Mourning Paris and Beirut

feature image via shutterstock.com

It’s been a heavy and anxiety-ridden (at least for me) last few days as news of terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut, the subsequent media speculations and public commentary on the attacks have completely engrossed our social media news feeds. It’s been hard to sift through all the news since reports and articles on the topic have been frequently updating since Friday. Here’s a bunch of things you should know about the attacks, the aftermath, the victims, some articles on what people think of the internet solidarity (or the non-solidarity) that arose in the last few days and other relevant links you should read to make sense of these tragedies.

The Latest

At least 129 people were killed and more than 350 were injured in seven coordinated terror attacks in sites around Paris on Friday evening including at a concert hall, the Stade de France and at least two restaurants.

At least seven men, mostly in their twenties and all believed to be Europeans, were identified as the culprits, with one of those men, Salah Abdeslam, still on the run while the rest are dead.

The attacks come a day after two suicide bombings struck Beirut, killing 43 and wounding more than 230 people. The attacks in both cities are said to be connected to ISIS. As a result, France enacted raids and arrests in France and Belgium in connection to the attacks and airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria aimed at ISIS targets.

I found this video on the history of Syria’s war and the rise of ISIS and this overview of Syria’s civil war to be very helpful in understanding the gist of what’s been happening and what fueled these attacks.

On Islamophobia

+ French Muslims fear that attacks against them will increase in the aftermath, just like it did with the Charlie Hebdo killings. “As a French Muslim, I worry that this massacre will be used against the French Muslim community by politicians, like it happened back in January when Charlie Hebdo was attacked,” a 19-year-old Muslim woman told Aljazeera America. “But I also worry that refugees, especially those coming from Syria, will be the next target of conservative politics and racist acts.”

+ Columnist Omid Safi gathered his thoughts on the attacks in Paris and Beirut and wrote some profound things that you should read. He touches on various points including the huge difference between ISIS and Islam and how ISIS intends to create a false divide between Muslims and the West in order “to create a culture of backlash against Muslims in Europe, to foster a situation of persecution of Muslims there that will bolster future recruitment of extremists.”

“I don’t know how to say it more directly than this: Yes, the members of ISIS come from Muslim backgrounds. No, their actions cannot be justified on the basis of the 1400 years of Islamic tradition. Every serious scholar of Islam has confirmed this clearly, and unambiguously. ISIS is about as Muslim as the KKK is Christian. If you don’t look to the KKK to tell you about God’s message of love as expressed through Jesus, don’t look to ISIS to tell you about God’s mercy as expressed through Muhammad.”

On Syrian Refugees

French authorities found a Syrian passport outside the Stade de France where a suicide bomber was supposed to detonate an explosive vest inside. The passport turned out to be a fake. The attacker posed as a Syrian refugee and entered through Greece. The discovery has created a fear that terrorists could pose as refugees and infiltrate the West which has inspired many right-wing politicians to call a close of borders and to refuse entry to all Syrian refugees. So far 23 US governors said they’d block any attempts to resettle Syrian refugees in their states. This is exactly what ISIS wants. ThinkProgress has a piece on why there’s no legal basis for US governors to do what they’re threatening to.

Ben Rhodes, one of President Obama’s top security advisers said in an interview the US will not halt its efforts to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. “Let’s remember though Chuck, we’re also dealing with people who’ve suffered the horrors of war, women and children, orphans. We can’t just shut our doors to those people. We need to sort out how to focus on the terrorists that we need to keep out of the country. But I think we do need to do our part to take those refugees who are in need.”

Just to put into context why Syrians are fleeing the country, according to conservative estimates about 210,060 people have died in the civil war since 2011, or about 144 people in Syria have died each day, with more than half being civilians.

On Media Criticism and Backlash

+ Over at Vox, Max Fisher, writes about the backlash against media from readers who say they neglected to cover the Beirut bombings. He says journalists have been covering bombings in the area and in nearby countries for years but nobody is paying attention or reading their stories.

“It’s not just me, of course: My peers throughout the media have dutifully and diligently covered such attacks for years. Local reporters and foreign correspondents out in the field have of course done far more than I have, spending days interviewing victims and painstakingly reconstructing events — despite knowing that readers were all but certain to ignore the stories. “Nobody is going to read this” is a phrase we’ve grown accustomed to hearing.”

Fisher does say he understands the underlying anger behind the criticism which is the world at large has largely ignored Beirut’s trauma since it’s not in a wealthy or Western country. He says pointing the finger at media is a cop out and instead we should take a look at our own role in how we prioritize one country over another.

“It would be easy to blame the media for this, to say that if only media outlets covered Beirut rather than ignoring it, the world might pay attention. I have bad news: The media does cover Beirut, just as it has been covering Lebanon’s refugee plight for years. That’s an uncomfortable truth, because rather than giving us an easy villain, it forces us to ask what our own role might be in the world’s disproportionate care and concern for one country over another.”

On Facebook’s Safety Checks and Profile Filters

Over at Wired, Molly McHugh writes about the criticism towards Facebook’s Safety Check In and temporary French flag filters on profile pictures. People wondered why Facebook didn’t do the same for Beirut or for Kenya or Syria and other countries with similar tragedies. McHugh postulates Facebook’s algorithm is what picks which crisis is spotlighted over other crises on the site, which is unsettling. She also mentions how fighting over who changed their profile picture isn’t worthwhile, instead we should be asking how others can be supported in the same way Paris was.

“But each school shooting and each hurricane is not going to trigger Facebook’s algorithm or attention. The alarm of sorts that Facebook has created won’t sound for every terrible thing that happens. That doesn’t necessarily mean individual efforts in the form of features and filters are without merit, but in responding to some tragedies and not others, Facebook has put itself in the business of ranking human suffering, and that’s a fraught business to be in. Facebook is built on ranking things that matter and how much, like which BuzzFeed quizzes you see in your News Feed or which friends’ photos show up the most. But it’s deeply uncomfortable — disturbing, really — when that same idea is applied (even with what I have to imagine are different metrics) to disaster and death.”


LGBT News

+ A Utah judge reversed his decision to take away a foster baby from a lesbian couple.

+ A Costa Rican woman was able to marry her same-sex partner, briefly, because a mistake on her birth certificate marked her as male.

ireland-yes-vote_photo-credits-clodagh-kilcoyne-1

+ Months after Ireland won a referendum on same-sex marriage, yesterday was the first day gay and lesbian couples could marry in Ireland.

+ About 1,500 Mormons resigned from the church in Salt Lake City after the church announced it wouldn’t baptize children of same-sex couples.

Racial Justice News

+ Colorline reports: “[T]he Obama administration announced that Prosperity Together, a group of women’s foundations, will dedicate $100 million over the next five years to improving the economic status of low-income girls and women of color.”

+ 51 protestors were arrested yesterday after they shut down a highway in Minneapolis. They were demanding justice for 24-year-old Jamar Clark who was shot by the police over the weekend. Police say he was a suspect in a domestic assault and interfered with paramedics. Witnesses say Clark was shot after he was already handcuffed.

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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 206 articles for us.

46 Comments

  1. I’ve been conflicted about the Paris vs. Beirut sympathy/media/Flag filter problem because the very last thing I want to do is to value a western European country’s people over anyone else. I think that how much we “feel” tragedies is a more complicated question than just “white western progressives are hypocrites,” although I mean I’m sure that in some ways we are.

    When I was younger I had a real problem getting all of the pain of the world out of my head enough to go about my life. When I was depressed, I would perseverate on all of it, and it was really, really draining. Over the years, I started to build up an emotional wall when reading the news etc. If that wall wasn’t there, I wouldn’t be able to function. Like, my defense mechanisms are the reason I am able to go to work, etc., and not just huddle in a puddle in my bed. And the wall doesn’t mean I don’t care, or don’t want to help. It is just how I exist despite our collective pain. I think a lot of us build up a wall like that.

    But then when something happens in a place I traveled to a lot as a kid, a place where I have friends etc. like Paris, the wall is less effective, and emotion sneaks past it.

    Like I remember the first sentence I understood completely in French — I was sitting at a cafe with my parents and a group of nursery school kids were crossing the street with linked hands, and when they got to the other side, their teacher said in French, “yes, yes, you all crossed the street very well,” and then they ran into the park.

    And there are children everywhere and they all need our action and our outrage. I know that. The world is really, really messed up and a lot needs to happen to make it better. I don’t want to be more affected by an attack in France than I am by attacks in cities I’ve never been to, on people who speak languages I’ve never tried to learn.

    I don’t have a good wrap-up for this, and I’m probably rambling, and it’s really not important anyway, what’s important are the people across the world who should be more guaranteed of their own safety and their children’s safety, and not my emotional hang-ups about how I grieve for the world.

    I guess I just want the conversation to move beyond the fact that our grief is unequal, to a point where we can figure out what to do about that, beyond just pointing “bad liberal” fingers at those who use a French flag on their Facebook profile.

    • You should not for a second feel guilty about emotionally prioritizing a place that means a lot to you, personally. Key word here is “personally”. We’re all going to naturally feel more affected by things that happen closer to us (and I mean closer emotionally, not geographically, or racially).

      The real problem is when that personal emotional prioritizing turns into media attention or national policy. So a newspaper or a politician should be called out for prioritizing one tragedy or city over another, but you shouldn’t feel guilty about doing that on an emotional level you can’t control.

      • I mean I guess one problem is that when a lot of us, collectively, do prioritize in that way, especially those of us who do it without really thinking about it, that’s precisely what lets politicians (and the media) exploit those emotional ties and do really horrible things, like block refugees from entering the country because of where they’re from, or run drone strikes with collateral damage, or lock people up for years in Guantanamo even though they’re not charged with any crime. So how can we prevent those emotional ties from being exploited in those ways?

        • Absolutely that’s part of the problem, and I don’t know what the solution is, other than just being aware of the difference between our own emotions and our actions, and then acting accordingly. There’s no easy fix. As you’ve experienced, the world is just too big and too horrible for each individual to care about every person equally. That’s what governments are for.

    • Being French, I had a MASSIVE problem with all the French people on FB putting the French flag up. That’s because we have a complicated history with this flag… It’s mostly been used by nationalists and right-wing extremists in protests, and we don’t have the same notions of patriotism, etc. as in the UK or in America.

      Like I explained to some friends on facebook, it’s irrational but I still can’t shake up the feeling that all those French people putting up the French flag where also participating in the culture necessary when a country goes to war, and I didn’t want to be part of that.

      I however felt really different about my friends from the UK and the US putting the flag on their profile. Then it felt like I was supported and they cared.

      So it took me 30 minutes of bad photoshopping skills (without photosphop) but I made a transparent Lebanese flag and put that on my icon.

      • There has certainly been a noticeably shift in expressions of patriotism here. During the solidarity march after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, a group in the crowd started singing La Marseillaise and they were literally SHHd by the people around them. In the last few days the news has shown several demonstrations in other cities saying “Look at them singing la Marseillaise, isn’t it great?”

        I’d like to hope that it will just mean that the extreme right no longer gets to pretend to be the guardians of French pride.
        My GF was angry about the Shhing and asked why we can’t be proud to be French and why we only let the far right and their narrow definition of what “French” is express such sentiments.

        But as you said this can also be the type of patriotism that is necessary for war. I’ve been really uncomfortable with how much Hollande’s speeches are reminding me of GW Bush and hope the French take a much more critical eye to their government’s decisions.

        • I was also suuuuper uncomfortable by the Marseillaise being sung everywhere. It’s not just our national song it’s literally the bloodiest song there is, calling for blood to be shed. Like, really ? a lot of people died and THAT’S what you want to sing ?!

          I have never felt prouder to be French than when we marched in Paris against the war in Irak, and when de Villepin took it upon himself to meet and convince other countries to say no too. I was so proud to be French then !
          Now, not so much…

          And you’re right, it reminds me of W Bush as well. Have you read this piece ? I think it’s brilliant:
          http://www.lemonde.fr/afrique/article/2015/11/16/monsieur-le-president-vous-etes-tombe-dans-le-piege_4810996_3212.html

          • Thanks for sharing that! I went on a rant about using the term “army” but only my GF (who was only half listening) and my dog (whose attention was probably also divided) were there to hear. Glad someone more eloquent and better placed is making the point.

            The rhetoric is only escalating things, for sure. I honestly don’t know enough to have a very well informed opinion on exactly what we should do about Daesh, but the rhetoric certainly makes me worry about the decision making that accompanies it.

      • I don’t think it’s irrational at all. I was seventeen on September 11th, 2001, and of course I was distraught and scared and everything else, but it was also very unsettling to watch the stuff that happened over the course of the following year(s). The first thing that happened was that flags went up everywhere, EVERYWHERE. It was a sea of red, white and blue and to some of us, it was pretty frightening. We didn’t really learn until later some of the crimes that our government was committing in the name of patriotism and keeping us safe. I think those human rights violations perpetuated in the name of the victims was really the second part of the tragedy, a part that the terrorists were counting on, a part which was entirely preventable. The second thing that I thought after seeing the events in Paris was, we can’t let that happen like that again. We just can’t!

          • eh… I don’t have much Faith anymore. He’s basically just saying stuff so that he can’t be too attacked by Sarkozy and Le Pen…

            After his first big speech on Sunday Marine Le Pen lauded some of the stuff he said. That was the “oh shit” moment for me. Like, you know we’re in trouble when SHE thinks he’s saying good things.

  2. From what I’ve heard from Facebook employees, the internal team behind the flag feature didn’t even turn it on for Paris at first because they didn’t think it was a “natural disaster”. Then someone reminded them that the feature was inspired in part by the Boston bombing. So it’s not really “algorithms” – more people being disorganized and careless.

  3. Thanks for this round-up, Yvonne. It’s been really frustrating to see conservatives and republican presidential candidates double-down on anti-Muslim sentiment following the attacks, and to read about individual acts of discrimination and violence against Muslim people since the attacks, considering that (as far as i know, i’m not an expert) ISIS targets and prioritizes the destruction of Muslims who don’t ascribe to ISIS’s ideology as much as they do non-Muslims. I wish Donald Trump would walk into traffic.

  4. The Russian govt also just confirmed today that the plane that crashed in Egypt on the 31st killing 224 people was (as everyone suspected) a terrorist attack. A Germany-Netherlands football game was cancelled minutes ago because of “security concerns”. UK govt claims security / intelligence services have stopped 7 attempted terrorist attacks so far this year. I know being scared is “letting the terrorists win” but this is all pretty terrifying.

  5. I really don’t understand the reaction of the GOP against refugees, particularly when you considered the involvement and actions of the US government in that crisis. In the period 2012-2015, the US has admitted, according to The New York Times, only 1.854 Syrian refugees. In the same period, Germany admitted 92.991 refugees. I guess Germany is very lucky because the “terrorists” are not coming in that “horde” of refugees.

    Putting aside the reaction of several political figures from the French far-right (like the Le Pen family) and several East Europe countries, where the fight against admitting refugees it’s been obvious for a long time, the US had the most political radical reaction to these attacks. From the desire to shutting down Mosques (Donald Trump) to the separate Syrian refugee’s legislation (Paul Ryan). I guess this is the GOP and their classic fear-mongering campaigns at their best.

    And I still remember the reaction some republicans had when France opposed to the Iraq invasion (“Freedom Fries” anybody?). We didn’t thought that the French were so great then, no?

    The fight against IS seems like a political mess because this will require some real action, and not only in a military way. Several countries (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, etc.) are still using IS to keep in line their internal political conflicts. Other countries (Russia, US, etc.) just use IS to keep going with their international political agenda. And in the middle you have hundreds of human beings fleeing or dying.

    Sorry for the ranting, but I’m getting tired of seeing the world repeating mistakes over and over again just to play some political game.

  6. What happened in Paris is horrible. But it’s not more horrible than over 300 people in Yemen dying in a terrorist attack, or 227 Kuwaitis dying in an attack, or over 100 people in Chad dying in a terrorist attack, or 145 in Nigeria or 200 in Kenya. Yes, and the killing of 220 people on the Russian plane. All of those happened in 2015. All of them are horrible incidents and a senseless loss of life and great tragedies for their families and friends. But media has decided the one in Paris is the important one because it happened in Euroland and mostly white persons were killed. And because of that, we’re hearing sound bites by politicians of tough talk and even what sounds like a full blown ground invasion of Iraq and Syria. What’s wrong with this picture and why haven’t we learned anything?

    • Can we not do this? Tragedies don’t happen on a hierarchy. All that comments like these serve is some kind of performative “look how much more social-justicey I am than you”. Do you talk about those incidents when news is slow, or does it only come up when a more well-off country is under attack?

      Some of these were newsworthy when it happened – Kenya was in April, the airplane was a couple of weeks before this – and then new things happen and something else takes the breaking news story. And plenty of media people have spoken about how they do write about these issues, but very few people pay attention (clearly some do, because those numbers must have come from somewhere).

      This kind of posturing does nothing to help the people in all those countries: it just tokenizes them as a convenient debate-starter. Nobody is saying any one tragedy is more or less important than another. So many of these are interlinked, and if we can start making connections rather than pitting them against each other then they will all benefit.

      • No, I refuse to sit back and watch media cherry-pick which tragic events they want to turn into saber-rattling. I’ve seen this too much in my lifetime… to justify Vietnam, Grenada, Serbian bombing, Central American incursions, the first Gulf War, and the 2001 incursions which directly led to the creation of a group like ISIS. This country’s pattern of prioritizing what’s a major world event and what isn’t has everything to do with why people in the US put French flags on their Facebook pages and politicians start talking war. I’m not sure where you get that I’m pitting tragic events against one another… what I hope I said was the US world view conveniently ignores most tragedies in favor of those which prop up our limited world views.

        “Nobody is saying any one tragedy is more or less important than another.” Not true. You don’t live here… lots of people are saying that. Even progressive people. And it’s being used to ramp up more war talk. And yes, people need to not sit by passively and let this morph into yet another escalation.

      • I can understand her comment using one interpretation of it.

        History shows us that, through time, we did ignore several facts until the moment we see history smashing them in our face. But of course, at that time, we’re too late to try to make it better.

        I know this gonna sound pedantic, and that’s not my intention, but we have several historic examples of this: the early segregation of armenians and jews in their countries, the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the international disregard of palestinians since 1948, etc.

        The result of this indifference was obvious later and I don’t think we can keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

  7. As a Lebanese American, I have some complicated feelings about the whole Paris v. Beirut (it’s framed that way, as if sympathy were a competition) discussion. I completely support those that are genuinely aiming to draw attention and compassion to under-recognized attacks. But other comments and posts I’ve seen really seem more like they’re using Beirut as a just a tool for cynical liberal one-upmanship to show that they care about less “mainstream” bombings (some of it coming from people who literally did not know what Lebanon was two years ago). I wish people knew or cared about Lebanon *before* it functioned as the alternative response to the Paris story.

    On the other hand, I have a history of being pretty desensitized to violence in Lebanon and the general region—even though I know tons of people there—so I’m not sure I can criticize the general American public for tuning it out.

    I don’t know, I’m just having lots of feelings.

    • Yes, that! Thank you.
      The Paris attacks hurt me because they are my neighbors, because I was shocked to notice that I dragged my trolley past the Bataclan at five in the morning a few months back.
      Of course I’m going to feel more emotionally attached to that than a country I’m further away from and have never been.
      However, it’s important to me that I feel this shock, this hurt and that I realize that other people, people I may not know, that are further away, feel it,too.
      That that is the taste of hurt and fear the people on our doorstep feel.
      That said, I also have an inkling that a lot of the super politically correct in my circles use Beirut as a means to not feel that hurt at all, justifying it with some super politically correct stuff about everyone and everywhere mattering equally, which honestly means that they don’t give a crap about people being murdered in Kenya and they don’t really care about Beirut and therefore feel justified to push Paris from their minds.
      Well, to justify my Social circles, it’s only now, with Paris, that a lot of us understand what’s going on on an emotional level and feel for those countries torn by terror the more keenly.

    • I’ve been very vocal about reminding people of Beirut among my social circles… not because of one – upmanship, but to remind people that the biggest victims in numbers of ISIS are muslims, and so the idiocy of some people asking French muslims to “separate themselves” from the attackers is completely outrageous.

      It’s also important because you still hear a lot of discussion framed around “why do they hate us ? They just hate the Western World / the French etc.”. To which I answer: no, look at all the other attacks, they’re basically targeting everyone left and right. They’re not political, they’re agents of chaos, and this isn’t Middle East vs Western World (as a lot of people saddly try to frame it), this is WHOLE WORLD vs. a terrorist organization.

      • Chloe, I agree, and to be clear, I didn’t mean that all posts about Beirut had that intention.

        Good/highly important reasons to bring up Beirut:
        1. To disrupt the narrative of “Middle Eastern Muslims attacking Western Christians” which is fueling Islamaphobia and the rejection of Syrian refugees.
        2. You’re a decent human being showing compassion for people in Beirut.

        Bad reasons to bring up Beirut:
        1. As an excuse not to care about anything while being self-righteous

  8. I thought this article made a very important point about the importance of familiarity between Paris and Beirut:

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/11/paris-beirut-terrorism-empathy-gap/416121/

    Instead of asking that the media spend more time covering attacks in other countries, I think what we really need is for more visibility of countries like Lebanon, Kenya, Iraq…. that are not only reports on violence.

    The average American may know someone in France or someone who has been to Paris, but even if they don’t we have all seen enough of France in films, TV, games, history books, documentaries etc. that we at least have a mental image of Paris. It may be wildly inaccurate, but we feel like we know Paris at least a little bit.

    And if we close our eyes and try to picture Beirut? Nairobi? every day Tunisian life (not just tourist resorts)?

    I think Humans of New York’s portraits of people in various countries is a great example of what we need more of. In all the hundreds of reports I had seen on Iraq, I had never seen a family visiting a museum or people shopping at a mall.

    We need more stories like this that show countries we are less familiar with in all their complexity. We need to see them as places where people live, not just places where people die.

  9. Great roundup of news and links, including from the comments,

    I’d like to add an article from the Atlantic; which sets out a couple of reasons why it is a fundamental mistake to suggest that ISIS is not Islamic, or following an Islamic path. It is more true to say, that modern Islam has as much in common with ISIS, as modern Christianity has with the crusaders, ISIS seeks to drag everyone including ordinary Muslims back into a medieval understanding of Islam… This might seem like nitpicking, but I think we’re making this whole thing a lot easier for them by refusing to try and understand them. It suggests that we’re playing their gameplan instead of ours.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/

    • I don’t think anybody can say that ISIS is not islamic, but the thing is that ISIS, although it belongs to the sunni denomination of islam, also belongs to the salafi (AKA wahhabi) doctrine of islam, which has a very fundamentalist vision of their religion but account for only 0.5% of the muslim population around the world, according with several global statistics.

      Related to this, maybe the world should take a harder look at countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, suspected of being the first financiers of ISIS. But, just as it happened with Saudi Arabia and Al Qaeda, strangely enough the US government would not go there.

      • okay fair point, but maybe i’ve mis-spoken. The narrative I keep hearing seems to be that, theyre not really muslim, that power hungry rebels are just using it as a cloak for their own goals. Which I Kind of relate to the IRA and UVF in Northern Ireland, some may be genuine, but there is a perception that they’re just glorified drug dealers and mob bosses. violent people attracted to a cause that allows them to be violent in the name of something acceptable (ish) Which im saying is not the case with ISIS even if the symptoms and outcomes seem the same.

        Ive seen a venn diagram for something similiar to what you’re saying about the different denominations… and then a tiny dot to represent ISIS, it was really simple and powerful.

        I guess my thoughts are, know your enemy, dont assume they will think like I do.

        • I’m sorry if I came a little too strong with this. I’ve been having several discussions with friends about these subjects and the conversations always end with a bunch of ignorance and islamophobia. And that is a dangerous path.

          As you said, we need to know our enemy. Clearly this is not a simulation war game were you really don’t have anything to lose. Here you’re talking about millions of human beings, directly and indirectly related with this conflict.

  10. To the numbers: Germany had 90000 refugees by September this year.
    You can add a zero to that number now.
    In the first three weeks of September alone, there were 200,000 more, since then..nobody even knows anymore, we’re supposed to have 1,2 million by the end of the year, at least, but estimates continue to go up.
    And we’re not even half the size of Texas.
    The ten thousand the US are so valiantly talking about is what we get on a weekend.
    Berlin has about a hundred and seven emergency shelter as of today,old hangars, administration buildings, school gyms, tomorrow there will be a hundred and ten.
    The day after that..
    And we only get 5%of refugees.
    Every night there’s an update on trains arriving, new shelters, volunteers needed to put them up, there are detailed calls for food and shampoo, shoes, blankets, and diapers, medical support.
    People don’t even get registered for weeks and weeks, because we lack the capacity in our little haven of bureaucracy.
    So, excuse me, if I laugh a little bitterly at the current debate:
    10,000 highly vulnerable refugees, consisting mainly of women and children that are thoroughly vetted by the UN and therefore pose about zero danger, whom you have the opportunity to put into houses and schools and communities, things that we simply can’t, shouldn’t even be a debate.
    Especially not a debate amongst so called Christians.
    Speaking of ten thousand, btw: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/iceland/11835537/10000-Icelanders-offer-to-house-Syrian-refugees-after-authors-call.html

    • If EU governments do not find a way to close external borders and create safe zones for war refugees in a few months there will be another million of migrants wandering around EU countries and making a perfect cover for terrorists with fake IDs to continue their attacks.
      Now France has declared a state of emergency for 3 months. If things continue the same way, the whole EU will end up in a state of emergency with army patrolling the streets.

      It’s a massive security crisis.

      • The EU could not close its external borders completely because most of our borders are sea borders, unless we build a fence across the Mediterranean there is no way to stop people from coming. We also can’t, realistically, continue to force refugees to stay in the country where they entered the EU because Greece, where most of the refugees arrive, is a complete political and economic chaos. The idea that we must close borders is a political distraction, so far there’s little proof that terrorists are infiltrating refugee groups and no proof that these supposing terrorists arriving posing as refugees are more dangerous than the terrorists who are EU citizens and have lived in Europe all their life – since the latter are actually the people carrying out these attacks – so there is no reason to prioritize closing borders.

        Hollande is already demanding more thorough checks at borders for non-Schengen EU nationals entering the Schengen area as if people are really come from Croatia or the UK to commit terrorist attacks in France… Meanwhile more French citizens have left to fight for ISIS in Syria than citizens from any other European country. Although certain EU-wide problems (especially arms trafficking!) have exacerbated the problem, it’s clear that the threat is definitely coming from within France and it’s time people stop blaming foreigners for this. France is extremely Islamophobic (as well as extremely anti-semitic and all round racist…) and young people are especially vulnerable to this, for example public schools ban “overt religious symbols” by law and increasingly many of them refuse to provide students halal meals as a matter of principle. Is it any wonder that young people turn to ISIS when they’re in this very, very alienating environment? Unless white French people are willing to change and challenge their and their peers’ racist beliefs, the violence in the country will not stop.

        • Thank you thank you thank you for this wonderful response. I couldn’t have said it better.
          I would also add that the idea of closing our borders and instead “helping” refugees settle closer to home is unrealistic, because that’s already what’s happening ! The biggest majority of immigration movement, all over the world, happens within continents. Europeans migrate within Europe, African migrate within Africa, and Middle Easterners migrate in the Middle East (or in Turkey for those close to the border). Even though we think the number of refugees coming are HUGE, they’re not that big, and they’re certainly not TOO big for the whole of Europe to have.

          The one MASSIVE problem that amidola already pointed out is that currently, Germany is the only one pulling their weight so they have a massive incoming of refugees – more than there infrastructures can handle. If other countries – France, the UK, etc. had the same attitude, it would lead to a much more sensible, humane and practical management of the crisis.

      • See, that’s where we disagree.
        Terrorists don’t need the cover of some misplaced, starved victims of war. If they’re not absolutely dense, they have no trouble entering or connecting in any country, especially in Europe.Hell, I traveled through four countries, including Switzerland in the summer, and I wasn’t even asked for any I.D. the entire time.
        But there’s not even the need for anyone coming in from the outside, because lots of terrorists are born and bred within Europe.
        They are raised and shaped and moulded by a sense of alienation, of desperation, discrimination and anger.
        So yes, we have a security problem, because our fear, our hubris and hate breed alienation and violence, and that violence has found a means and a target.
        Ignorance and fear are our greatest enemies.

        • You know, Europe has history…
          Knowing the past, I just don’t like how the situation is developing right now.
          As for refugees, I hope, they’re not coming out of the frying pan into the fire.

          Maybe, I’ll read “All Quiet on the Western Front” again.

  11. Our football game (Bel-Es) got cancelled too. But I think they already decided that the day before yesterday.
    France pointed fingers at us and now the whole world is probably watching how we are going to solve this problem in Brussels. I don’t want to be scared, but I am. Donald Trump said that if the people in Paris would have had guns, it would have been a whole other fight. And I was thinking ‘of course, there would have been a whole lot more victims! People shooting at each other for no other reason then looking suspicious etc’. But now I hear there’s been shooting yesterday in the city where I work, where I go out.. It is starting to come very very close.

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