Thirdly, it is erroneous to believe that terrorism is linked to one religion, region or nation. In 2011, the terror act in Norway was committed by Anders Breivik, a Norwegian citizen.
According to statistics published by The Economist, over these past 14 years Europe has featured 25 terrorist attacks with more than one victim. Nine of these have been committed by Islamists. With 16, it has been some other radical grouping of individual. Faith isn’t the problem. The problem is terrorism, hatred of what’s different, and of European values. It is terrorism what needs to be dealt with. Faith, nationality and roots are irrelevant.
Moving on: the question arises, what the events mean for France, Europe, European foreign policy. Alas, the terrorist attacks in Paris will probably not be the last. As potential targets, ISIS has mentioned London and Rome. Germany, the UK and several other nations have already held security meetings. Knowing that France proved unable to protect her citizens will force other European nations to try hard to improve international exchange of information on potential sources of threat.
Probably, extremist parties in Europe will see these events as an opportunity to turn it in their interests, intentionally showing causative links between the refugee crisis and the terrorist attacks. As has been proven in the past: during crisis, extremists and clowns get their chance. Often, it is both.
True, by refugee crisis European politicians have been pressurised and the fault interpretations of the Paris attacks will further escalate the tension. Fear and insecurity are no good councillors. But is Europe is in crisis indeed, this is not refugee crisis but a leadership crisis indirectly caused by domestic voter pressure spurred by the very fear and insecurity. This is causing hesitancy in liberal parties, and activism in the extremist ones.
Important, however, to keep in mind that with the Paris attacks it was not France or Europe alone that were targeted, but the overall European world view and way of life. As has been pointed out by both Mr Hollande, David Cameron and Toomas Hendrik Ilves. Citing Mr Cameron, the terrorists aim at splitting us and destroying or way of life. Thus, more than before, we need to join in our stand against them and stick together. And continue our way of life which we love, which we know and which we will not give up.
Indeed, to the backdrop of a large part of the world Europe is a place in many ways special, where people can live their own lives, earn money, create, love and speak their mind irrespective of who they are by background, religion, gender or nationality. That violent regimes try to use Europe’s own basic values to weaken it is nothing new: information freedom has been used to spread disinformation; democracy has been used to weaken democracy. Europe has managed that before. The worst of reactions right now would be to alter these basic values. The principles of «Even more freedom of speech» and «Even more democracy», just like protecting the human rights, pluralism, tolerance and helping those in need are something we cannot give up, for without that there would be no Europe.
A reaction to the Paris terror attacks was a cartoon drawn by a Charlie Hebdo cartoonist. It reads: for centuries have those who love death tried to hinder us from living life. They have not succeeded. Instead of creating divisions between those who love life, we ought to fight those who love death and remember what is of value: our way of life.
The task now before the nations of Europe is finding a way to protect themselves without endangering their own values. The leadership crisis must be overcome; the terrorism needs to be fought; a stronger control needs to be created regarding the external borders, so we would know who and why is arriving in Europe, without rejecting those needing help. People need to be provided the assurance that security is ensured. But this must be done without fear and populism, and what’s most important, without forsaking the values.