The French city of Nice is not nice anymore
1. The Bloody Gift for the National Day
On July 14, 2016, in the Mediterranean city of Nice, at approximately 10:40pm local time (4:40pm EST), at the 227th anniversary of Bastille Day, its National Day, France witnessed yet another terrorist attack, resulting in over 80 dead and more than 100 injured. The attacker, a truck driver, drove deliberately his vehicle at a high speed into a large crowd of people gathered on the Promenade des Anglais of the French Riviera city for a fireworks display.
The driver, who was eventually killed by the police, was zigzagging his vehicle for 1.2 miles (over two kilometers) at the crowd, so that he could hit as many people as possible, and was firing on the crowd as he drove. The authorities found the truck loaded with arms and grenades. The perpetrator, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian resident of France, had five prior criminal offenses, including armed violence.
Due to the event, Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, postponed for a day his announcement for his vice-presidential pick (who, eventually, was the Indiana governor, Mike Pence).
2. Some Good Stats to Wake Us Up
This last attack continues a long list of terrorist attacks occurred in France since the beginning of the 21st century.
Since 2001 to 2016, France has confronted itself with 18 terrorist attacks on its territory, 16 of which were related to Islamist terrorists, and two – to European radical groups (the National Liberation Front of Corsica, in 2003, also in Nice; and the Basque ETA separatist group, in 2007, in Capbreton, near Biarritz). The other 16 attacks, organized by Muslim jihadist militant individuals or groups, have increased in a geometric progression frequency and number of casualties year after year.
Between 2004 and 2013, there were three attacks (one bombing, one shooting, and one stabbing), with a total number of victims of seven dead and 16 injured.
During 2014, there were three attacks -- all in December, around Christmas – (one stabbing, and two vehicle ramming), with one dead and 24 injured.
During 2015, there were six attacks (two shootings, one shooting and stabbing, one event involving shootings, hostage taking and suicide bombings -- the November 13-15 Paris attack --, one stabbing, and one beheading), with 152 dead (out of which 130 in the Paris November attack) and 383 injured (out of which 352 in the Paris November attack).
During this only first half of 2016, there were four attacks (two stabbings and two vehicle ramming events -- including the last Nice attack), with at least 87 dead (out of which 84+ in the Nice attack) and at least 205 injured (out of which 202+ in the Nice attack).
The figures from the Nice attack are not final. But obviously, in terms of number of dead and injured (84+ dead and 202+ injured, respectively), the Nice attack places itself on the solid second place, after the Paris attack in November (with 130 dead and 352 injured) -- in the Bataclan club, the national stadium Stade de France, and elsewhere in the city --, and surpassing the other Paris attack, on January 7-9 (with 20 dead and 22 injured) -- at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo office.
It has become noticeable, also, that some attacks have been scheduled during major celebrations (national days and Christmas).
3. The First Reactions and Lessons To Be Learned
While media continues to describe people in this last attack as being “shocked” and “petrified,” I have been saying this for awhile, and I will say it again: enough with this media perpetual lamenting! These types of attacks should have been considered predictable already. We are in a state of war, but we continue to hide behind the finger! We are in a state of war, but fail to realize it!
And while the Westerners continue to be "shocked" and "petrified", we have the usual jubilation of the ISIS supporters, who celebrated the attack using social media. They keep on dreaming about the "land of the Caliphate", which, day by day, shrinks in Iraq and Syria to the point it would become a "virtual caliphate". But what is more interesting than the Islamic radicals' reaction is the reaction of the so-called "moderate" Muslims. Which would have been sublime, had not been missed completely.
Where is the indignation of the "moderate" Islam? Whenever there is a Muslim terrorist attack we are advised by the president not to put the blame on the whole Islamic community, while the press tries to demonstrate that "guns kill people" and, more recently, trucks. And that Christians are bad people, too, since they started those medieval crusades and keep attacking abortion clinics.
I think the time has come for everyone to assume their own responsibilities. Which means, for the "moderate" Muslims (if they really exist), to have an honest debate about their own problems, from both religious and secular stances, take ownership of them, and stop playing the victims.
Let us turn back to the reaction of the French political authorities. The French President François Hollande was in the south of France when the attack occurred, but returned to Paris to the national crisis center. Initially, he said to reporters, after the attack, that the state of emergency (imposed after the Paris attacks in November 2015) would not be extended after its expiration date, on July 26. Later on, he confirmed that he would extend the state of emergency for a further three months.
So there! We have been witnessing shocking times, indeed! And not from the series of the Islamic terrorist attacks, which should have been considered predictable, and avoidable, a long time ago (with the right intelligence work employed at the right time and place). But, on the contrary, from our top administration officials.
On one hand, we have a president – Barack (Hussein) Obama – who lives in a perpetual state of denial and refuse to call the attacks for what they really are, Islamic terrorist acts. On the other hand, we have another president – François Hollande – who was hesitant in extending the state of emergency because “it would make no sense.”
Two great countries – the United States of America and France – led by two weak and pathetic leftist presidents. What an indescribable shame!
By Tiberiu Dianu
Tiberiu Diana is a legal scholar, book author, a graduate of the American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, the University of Manchester Faculty of Law in Manchester, UK, and an exchange scholar of the Oxford University in Oxford, UK. He currently lives in Washington, DC and works for various government and private agencies.