News Colette Browne

Saturday 3 December 2016

Terror in Paris leads to a rush to judgment and plays into Isil's hands

Published 17/11/2015 | 02:30

People lay flowers at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, scene of one of the terrorist attacks in the city. ‘The randomness of last Friday’s indiscriminate carnage is more frightening because it makes it clear no one is safe’. Photo: Mark Condren
People lay flowers at the Bataclan theatre in Paris, scene of one of the terrorist attacks in the city. ‘The randomness of last Friday’s indiscriminate carnage is more frightening because it makes it clear no one is safe’. Photo: Mark Condren

Global headlines following Friday night's massacre in Paris proclaimed that the French people remained "defiant" in the wake of the atrocity, but the truth is that they are not defiant, they are afraid - and with good reason.

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On Sunday evening, as 'Channel 4 News' broadcast live from a memorial for the victims in central Paris, at the Place de la Republique, hundreds of panicked people began running from the scene. There were reports a firecracker had been let off, or that a candle had started a small fire in the square, but whatever innocuous event prompted the false alarm the result was mass fear and hysteria.

Around the same time, ITV was filming in a Parisian restaurant, ironically interviewing locals who said they would not give in to fear. Suddenly, there was chaos, with people screaming and turning over tables in their rush to flee. One man threw a table at a window in his desperation to get to safety. In the confusion, the TV camera was overturned and when it was righted, about 30 seconds later, scores of people could be seen cowering behind a counter, too terrified to come out.

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