ERISA TAKEDA WRITES FROM PARIS – Everyone already knows what happened on the night of the night of November 13th in Paris. Social media, despite its questionable reliability, was the first to spread the word so widely about the horrible attacks.
Instead of dwelling on this tragedy, I would like to share with you the discussions I’ve had with classmates and my professor in my France, US, and the Arab World class – and with friends.
The discussions started with the notion of “civil war,” a phrase no one dares to use to describe the attack in Paris; but it is the reality that the terrorists, despite having pledged allegiance to Daech, were French citizens born and raised in France and are attacking other French citizens. Under the state of emergency in France, and currently Belgium, they are threatening their own citizens who have also grown up in Europe – they are not immigrants or refugees from Syria.
So air strikes to neutralize Daech in Syria does not eliminate the Islamists in European nations. If this issue really is far more a “civil war” than an external invasion, it is an internal affair, and there is nothing military intervention that neutralizes Daech in Syria can do to stop this terrorism.

And if countries seek to try to stop producing the terrorists in their midst, they have to develop a difficult but necessary multilateral approach where socially excluded citizens, the government, and socially privileged citizens come together in a truer democratic form of social, political, and economic equality.

However idealistic that sounds, the fact is that in response to threats of terrorism on European soil, more and more French citizens are aligning themselves with Front National, the extreme-right party in France that is anti-Islam and anti-immigrant, and therefore, anti-equality-for-all. There are also currents of Islamophobia and anti-refugees all over the world, but I find it quite ironic that, increasingly, people, in France and elsewhere in Europe, are responding to Islamists – the radical and fundamental form of Islam – by aligning themselves with extreme-right, radical parties.
When radicals, who do not make compromises, respond to radicals, how can anything be solved – there is always stalemate. There is no progression, change, or resolution by being dogmatic and repeating history.

Erisa Takeda 2Some say that allowing refugees to enter a country increases the risk of terrorist attacks on Western soil, but rejecting them could make them vulnerable targets of recruitment and conversion to join the caliphate. I am solely pointing out that terrorism has always been dealt with as an external threat requiring military intervention, but it has never been stopped.