14 January 2015

Monday Note: “Fear is not an editorial option”

Unlike the September 11th era of terrorism where attacks were engineered from abroad, today, Al Qaeda and ISIS have been very good at exporting terrorism into the social fabric of Western countries, encouraging the emergence of widespread, independent micro-cells with people, usually coarse (as heard in the audio recordings of last week’s perpetrators), but quite effective at using kalashnikov rifles and explosives.

Frédéric Filloux

Good point, unfortunately! That’s why recent proposals by the Spanish government to modify the Schengen treaty and reinstate border controls inside the EU will have little to no effect. The recent attacks in Paris were carried out by French citizens, ‘born-and-raised’, not by ‘imported’ threats. It would be more difficult for similar extremist cells to strike another country, where they don’t know the right people and the local language. Besides, with today’s wide-ranging methods of communication, terrorists don’t need to move from one place to another to organize attacks when they can coordinate faster and more efficiently online.

Manisfestation "je suis Charlie" Paris le 11/01/2015

Then what about real journalistic work, investigative series, video reporting, documentaries about such sensitives issues? If one day extremists decide to use rifles and explosives against journalists and documentary makers, to what extent will these cautious news organizations refrain from picking up great — but dangerously hot — stories?

Over the last days, we’ve seen pundits stating that the millions people marching in France were the proof that extremism had failed. They are wrong. The battle has just begun, and it’s not the time to balk.

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