The trail of blood has encircled the world and led to France again on November 13. Paris became a target as terrorists orchestrated a series of bombings and shootings that resulted in the death of at least 128 people with about 180 others reported injured. Five separate locations were the targets of the attacks with the Bataclan concert venue accounting for at least 80 dead. The US rock group Eagles of Death Metal was performing in a sold out concert in the 1,500-seat hall.
Paris has yet to get over the Charlie Hebdo killings where Islamist gunmen murdered 18 people in a span of three days in January 2015. And now this?
French President Francois Hollande, described the killings "a horror" and promised a "merciless" fight against terrorism.
Initial reports claim that one of the gunmen in the Bataclan concert venue was overheard saying: "It's the fault of Hollande, it's the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria".
Syria, as we know, has become a battle zone for some time as its president Bashar al-Assad continues to hold on to power and pound upon rebels. As a result, the civilians caught in between have crossed the borders to seek refuge in hospitable countries. In September, President Hollande said France would accept 24,000 Syrians over the next two years.
There is now a sense of wariness among countries that have accepted refugees from Syria. Many ask the question, “How sure are we that there are no terrorists embedded among those seeking asylum?” The answer: There is no guarantee.
The civilised world knows that it has responsibility over peoples who are victims of war, terrorism and oppression. It will not allow suffering especially for the elderly and the children.
As we advocate for peace, the peoples of the world must in the strongest terms condemn terrorism. We must not cower in fear. We must continue to tend to the helpless and vulnerable. We must pursue the route of peace along its bloodied trail.
To the people of Paris, we say, ‘Stay Strong’.