Tuesday, July 12, 2005

French Reactions to London Bombing

Friday, July 8
We don't pretend to speak for the French, but this action obviously didn't win any friends for al-Qaeda or other Islamists in France. Commentators on the news sought quickly to dispell any illusions that France was somehow immune from the same sort of terrorist attacks. The French government raised the alert level ("Vigipirate") to red.

The regional newspaper, Sud Ouest, is headquartered in Bordeaux and is fairly representative of mainstream French media. Today it has an editorial cartoon with a shadowy, Islamist figure with his hands on a detonator plunger. Behind him a shadowy Hitler says, "Bombs on London... My poor friend, you really don't know the British at all."

In an editorial entitled "Blood and Tears in London" Sud Ouest doesn't hesitate to use the term "terrorists." Sud Ouest says [my translation]:
"If they counted on driving a wedge between the great Western nations it has failed. Responding to the shocking images of terror in London, were those of George Bush and Jacques Chirac flanking Tony Blair to state their refusal of any compromise, any weakness, in the struggle against terrorism. Facing unspeakable evil, facing the greatest menace weighing on the world and the West today, these leaders know to put their differences aside and stand shoulder to shoulder. One can only wish them well."
Sud Ouest also rejects any justification of the attacks based on Iraq, although it does say that the war "has transformed that country into a new haven for terrorism." I guess we have to expect that kind of view, too. They are French, after all.

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