Saturday, 2 July 2016

Fear of terrorism

In January 2015 France was once more confronted with the cruel truth of reality: a small but determined group fanatic militants appeared to be able to paralyse a whole country.

Place de la République - Paris: after 7 January 2015
The French were confronted with the state of emergency, armed soldiers appeared in the streets and near possible "vulnerable" targets, scanners appeared at the entrance to museums and other public buildings, in a word, France was started out of its lethargy and a number of sometimes rather draconic measures were taken to prevent a repetition of the Charlie Hebdo murders.

Place de la République - Paris: after 7 January 2015
That one cannot prevent these things happening, no matter how hard one tries, was proven again by the bloodbath caused in November 2015, again in Paris. Anyway, doing something is better than doing nothing at all, and that fear is not restrained to Paris alone but has spread throughout France can be deduced from the following anecdote.
On a Wednesday night, to go to our weekly taichi-lessons in a gymnasium, we always park in a parking area opposite another school. One evening however all parking spaces, except for one disabled parking space, were cordoned off with a few barriers connected with red and white tape.

Rue du 19 Mars 1962 - Cluny: after 13 November 2015
Assuming that the parking spaces were cordoned off for works in the day time, we shoved a barrier aside and parked our car where we normally park. That went o.k. for a couple of weeks, until the tape disappeared one day to make place for more metal barriers. We had no other choice but to park half on the street, parallel to the barriers.
The "works" however seemed to be a never ending story. And finally we decided to read what the decree of the city council, pinned to one of the barriers, said.

Rue du 19 Mars 1962 - Cluny: na 13 november 2015
It appeared that the headmaster of the school opposite wanted to create a safe zone around his school, inspired by the terrorist attacks of November 2015. Hopefully potential terrorists will not be clever enough to use a vehicle with a disabled sticker….

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