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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:01 am 
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I am sure you are all aware by now that yesterday during the night, Paris has suffered several terrorist attacks among one on the Bataclan, music hall in Paris and one in the Stade de France where a friendly football match between Germany and France was taking place. There are around 140/150 victims, among which some of the attackers who blew themselves up when the police stormed the Bataclan.

Everything I read in the last hours was in French, so I am sorry not to post a link, I am quite sure you can find one.

There seems to be a clear islamic background to the attacks.

I am very much worried about the political outcome of these attacks. The links to the European refugee crisis will certainly be made quickly and by many.

I had hesitated to post a topic about the refugee crisis, but felt it would not have met interest here, but this time it was just too horrible an event.

Those who know Eari, she is safe.

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Last edited by Nin on Sat Nov 14, 2015 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 2:08 pm 
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I made a long post in response to this that seems to have gotten eaten by the internet. So perhaps I'll just repeat the part about my hearts going out to all of the victims and their families, and the people of that vibrant city, and that I find the whole thing unfathomable, and leave it at that.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 3:24 pm 
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I am just now watching footage of everything. :cry: I'm so sorry for all of the loss of life. I'm so sick of things like this!

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 7:04 pm 
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Nin, thank you for mentioning that Eari is safe. My first thought was of her when I heard.

I don't have any words, yet.

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:37 pm 
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I considered starting a thread on this last night, but I really couldn't think of anything to say. The thing that really disturbs me is that we can pretty much say for certain that this will happen again, and again. Somewhere else each time. London? Berlin? Toronto? Chicago? Cairo? Islamabad? It could be anywhere.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:54 am 
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Yes, it could be anywhere. What a world this is! :(

I share Nin's worries about what this may mean for the future.

And my heart is bruised to see my home-away-from-home suffering like this....

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:12 am 
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I've linked to Yonatan Zunger's Google+ posts before, and once again he provides the most insightful, unbiased analysis of the situation. This is an engineer's approach, where a horrifying event is addressed with hard facts and painful conclusions.

https://plus.google.com/+YonatanZunger/ ... N2yx54bxPa

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‘There’s no greys, only white that’s got grubby. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And sin, young man, is when you treat people as things. Including yourself. That’s what sin is.’
‘It’s a lot more complicated than that -’
‘No. It ain’t. When people say things are a lot more complicated than that, they means they’re getting worried that they won’t like the truth. People as things, that’s where it starts.’
Terry Pratchett, Carpe Jugulum


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:22 am 
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Here is a link to an excellent and informative article from "The Atlantic" about ISIS. Probably the most detailed and knowledgeable article I have ever read. Long, but definitely worth the read.
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... ts/384980/


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:16 pm 
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Thanks, Jewel. That is a very informative article.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 6:51 pm 
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I fear that France was somehow a target because of its politics and I do think that the ex-colonial powers like France and Great-Britain are unfortunately more vulnerable than Germany or Austria which have no immediate colonial past. But I may be wrong in this.

For me, France is next door, the nearest supermarket is in France, the border is five minutes drive away, I have students living in France but going to school in Geneva because it is the closest school (and parents trust the Swiss educational system more). It is a love-hate relationship like often for linguistic minorities to the country of their language (but not as bad as between Germany and the German speaking part of Switzerland). I have been to Paris half a dozen times. Matthias lived there for a year. I have cousin in Paris. This hits close to home. Too close for comfort.

From here, I am worried for several things - besides students being late tomorrow because of increased border controls, for more serious things, of course.

For the interior politics of France: François Hollande was a weak president before the attacks already. Unpopular and undecided. There is no federating figure on the right - so I do fear this will benefit to the extreme right and the Front National of Marine LePen. They are very critic of European integration, of the Euro, of refugees coming to France, want to reinforce border controls and are xenophobic. This party being in the gouvernement would be a huge problem and it would mean an extreme right gouvernement in one of the most important countries in Europe - imho a disaster.

For Europe: The refugee crisis has shaken Europe on its foundations in the latest months and while personally I found the welcoming policy of Angela Merkel courageous and simply morally right, there is no easy answer to the challenges this crisis poses: integration of hundreds of thousands of people who need to learn a language, accept certain cultural values, be trained, lodged, fed... Already beforehand, several gouvernements of Central Europe, namely Poland and Hungary were reluctant to accept their quota of refugees - now they flatly refuse. It seems that one of the attackers was a registered Syrian migrant from Greece. I do fear that the fact that an extremely small percentage of the refugees do not flee from Da'ech but are actually promoting it in Europe will cast a shadow for all those who are seeking shelter.

The second problem in all of Europe will be, I fear, the attitude towards muslims. France has an important muslim minority and the clash of values between French ideas and obligations - like the fact that it is forbidden to wear a headscarf to school, as all religious symbols are banned from schools - and some muslim conceptions and traditions has a history. The problem is bit different in Germany - most of the German muslims are turks - but it still exists. It is too easy to mix up Islam with islamistic. Also for the muslim community, there is a clear need to show that Da'ech is a minority and to affirm their ability to find a place in this society and not to represent themselves only as victims.

Then, I do see a more general question about the values Europe and the Western world stand for. I view them as the values of the enlightenment, with for me as a core value the human rights and the idea that all human beings are equal in rights. The question is, how to define and defend those values. Is there a general consent about them? How can you defend them without falling into breaking them? The choice of title for this thread derives from this train of thought: to me, in fact, France has within its very conception answers to the threat posed and needs to remember them. "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité" is quite a slogan for the core values of the enlightenment.

Of course, there are days of sadness and mourning - but to answer those attacks and the challenges of this changing and changed world, a rational approach is crucial. I am sorry if I may sound cold. I had my share of sleepless (Samuel's girlfriend is in Paris this week-end....), and I do worry for my cousin from whom I have no news, but my brain is working more on this than my heart.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:46 pm 
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Nin, I have far less connection to any of this than you do, but you're echoing many of my own thoughts. I fear the reaction to this. I truly do. Winter is coming, refugees are swarming across the Balkans, Hungary's fence has already jacked things up, and now...what happens now? If the EU shuts its doors where are all these people going to go?

As for the passport found on one of the attacker's bodies, while parsimony suggests it belongs to him, let's wait and see. It's possible it was bought or stolen.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:47 pm 
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I don't think you sound cold at all, Nin. I think you sound thoughtful and intelligent. There are, unfortunately, no easy answers, but the more thoughtful consideration is given, the more likely that it that things will improve. I fear the opposite, however.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:15 pm 
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Just want to say that the two articles above (from Google+ and The Atlantic) are pretty much the best I've read on the subject. And while I don't agree with everything either one says, I feel smarter for having read both, and don't regret the time I committed to either.

Clearly, Google should be running the world. Oh; wait...


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:31 am 
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The article from Google+ is amazing. An engineer's approach, as Frelga said.

Nin, your thoughts are exactly what R and I have been discussing last few days.... Can we make that Google+ engineer lord of the planet?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 3:05 am 
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Yonatan Zunger's article is excellent--thanks for sharing, Frelga. I'll get to the Atlantic one when I have another stolen minute....

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:41 am 
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That was a great article, Frelga.

I'll try to read the one from Jewel tomorrow.

Nin, I really appreciated your insights.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:49 am 
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So did I. I hope to read those articles this weekend when I will be truly away from work for a few days.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:09 pm 
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Here is an article in the Guardian by someone who was held hostage by Isis.

Quote:
In Syria I learned that Islamic State longs to provoke retaliation. We should not fall into the trap


Quote:
Central to their world view is the belief that communities cannot live together with Muslims, and every day their antennae will be tuned towards finding supporting evidence. The pictures from Germany of people welcoming migrants will have been particularly troubling to them. Cohesion, tolerance – it is not what they want to see.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:15 pm 
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Quote:
Today, when I was coming home back from university, I saw an assembly of people with candles praying for the recent events. As I got on the tram, I then heard people saying how afraid they are for what the future holds for us.
I need to get something off my chest: not only do I understand this fear, but I'm really pained, physically pained, to see what direction our world is going to. I'm also very pained, as a Swiss, Muslim and Arab, to see what these barbaric monsters are doing to other humans. This is not a conflict of religions, it is all politics: not only Christians and Europeans have died, but many more Muslims and Arabs were killed, tortured, raped and displaced by those monsters. Islamism is used to instrumentalize and manipulate pathetic fools, nothing else. These are mad people who not only have to right to call themselves Muslims, but also have no right to exist. Not in our world, and I'm sure they have a special VIP corner in hell.
I'm also very pained by the way some people are portrayed in the news and by some politicians, as well as the extremist comments I'm reading these past months, and to those people I'd like to quote Malcolm X: “If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Then I read some extremists from the other side who are, shockingly, satisfied by these events. To those I'd like to say: do not lose your humanity and rationality. You have a moral OBLIGATION to show the world that the minority of monsters do not represent what the majority, who supposedly share the same faith as you ("supposedly", because obviously it's only a matter of the religion's name, nothing else) believe in.
In short, Syria, Lebanon, Kenya, Nigeria, Chad, France, Iraq, Mexico, Japan, Afghanistan and all other people who are suffering, HUMANITY, I'm hurting as well, not as much as you currently are, but I'm hurting... I don't know if praying would change anything, but know that you are not alone. My thoughts are with you.
I'm writing this message not only as a Swiss, but also as an Iraqi and as a Muslim who has lived in Baghdad until December 31st 2004.
I wish you all a peaceful evening.
Al salam alaykoum.

One of my former students posted this on her Facebook account and I wanted to share it.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 18, 2015 6:33 pm 
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For what it's worth: every 34 hours, the US sees as many deaths from car accidents as Paris did last week from terrorism. And let's not even talk about heart disease and cancer. If you're willing to stain your soul by closing your doors to people in need in order to slightly reduce an already very small risk to your well-being, and you're not also exercising 5 times a week, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, and wearing your seatbelt, your priorities are screwed up.


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