The November 13th terror attacks claimed nearly 130 lives in the French capital of Paris. Following this tragedy, and faced with the imminent threat of further terror, the government has implemented a series of measures to ensure national security.
First of all, to respond to the attacks, president François Hollande declared an état d’urgence (the state of emergency directly beneath the “state of siege”). This measure extends the powers of the state (in terms of perquisitions, gateway and border control, etc.) for a limited period of time in order to expedite the investigation into the attacks. Besides this, starting the Sunday after the attacks, the French government ordered strikes on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa, Syria as retaliation against those who sought to undermine France’s values. The government made this decision of its own accord and without coalition of its bodies.
A few days ago, the National Assembly decided by absolute majority to prolong the state of emergency for three additional months. This decision gave way to heated debate across France, since this situation limits the freedom of the population, contradicting the very values the French government seeks to defend. The vote was made in the fearful atmosphere of the attacks’ aftermath, and it begs the question: liberty or security?
All these measures have been taken with the intention of reassuring the population. France’s fear following such a tragedy is an entirely normal reaction. It is nevertheless important to keep in mind that these attacks were made by individuals and in no way reflect the intentions of an entire community. Above all, we must remember stay united in the face of adversity.
by Emma P.