. Similar incidents are often followed by speech and actions that encourage attacks on Muslims or rejection of immigrants.

We should not play into the terrorists’ hands and allow society to become divided, which is what the terrorists want. We should remain level-headed and steady in taking countermeasures without compromising the principles of freedom.


The French government believes the latest attacks were perpetrated by the Islamic State (IS), a group of extremists that has expanded its influence in the Middle East.

Individuals under the influence of IS have carried out terrorist attacks in many parts of the world. French government officials said the latest attacks were planned and organized outside France.

Paris decided to institute military actions in the Middle East from last year. It joined a U.S.-led coalition and began air raids on targets in Iraq, and starting this autumn has also been conducting air strikes in Syria against the IS.

If the latest attacks were intended as retaliation against these actions, that means the world is once again facing a global chain of violence that transcends national and regional borders.

The 9/11 attacks on the United States in 2001 were carried out by al-Qaida, a militant Islamist organization that was based in Afghanistan.

The Madrid train bombings of 2004 and the London bombings of 2005 were associated with the Iraq War and other turbulence in the Middle East. The latest attacks also appear highly likely to be repercussions in Europe of the wars being fought in the Middle East over the IS issue.

The civil war in Syria, which has yet to show signs of dissipating, has resulted in the deaths of more than 200,000 people and has displaced millions of refugees and evacuees. The chaotic state there is generating serious global problems, including the proliferation of terrorism and an outflow of refugees.

Dilapidation, warfare and poverty in a certain region, no matter what remote corner of the world, are bound to erode the stability of the entire global community in due course of time.

The ravaging consequences of the terrorist attacks should give us opportunities to once again reflect on the pathological state threatening today’s world and reconfirm the will of the international community to take that as a challenge and face it.


After the latest attacks, French President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency and had the country’s borders closed. The authorities called on the public to stay home and are restricting movement within the capital.

Although those response measures are well-intentioned to ensure safety and carry out investigations, they will inevitably cause a slowdown in civic life. We hope France will manage to get past the current crisis without forgetting its standing as a world-leading advocate of human rights.

Other nations, including Japan, should share the pain and grief of the French people and reaffirm their determination to create a world free of terrorism.


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