Current Event Review: November 2015 Paris Attacks
Summary of the event and background
The event took place on November 13, 2015. It was a night when thousands of Paris residents and tourists were busy revelling and the fans enjoying a soccer match where France national team was playing the world champions, Germany. In this event, gunmen and suicide bombers carried out a series of attacks in the French capital, Paris. The attackers were able to hit a concert hall, a major stadium, some restaurants and bars almost simultaneously. The outcome of the event left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. The nation went to tears, with the entire world going into a shock. France President described the attack as an “act of war”. Seven of the attackers also died in the event, while authorities continued searching for the accomplices. Later, the Islamic State (IS) militant group came out to claim responsibility for the attacks (BBC News, 9 December 2015).
The attack entirely goes down to the history books as being one of the deadliest to have occurred in France since World War II. It was also the deadliest attack in the European Union since the time of the Madrid train bombings back in 2004. Before the attack, France had been operating under high alert following January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo offices together with a Jewish supermarket in Paris that left 17 people dead.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) later came out to claim responsibility for all attacks. In their statement, they said that the attack was retaliation for the airstrikes that France launched on ISIL targets in Syria and Iraq (BBC News, 9 December 2015). A few hours later, France President, Francois Hollande, came out to issue a statement to the world. In his statement, he stated that the attacks were an act of war by the ISIL, which was subject to plan in Syria, subject to organize in Belgium, and later perpetrated with French complicity.
Terrorism acts operate under the motivation of two specific things. These are social and political injustice and having the belief that violence or its effect will be effective at ushering change. Under social and political injustice, people make irrational decisions to join terrorism with a belief that they are trying to make right on what they consider as a social, historical, or political wrong. They only make these decisions whenever they have been stripped the rights of advocating for their rights in a legal process.
Through the second belief, a person engaging in a terrorism act has the belief that a violent protest or act justifies the ends. According to Moghaddam & Marsella (2004), many terrorists stated sincerely that they only chose violence after having long deliberations, and mostly it was because they felt that they had no other choice.
The explanation provided on what causes people to engage in terrorism acts may sound irrelevant and hard to swallow. Even though it may sound simple or theoretical, the truth is that those are the main reasons. For example, when one takes a close look at a group widely pictured as a terrorist group, you will come to realize that these two elements form the basis of their story. Therefore, terrorists that carried out these attacks in Paris would have encountered such situations, forcing them to protest violently in a manner that creates significant tension and pain to prompt changes that they want. Even if they die in the process of violent acts, terrorist has the belief that their acts will help liberate their generations left behind.
The continuous rise of terrorism activities across the world has prompted the stakeholders to seek for external help from psychiatrists with the need of understanding the path to violence. Some people would argue that the human brain has the limit of acting under a social influence, such as those arising from normative social influence, which may be in the form of brainwashing. Therefore, it is possible for an individual to make a rational call at the end and avoid carrying out an act that would have a devastating impact, such as death (Moghaddam & Marsella, 2004). Contrary to this concept, it is apparent that many people would still go to the extreme of carrying out such devastating attacks. The outcome has prompted the need to conduct more research to understand the psychology of a terrorist.
Conclusion and recommendation
The outcome of this event has both positive and negative repercussions. In a positive capacity, it ends up bringing alliances together in solidarity; hence form more measures to counter such attacks in future. The affected and its associates will respond to the enemy in one voice, contrary to what the enemy would have expected. The negatives are that it has social, political and economic impacts to the victims. It might also lead to in-fights and reduced faith in security agencies, hence leading to unstable political and social climate.
It is entirely appropriate for the security agencies to come up with tougher stringent measures to fight terrorism acts. However, I would recommend for expansion of research towards understanding the psychology of a terrorist, hence be able to come up with a permanent and most efficient solution to the problem of constant terror acts.
BBC News. Paris attacks: What happened on the night. Published 9 December 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34818994
Moghaddam, F. M., & Marsella, A. J. (2004). Understanding terrorism: Psychosocial roots, consequences, and interventions. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.