The day after the tragic terrorist attacks in six different places in Paris, the world awakes with sadness. And resolution.
Modern terrorism has long existed in places like the Middle East, but large-scale attacks of this kind on the European continent are uncommon. It is a wake-up call to the world that the Daesh/Islamic State (ISIS) is not a problem that’s going to go away on its own. No matter how many of its leaders we kill.
We grieve for the over 120 French lives tragically lost last night, and the hundreds more who were wounded and are in shock today over what happened. Know that all of America stands with you today.
Like millions, I watched last night as the world crumbled underneath the feet of Parisians. Checking social media and jumping on a few Periscopes with the TV tuned to CNN in the background, I sat helplessly watching and listening as the attacks were ending. The aftermath was gruesome, seeing the bodies lying in front of a restaurant and hearing the first-hand accounts of those who survived to tell the tale. It was as if someone just told you that your friend had died — the heartache for innocent people whose lives meant an abrupt end.
President Obama’s words last night expressed my feelings as an American as well:
This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.
We stand prepared and ready to provide whatever assistance that the government and the people of France need to respond. France is our oldest ally. The French people have stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States time and again. And we want to be very clear that we stand together with them in the fight against terrorism and extremism.
Paris itself represents the timeless values of human progress. Those who think that they can terrorize the people of France or the values that they stand for are wrong. The American people draw strength from the French people’s commitment to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness. We are reminded in this time of tragedy that the bonds of liberté and égalité and fraternité are not only values that the French people care so deeply about, but they are values that we share. And those values are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism or the hateful vision of those who perpetrated the crimes this evening.
Humanity won’t stand idly by while a small group of people bent on violence and terrorism believe they have the right to foist their twisted beliefs on the rest of the world. Civilized society won’t stand for a bunch of bullies who interpret ancient texts only to justify their murderous, barbaric behavior. These are people who would be more at home in the Middle Ages, not the 21st century.
America would arguably not exist today as a free country if the French hadn’t decided to intervene in the U.S. Revolutionary War. Without their military acumen and naval strength to counter the British, we might still be a part of the British empire. We owe our very foundation of freedom to the French, with whom we’ve always shared a close bond.
Today I echo what millions have affirmed the morning after. As the French people stood with America after 9/11, America — and all the world — stands with France.