Friday, July 15, 2016

Terror Attacks in Nice

La tour Eiffel illuminée en bleu blanc rouge - Fluctuat nec Mergitur - Liberté, égalité, fraternité

La tour Eiffel illuminée en bleu blanc rouge - Fluctuat nec Mergitur - Liberté, égalité, fraternité

La tour Eiffel illuminée en bleu blanc rouge - Fluctuat nec Mergitur - Liberté, égalité, fraternité

Usually, the 14th of July (le 14 de juillet) is a time of celebration in France. It is the national holiday, the equivalent of Canada Day on July 1st, or the 4th of July (Independence Day) in the United States. It marks the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789, which itself marked the true beginning of the French Revolution. In turn, the French Revolution set France apart from all other nations, setting it apart in some key ways, and helping to mold what has become the modern nation of France.

Like those days in Canada and the United States, July 14th is a time of relaxation and fun. It falls in the summer, so the weather is usually accommodating for outdoor activities. The scenes are similar to scenes in the same month in North America: there are barbecues, there are parties, and there are fireworks, both illegal and legal.

Of course, the government wants to encourage public fireworks, for reasons of safety, which is understandable.

However, it was at a public display of fireworks in a prominent French city last night that there was a major terrorist attack again yesterday. Presumably, the large crowd assembled to view the fireworks was one of the reasons for the attack.

A white truck filled with explosives broke through security, shooting and killing people before driving into a crowd assembled to view the big holiday fireworks show that the city was planning for. According to witnesses, the truck driver was swerving from left to right specifically to hit and hurt and kill as many people as possible. He drove approximately 2 kilometers (around 1.2 miles) before he was stopped.

The AFP is reporting at least 84 dead from last night's attack.

French President Hollande addressed the nation early this morning, wearing a black jacket and tie, and speaking solemnly. He had been about to lift the State of Emergency that has been in effect since the terrorist attacks on November 13th of last year, but he instead extended it for another three months in the wake of these attacks yesterday in Nice. He suggested that France is in a state of war.

“All of France is under threat from Islamist terrorism,” Hollande said.

“Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil.”

Hollande summed up by emphasizing that France would “always be stronger, I promise you, than the fanatics that want to strike it.”

However, this is not the first, nor even the second, major terror attack on French soil seen during Hollande's presidency, and political pressures and criticisms both are growing sharper.

Reactions poured in from leaders all over the world.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had this to say:

“I was heartbroken to learn of the many dozens of innocent victims who were killed or injured as a result of today’s terrorist attack that targeted Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France.  

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of those who were killed. We also wish a speedy recovery to the many more that were injured.  

“Canada and France are the closest of friends, and we stand by the French people as they face this terrible ordeal. We have offered all possible assistance to the French Government.  

“Senseless acts like this one are not isolated events, and we will continue to work with our Allies and partners to fight terrorism in all of its forms. We will bring those who are responsible to justice, whether they be the perpetrators, or those involved in funding or organizing such attacks.  

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of France at this very difficult time. We mourn the loss of so many innocent victims.”

American President Barack Obama said this:

"On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded.  I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.  

"On this Bastille Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life."

Russian President Vladimir Putin called this a "disgusting act of terror."

Putin went on, addressing President Hollande in particular:

"Dear Francois -- Russia knows what terrorism is and what threats it creates for all of us. Our people have faced similar tragedies more than once and deeply feel what has happened, they sympathize with the French people and are in solidarity with them.

"The crime in Nice which led to deaths and injuries, including Russian citizens, was committed with extreme brutality and extreme cynicism. I want to underline once again that only through a united effort can we defeat terrorism."  

He finished with a personal appeal:

"Mr. President, I ask you to pass the condolences and words of most sincere support to the relatives and kin of those killed."

Pope Francis said this in the aftermath of the attack in Nice:

"I pray for the victims of the attack in Nice and their families. I ask God to convert the hearts of the violent blinded by hate."

European Parliament President Martin Schulz had this to say:

 "Liberté, fraternité, égalité: France will not give in," @EP_President Martin Schulz on #NiceAttack.

This was played after the Paris attacks n November, but it seemed fitting to add it in the wake of yesterday's attacks in Nice, as well.

Nice terror attack is a crisis for presidency of François Hollande by Angelique Chrisafis, 15 July 2016:

Trudeau, Obama offer sympathies to Nice truck attack victims by The Canadian Press Thu., July 14, 2016:


Statement by the President on the Attack in Nice, France by President Obama, released by, July 14, 2016:

Live updates: Truck driver attacks crowd in Nice, killing dozens by Steve Almasy, James Griffiths and Lauren Said-Moorhouse, CNN, July 15, 2016:

Pope and other leaders express their sympathy for Nice by Lauren Said-Moorhouse, July 15, 2016:

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