PLEASE NOTE – this blog has been edited to remove a paragraph that caused some confusion and led to some people assuming I was anti-Muslim. Far from it. I grew up surrounded by Muslims and am not anti ANYONE unless they cause pain and suffering)
The events in Paris on Friday 13th November 2015 shocked the world. This is a personal reflection on them.
I was in Paris on Monday afternoon. More specifically, I was in the Arab quarter at my favourite café where I chat to the Middle-Eastern staff and African taxi drivers on the rank outside it. Many of them are probably Muslim but not terrorists.
This morning, like the rest of the country I am in a state of disbelief and shock. This takes me straight back to the defensive attitude we all adopted in London during the mid-70s when I was a student there surrounded by IRA atrocities. More than that, I am terrified of the backlash and possible bloodbath that may follow. Yes, I noticed more armed soldiers than usual at Gare du Nord and Gare de l’Est but we are always on a high terrorist alert in Paris.
Our President has declared us in a state of emergency and announced a lock-down. This doesn’t mean that nobody is allowed in or out, but every passport and every vehicle crossing a border will be checked. This is not normally the case. Driving an EEC- country registered vehicle and waving the appropriate passport, one seldom has to stop. The back-log at the frontiers will be chaotic. Already tourists are stranded in Paris waiting for the next available plane to get them home.
My main fears are for the immediate future. Gray, the next big town to us, has a large Muslim population, to the point where there are Halal sections in all the supermarkets. How many of these ordinary French citizens are going to suffer as a consequence of terrorists hiding behind the Islamic flag?