Wars help, don’t stop terrorism

This video about the USA says about itself:

UNINTENDED Consequences’: OBAMA traces Origin Of ISIS to Bush era IRAQ INVASION

17 March 2015

President Barack Obama traced the origins of Islamic State militants back to the presidency of George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq back in 2003, arguing that its growth was an “unintended consequence” of the war.

In an interview with Vice News, President Obama said the rise of Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) can be directly linked to America’s excursion into Iraq under Bush.

“Two things: One is, ISIL is a direct outgrowth of Al-Qaeda in Iraq that grew out of our invasion,” Obama said in an interview with VICE News. “Which is an example of unintended consequences. Which is why we should generally aim before we shoot.”

Obama stated that he is “confident” a coalition consisting of 60 nations “will slowly push back ISIL out of Iraq,” but added that the challenge of stopping extremism won’t stop unless there is a political solution to the internal strife affecting so many countries in the Middle East.

“What I’m worried about” he said, “is even if ISIL is defeated, the underlying problem of disaffected Sunnis around the world – but particularly in some of these areas including Libya, including Yemen – where a young man who’s growing up has no education, has no prospects for the future, is looking around and the one way he can get validation, power, respect, is if he’s a fighter.”

“That’s a problem we’re going to have, generally. And we can’t keep on thinking about counterterrorism and security as entirely separate from diplomacy, development, education.”

The president dismissed concerns that the US spends too much on foreign aid, noting that just over one percent of the federal budget goes to other nations. He argued that “we should be thinking about making investments” overseas that will prevent America from sending troops to engage in military operations.

Obama’s comments regarding ISIS mark the first time he has framed the extremist group’s existence as a consequence of American foreign policy decisions. The president’s opponents have often argued that his withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in 2011 left space for groups like ISIS to grow. At the same time, the Shia-dominated central government of Iraq failed to effectively bring the country’s Sunni minority into the governing process, leaving ISIS with a disaffected ethnic group more willing to join its cause.

When reports of Al-Qaeda-linked militants causing violence in Iraq first burst onto the scene, Obama also characterized the group as a “JV team,” or a small-time operation.

“The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant,” Obama told the New Yorker in early 2014. “I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

Here is a translation of parts of the open letter by Dutch philosopher Joke Johannetta Hermsen to King Willem-Alexander, which she published in weekly De Groene Amsterdammer today:

Amsterdam, November 19, 2015

Dear Your Majesty, dear Willem-Alexander,

While it certainly is not my habit as a true republican to turn in moments of despair to the royal family, I see just now no other way out: God is these days quite deaf, the homeland and the politicians are in serious confusion; so then, in the name of peace, a letter to the king. In previous centuries, this was a thriving tradition, including in your kingdom by writers such as Belle van Zuylen and Multatuli. It’s time to do a follow-up now. Last week in our flat country, the emotions ran so high that our prime minister the day after the attacks in Paris perplexedly and looking pale around his nose declared that “we are at war.” A letter in the name of peace therefore seems to be appropriate.

The declaration of war by the Prime Minister a few months ago would have caused many people to frown, if only because of the damage which the war on terror declared by George W Bush has done the past 15 years. But now there was a lot of political support, in spite of protests by terror experts and by well-known sociologist Willem Schinkel. Additionally David Van Reybrouck wrote on Facebook a fiery indictment of the war rhetoric of the French president, for “he who talks war, should wage war’. It was read by millions, translated and shared, but apparently not by the French or the Dutch parliament. Reybrouck’s fear came true. …

Moreover, if we are already at war, we have already been so since Bush and Blair began bombing Iraq under false pretexts. Out of the chaos that they inflicted, ISIS arose, so we can hardly close our eyes to the fact that the attacks are a response or hide our heads in the sand for the knowledge that new bombings are very likely to lead to further attacks.

What we saw in Paris was a handful of hatred and anger blinded young people putting on bomb belts or taking a kalashsnikov into a car, to shoot in the street at random innocent people. That’s not a war, but an expression of despair and a burst of madness. So you’ll have to learn about the roots of madness, to acknowledge them and then fight them. Then you can not keep retaliating with bombs, as Jewish writer Amos Oz recently said in TV show Buitenhof. Instead, you’ll need to examine the nature of the injuries. A new war on terror will only add fuel to the fire. The question is, as Reybrouck also writes, whether we want to destroy ISIS, with the result that elsewhere new terror cells will arise, or that we want to prevent new attacks.

The experts and history tell us again and again: only in 7% of cases, terrorist groups are successfully defeated by violence. That is not a very hopeful percentage. Instead of military intervention a political process must be properly set in motion in the hotbeds of Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and elsewhere. And the same should, and that is why I address this letter especially to you, happen in our own country. We will have to focus on dialogue, prevention, tolerance and resilience in our homes, such as terrorist expert Beatrice de Graaf repeatedly said. Precisely here, in the Netherlands, Belgium and France, so in those countries that have apparently produced most of the perpetrators of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.

We will have to learn that violence at the macro level is fueled by abuses at the micro level, even within the borders of our own country. The violence of attacks is not only capricious and unpredictable, it is also too big for us: we can only feel powerless or frightened by it. We will have to look at smaller, more local connections, contexts and situations have to be able to something. You have in our country an important symbolic function and can therefore help. This letter is intended to help persuade you get to do a few simple symbolic gestures in these dark days before the Saint Nicolas holiday instead of violence, encouraging a different, more sensible course. About the chaos in Syria nor the government nor any opinion makers of the Netherlands can change much in the short term. The key question is therefore what we can do and indeed to combat racism in our own country as well as radicalization.

Because, if you will allow me here just to mention a few risk factors, there certainly slumbers revolt within the ranks of your own kingdom. So there is refugee accommodation which needs extra protection because some citizens already can not wait to personally do their contribution to ‘the war’. There are Dutch employers who still stubbornly refuse to give trainees or job seekers signing their applications with Fatima and Abdelkader a fair chance, excluding them of possibilities to build a life of their own. Still other compatriots are not even doing any no more efforts to disguise their racist feelings. They shout abuse on camera or on Facebook against their black countrymen like when these in Meppel protest against the hurtful inability of the Saint Nicholas holiday committees to organize parades in 2015 with no more blackface ‘Zwarte Pieten’, but with helpers of Saint Nicholas in all colours of the rainbow. How hard should that be?

This 18 November 2015 video from the Netherlands is called Kick Out Zwarte Piet hosts first Meppel freedom ride against racial discrimination.

Apparently these committees feel empowered by the government, which on the one hand claims that the Zwarte Piet debate is not a political issue, but on the other hand it wants to abolish the subsidy for commemorating slavery. It is probably also encouraged by some provincial governments who have stopped funding anti-discrimination hotlines after January 2017, while the number of reported cases of discrimination continues to rise unabated. Last year was the number of reports nationwide even doubled, thanks to Wilders’ call for “less, less, less” Moroccans. …

So, what do you think, would not it be wiser instead of some quasi heroic “war” to try at home to prevent the possible causes of radicalization, by doing what we can really do, ie, stopping needless injuries, unfair humiliations and unequal opportunities on the labor market? We can then work in a joint dialogue on mutual trust and solidarity. Would it not be nice, dear king, if you would take the lead in this. ….

To start off, we need to start somewhere, shouldn’t we paint over the panel depicting slavery on your nineteenth century Dutch royal golden carriage? The vehicle is still under restoration for several years, so there is a chance that you can grab immediately. What king can still ride comfortably as all the inhabitants of the kingdom watch in that? You must then send a royal messenger with the chocolate letter S of Solidarity to all those politicians who only want to think of bombs and to all provincial and municipal governments that right now want to inflict spending cuts on the prevention of discrimination, on anti-racism projects at schools, on community centers and on classes.

In this 2014 video, in Dutch with English subtitles, Dr Barryl Biekman, chairwoman of the slavery commemoration platform in the Netherlands, speaks about ‘The [Dutch Royal] Carriage in the context of Afrophobia’.

Paris terrorism abused for wars, attacks on civil liberties

This video says about itself:

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan on the Iraq War

9 September 2012

I was completely against the war with every fiber of my being, and I was thinking, ‘How can we stop this?’ But it became clear it was unstoppable. Many nations around the world in Latin America and Africa spoke out against the war. I was relieved that the United Nations did not give approval for the war. It would have been a disaster for the United Nations. Many Americans at the time were upset that the United Nations wouldn’t support the war, but I think they now understand that we made the right decision.”

-Kofi Annan, Former U.N. Secretary General

By Paddy McGuffin in Britain:

A hell of our own making

Saturday 21st November 2015

This is all getting horribly predictable. The West wages war and in doing so ostracises and radicalises a new generation of terrorists who bring the war back to their front doors with a vengeance.

Said Western state condemns the attacks as cowardly assaults on their freedom and way of life and vows to escalate the bombing and crack down on civil liberties at home, thus ensuring the cycle continues in perpetuity.

Other nations jump on the band wagon and use said atrocity to ratchet up the fear quotient in their own countries as a pretext for brutal repression and the further erosion of free speech and human rights in the name of national security.

Rightwingers seize the news agenda with their denunciations of barbaric Muslims, as if there were some form of hive mind in action and billions of people around the globe thought as one in their hatred of the West.

’Twas ever thus. The enemy may change but the response and rhetoric do not.

And of course as the true extent of the sickening massacre in Paris unfolded they took primacy over attacks mere days beforehand in non-western countries including Egypt, Lebanon and just yesterday Mali, not to mention the almost daily slaughter in Iraq and Syria.

But then they’re all savages over there and that’s just what they do, right?

These atrocities warrant no more than a few column inches or a soundbite on the news, and then usually only if there are any white westerners involved.

This is despite the glaring fact that most of the fighting and factionalisation in these regions can be directly traced back to colonialism, imperialism and Western intervention.

There was no Al-Qaida in Iraq until the 2003 invasion.

For all its faults Iraq was one of the only secular states in the Middle East. Now it is riven with sectarianism and extremism by Sunni and Shia alike.

Likewise Isis did not exist until the assaults on Libya and now Syria.

No one in their right mind would attempt to justify the barbaric slaughter that claimed over 120 lives on the streets of Paris in the space of just a few hours.

The murder of innocent civilians can never be justified under any circumstances.

But there is a massive double standard at work here.

Are the appalling deaths of innocents in Paris somehow worse than the deaths of tens of thousands of blameless people across the Middle East and Africa?

Does the fact that it is the state carrying out these killings make them justifiable, merely unfortunate collateral damage as the time-worn phrase would have it?

To both of these questions I would argue that the answer is an emphatic no.

By the same token, is it more cowardly to murder civilians with assault rifles and suicide vests than from a comfortable seat thousands of miles from the carnage operating an unmanned drone as if playing the latest playstation game?

Or by be-suited warriors in Westminster, Washington of elsewhere giving the go ahead for indiscriminate bombing raids and pontificating about the righteousness of their cause?

I think not.

Murder is murder.

There is no grey area or ambiguity here.

At the risk of sounding cynical and indifferent there is a simple correlation here: France does not send forces to Iraq, no attacks on French soil. Sarkozy gleefully cheerleads for the bombing of Libya and the policy is extended by Hollande…

So now we face the prospect of spiralling even further into a hell of our own making.

Greater oppression, greater suspicion, further attempts to justify the intensification of the abhorrently racist asylum and immigration systems in the majority of EU states.

Closing the borders to the needy and starving, the further paramilitarisation of the police and the granting of even more invasive surveillance powers to the security forces.

It will not make a blind bit of difference in terms of preventing or deterring such horrendous atrocities, only a major shift in Western foreign policy can do that.

But then it is not really meant to. It is all a pretext for suppressing dissent and criminalising free thought.

While peoples of all nations stood in solidarity and sympathy with the people of Paris, their governments are using it as an opportunity to force through their own draconian agendas.

Now that is truly despicable.

Numerous media reports over the past several days have revealed that most of the Islamists who engaged in the suicide attacks in Paris that killed 130 people, as well as the reputed organizer of the attacks, were known to the French and Belgian security services well before November 13. But no intelligence or police agency took action against them to prevent the murderous rampage: here.

Popular frustration spread across Belgium yesterday as contradictions mounted in the official justification for the continued police lockdown of Brussels and the national state of alert: here.

After Paris attacks, Spain offers to reinforce French troops in Africa: here.

Jews rescued from Nazis support Muslim refugees

 Some of the 700 Jewish refugees aboard Hamburg-America liner St Louis in 1939 Hulton Archive/Getty Images

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Jews rescued from the Nazis believe in helping Muslim refugees

Jewish children with no home and, soon, no parents, were not really welcome in the United States during World War II

Petula Dvorak

54 minutes ago

Our nation of immigrants has been afraid of refugees before.

Jewish children with no home and, soon, no parents, were not really welcome in the United States during World War II when they were desperate to escape the Nazis.

“They told the foster mothers not to speak German or Yiddish at all. They wanted us Americanized, they didn’t want us to talk to each other,” said Herta Baitch, who was just the kind of child refugee that many Americans feared then and fear now.

This week 27 U.S. governors and Republican presidential candidates lined up to announce their rejection of Muslim refugees from Syria. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) even insisted that he would not allow a “3-year-old orphan’s” entry. On Thursday, the House voted to tighten the flow of refugees from Syria and Iraq over the objections of President Obama, who has pledged to admit 10,000 Syrians over the coming year.

Baitch was 7 when she arrived in this country — one of about 1,400 lucky children who made it to the United States at a time when we turned away at least one ship filled with hundreds of Jews fleeing for their lives. For Baitch, 83, hearing the harsh tone of today’s conversation about refugees hurts.

“It’s a horrible reminder of the Holocaust years, when boats were turned away,” she said.

In a poll that was published in Fortune Magazine in 1938, 67.4 percent of Americans who were asked about allowing German, Austrian and other political refugees into the country agreed that “with conditions as they are, we should try to keep them out.”

In fact, the United States did turn them away. Most infamously, the German ocean liner St. Louis was denied port in Florida. And a quarter of the 908 Jewish refugees aboard who were returned to Europe were killed in Nazi death camps.

When the country of immigrants was closing its doors, a few humanitarian organizations found ways to bring small groups of unaccompanied children to the United States, where they lived in foster homes or found shelter with distant relatives.

Baitch’s parents ended up dying in concentration camps, but her mother’s last act before she was sent to a camp was to find a woman who would take her daughter to the United States.

Baitch now lives in Maryland, a proud great-grandmother, an active member of her community and the constituent of a Republican governor, Larry Hogan, who wants to shut the door to Syrian refugees.

“It’s the children I ache for,” she said.

“So many times, the doors were closed to us,” she said. “They let so few children through.”

Michel Margosis’s family went from Siberia to Belgium (where Margosis was born) to Spain as they fled the Nazis. They hid on a French farm, lived in the slums of Marseille, escaped a detention camp after only one day and crossed the Pyrenees.

Sound familiar to today’s headlines? See the pattern?

In the end, only Margosis escaped, coming to the United States alone as a 14-year-old.

More than 70 years later, he presides over a French conversation club at his Springfield, Va., retirement community, volunteers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and is a member of the Fairfax County Human Rights Commission.

He enlisted to serve in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and worked for years as a research chemist for the Food and Drug Administration.

But, at 87, he has never forgotten what it feels like to be a refu­gee. Listening to politicians who want to block refugees in the name of safety, he said, feels “very xenophobic and very regressive.”

“People like [Sen. Ted] Cruz, being the son of an immigrant himself, how can he close the door behind him? That’s not our country,” Margosis said. “We have to keep the door open, or at least ajar. If we don’t keep the door open, the people rejected by us will turn around and join ISIS.”

Eve Boden’s parents were sent to Auschwitz, where they were killed.

She was a little girl when she was sent to a detention camp in France, where she lived in mud up to her knees for five months before a humanitarian organization rescued her.

On her seventh birthday in 1942, she came alone to a country that didn’t really want her. It was a time of American isolationism and anti-Semitism, she said.

The attitudes, the fears, the conversations about refugees “were just as awful then as they are today,” said Boden, who is 80 and runs a psychotherapy practice in Syosset, N.Y.

“Back then, the British opened their arms to 10,000 children. Americans opened their arms to about 1,000,” she said.

“I really understand the fear, the terror the Syrians are experiencing,” she said. “And now, Americans hear ‘Syrian,’ they think of a guy with a mask and an AK-47, not kids who are muddy and skinny and scared.”

She can understand that there is fear among many Americans about Islamist extremists, but too many Americans had similar fears about German Jews.

“You lose sight of the children and the women who are struggling,” she said. “All of these migrants are escaping war. That’s what they want. Escape. Like we did.”

FIGHT TO KEEP SYRIAN REFUGEES OUT JUST THE BEGINNING Republicans are reportedly drafting bills that would deny access to asylum seekers. [Bloomberg]

Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull on show in London

Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull

From the Royal College of Surgeons in London, England:

Real Winnie-the-Pooh’s skull displayed at the Royal College of Surgeons

20 November 2015

Winnie-the-Pooh fans will have an opportunity to see the skull of the bear that inspired the much-loved character in A.A. Milne’s stories, at the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum.

Milne, who wrote one of the most popular collections of children’s stories: Winnie-the-Pooh and later The House at Pooh Corner, was a regular visitor to London Zoo. His son, Christopher, named his teddy bear Winnie after a Canadian black bear who lived in the zoo. Named Winnipeg, and Winnie for short, she was the inspiration for Winnie-the-Pooh.

This video from London days about itself:

The bear who inspired Winnie-the-Pooh

18 January 2014

Ever wondered how Winnie-the-Pooh got his name? This is the story of Winnie the bear, who arrived at ZSL London Zoo a hundred years ago and who inspired AA Milne‘s iconic honey-loving character.

The RCS article continues:

Visitors to the Royal College of Surgeons’ Hunterian Museum in London will be able to see Winnie’s skull and learn more about her.

Sam Alberti, Director of Museums and Archives at the Royal College of Surgeons, said:

“Winnie-the-Pooh remains one of the most popular children’s stories ever since Pooh Bear was brought to life on the pages of A.A Milne’s book in 1926.

“Children and adults who visit the Hunterian Museum will now have an opportunity to learn about the real Winnie and how she inspired A.A. Milne.

“Her story and presence in our collection are a reminder of how learning about animal health can enhance our understanding and care for species around the world.”

Soldier and trained vet, Captain Harry Colebourn bought Winnie when she was a bear cub, and he was en route to fight in the First World War. He had enlisted to look after the cavalry units and named her Winnipeg after his home city in Manitoba, Canada.

Cpt Colebourn’s regiment travelled to Europe at the beginning of the war and he brought Winnie as their mascot while they trained on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire. When the regiment was deployed to fight in France in 1914, he left Winnie at London Zoo.

Winnie lived through the war and was visited by A.A. Milne and his son Christopher. Photographs from this time show that Christopher was allowed in Winnie’s enclosure at the zoo. After the war, Cpt Colebourn donated Winnie to London Zoo, where she remained a popular attraction until she died of old age in May 1934.

During a recent review of the RCS’s collections, curators identified Winnie’s skull and the story of this treasured bear. Documents show that when Winnie died at the zoo, her skull was donated to Sir James Frank Colyer (1866-1954) the then curator of the Odontological Museum, which was part of the RCS collections. A dental surgeon, he was the first to report on dental variations and diseases in bears. He analysed a number of animal skulls from the Zoological Society of London to compile his comprehensive book on dental disease in animals (Colyer 1936. Variations and diseases of the teeth of animals).

At the time, Colyer noted in Winnie’s skull the loss of teeth, thickening of the alveolar process and sockets filled with bone. He associated this with Winnie’s extremely old age and her food habits. Recent examination of the skull shows that Winnie suffered from chronic periodontitis (an inflammation and/or loss of connective tissues supporting or surrounding the teeth). Colyer’s book, and the skulls featured in it (including Winnie’s), have now become valuable research specimens for biologists and zoo vets who need to treat captive animals for dental diseases.

See also here.

Terrorism, open letter to French President

This 16 November video from the USA is called American Ahmadiyya Muslims condemn Paris Shooting.

From Flandersnews.be in Belgium:

President Hollande, you’ve got mail from Brussels!

Mon 16/11/2015 – 14:27 David Van Reybrouck; translation: Colin Clapson

The celebrated Flemish author David Van Reybrouck has written an open letter to President Hollande of France attacking his choice of language during a speech to the French people following Friday’s unprecedented terrorist attacks in Paris.

Dear Mr President,

That was a rather foolhardy choice of words in your speech on Saturday afternoon when you repeatedly spoke of an “act of war” perpetrated by a “terrorist army”. You said:

“What happened in Paris and Saint-Denis is an act of war and faced with war a country must take the appropriate measures. It was an act committed by a terrorist army, Daesh (IS or Isil), against what we are, a free country that speaks with the entire planet, an act of war that was prepared and plan[n]ed from without with support from within that is now the subject of an investigation. It was an act of total barbarity.”

I am in total agreement with those last words, but the rest of your speech is a horrible, nearly word perfect repetition of the words of GW Bush to the US Congress shortly after the 9/11 attacks: “The enemies of freedom have committed an act of war against our country.”

The consequences of those historic words are well known. A head of state qualifying an event as an act of war is obliged to come up with an appropriate response. … This was followed by the totally mad invasion of Iraq, without UN mandate – for the sole reason that the US suspected it possessed weapons of mass destruction.

That was the main pretext, but not the only pretext.

The other pretext were the lies about Iraq supposedly being involved in the 9/11 atrocities in the USA.

The United States Bush’s administration’s third pretext, turning up when the two other pretexts had turned out to be lies, was ‘Saddam Hussein is a dictator violating human rights’.

True in itself, but NOT a pretext for aggressive war violating international law, as:

1. Saddam Hussein committed his worst crimes when he was still an ally of the United States Reagan-Rumsfeld-Cheney administration.

2. Under George W Bush’s occupation of Iraq, human rights violations became even worse than under Saddam.

3. Recently, Iraq warmongers Donald Rumsfeld and Tony Blair both confessed that they had never been in favour of democracy in Iraq and the Middle East; contrary to their March 2003 war propaganda lies.

None were found, but the invasion led to the total destabilisation of the region that we witness to this day. When US troops left the country in 2011 a power vacuum ensued. When civil war broke out in neighbouring Syria shortly afterwards as part of the fallout from the Arab Spring it became clear to all how destabilising America’s military intervention had been. In the North West of a dismembered Iraq and in the East of a Syria shot to bits there was room, next to the Syrian army and the FSA for the establishment of a third, major player: Isil, Isis or IS.

In short, without Bush’s idiotic invasion of Iraq there would never have been any talk of IS. Millions of us demonstrated against the invasion in 2003. I was among them. It was a worldwide protest. We were right. Not that we were able to look twelve years ahead into the future. We were not that clairvoyant. But now we do realise it: what happened in Paris on Friday night is an indirect consequence of the war rhetoric that your colleague Bush employed in September 2001.

And what do you do? How do you respond within 24 hours of the attacks? You use exactly the same terminology that your US counterpart at the time employed. You are making wine from the same barrel.

You walked straight into it, with your eyes open, Mr President. You did it because you could feel the hot breath of Nicolas Sarkozy and Marine Le Pen in your neck. True, you already had a reputation for being a weakling. Elections are on the way on 6 and 13 December, even though these are only regional elections, following the attacks they will be dominated by national security issues. You walked straight into it, because you gave the terrorists what they wanted: a declaration of war. With great pleasure you accepted their invitation for a Jihad. In your attempt to respond in a forthright fashion you are risking an escalation of the spiral of violence. To me this doesn’t seem like a good idea.

You spoke of a “terrorist army”. First of all, no such thing exists. It’s a contradiction in terms. A “terrorist army”, that’s a bit like a bulimic diet. Countries and groups can have armies, when they fail to establish one they can opt for terrorism. This means that they commit incidental actions aimed at a maximum psychological impact instead of a structural, military deployment of power involving geopolitical ambitions.

But an army? Let’s be clear: so far we do not know if the perpetrators are returning Syria fighters or people dispatched from Syria on purpose. We do not know if the attacks were planned in the caliphate or in European suburbs. Even though there are indications for a Syrian master plan (the near coincidence of the attacks in Lebanon and the Russian plane crash), it strikes me that the IS communique came late in the day and hardly contained any elements that had not circulated on the internet. Is this a question of co-ordination or recuperation?

For equal measure, these could be individuals who have simply run amok, probably chiefly French nationals who have returned from Syria where they became experienced in explosives and fire arms and where they were submerged in a totalitarian ideology, crypto-theory and acts of war. They became monsters, but not an army.

The IS communique spoke of locations that had meticulously been chosen, your own services stress the professionalism of the perpetrators. As far as that is concerned you both speak the same language. But the facts beg to differ. The three who went to the Stade de France where you were attending a friendly against Germany seemed amateurs. They clearly wanted to get inside, possibly to launch an attack against your person; it is possible. But whoever blows himself up next to a McDonald’s and only manages to kill one other person is a poor terrorist. People who need three suicide attacks to kill four others, while minutes later a human mass of 80,000 souls sets itself in motion are bunglers. Someone who together with four others wants to exterminate a concert hall but fails to block the emergency exit is no strategic genius. Someone who steps from a car are shoots at unarmed, innocent civilians on pavement cafes isn’t a soldier schooled in tactics, but a coward, a bastard, a loner who has completely gone off the rails and who has aligned his fate with several other completely derailed individuals. It’s a pack of lone wolves.

Your analysis about a “terrorist army” does not hold water. Your term “act of war” is exceptionally biased, even though this bellicose rhetoric has unashamedly also been adopted by the Dutch Premier Mark Rutte in the Netherlands and Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon in Belgium. In your attempt to placate your nation you threaten to make the world less safe. In your attempt to use forceful language, you have shown your weakness.

Other forms of firmness to bellicose language do exit. Immediately after the attacks in Norway Prime Minister Stoltenberg unreservedly called for “greater democracy, greater openness and greater participation”. In your speech you spoke of freedom. You should also have pointed to two other values of the French Republic: equality and fraternity. I believe there is greater need of these at this minute than of your questionable war rhetoric.

David Van Reybrouck is the author of the award-winning “Congo. A History”. He is a writer of prose, poetry and drama as well as an essayist.

David Van Reybrouck also wrote Dear rest of the world on the Paris crimes and politicians’reactions to it.

Guests at the Radisson Blu Astrid Hotel in Antwerp because suspicious on Tuesday night and called the police. They thought that one of the hotel’s guests had been acting suspiciously, but the suspicious person turned out to be no one other than the Red Devils’ [Belgian international football team] star Radja Nainggolan: here.

Radja Nainggolan is of Christian Flemish and Christian Indonesian ancestry.