Sunday, January 18, 2015

Vive la France!

I love the French.

I love French fries. I love pie ala mode. I love French bread. I love, pardon moi, a French kiss. I love a good Bordeaux. I love the Statue of Liberty.

I especially love the French under assault, or more specifically, their response to it. I am referring, of course, to the recent horror in Paris and the subsequent show of defiance a day or two later by four million Frenchmen to the deaths, by terrorism, of their fellow citizens. It was an inspiring moment.

The French haven't always fared well in the face of adversity. World Wars I and II weren't particularly shining moments for the French. The Maginot Line, as it turned out, wasn't all that good an idea and ultimately resulted in that offensive newsreel of Adolf Hitler gloating under the Eiffel Tower.

But World War II did spawn a highly effective Resistance movement, and these days, Interpol is headquartered in Lyons, for whatever that means or might imply.

For the moment, at least, it appears that France is running point in the war on terrorism. For a country whose motto is "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité", I'll take it. Sure, it might be because of necessity that the French are seemingly out in front on this, but their remarkable response has given me a sense of confidence in this global malaise.

I'm not sure what purpose terrorism serves, other than to terrorize "soft" targets like you and me. It's a political tool that almost never works to effect the desired change, but rather, in the long run, it seems to embolden, inspire and fortify the intended target. To my mind, if you look closely enough, terrorism as a form of persuasion is ultimately counterproductive. You'd think that would be obvious to the terrorists. Do they really think they're making any headway with murder?

Terrorism conducted by fanatics brainwashed into believing in their own martyrdom makes the issue problematical, of course. This phenomenon crops up every once in a while in human history, as the U.S. Navy learned in World War II with Japanese kamikaze attacks.

I don't know what the solution is.

But I'm glad the French are in on it. Maybe, when this mess is all over and resolved perhaps in a 100 years from now, we can give the French a statue of their own.

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