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Paris attacks give us pause for thought

By Mal Fletcher - posted Monday, 16 November 2015

While terrorists shout "death to the infidel", this morning people of goodwill will likely cry "Vive la France!"

That Paris, the City of Light should again be threatened with darkness serves as a reminder that, in an age of globalisation, our way of life, for all its comforts, is never as secure nor as guaranteed as we think.

Having already weathered the Charlie Hebdo attack and its related atrocities, Paris now has to deal with a collection of even more deadly outrages, which President Hollande has rightly labelled an "abomination".


More than 120 people have been killed in the latest brutality, which led the authorities to immediately close France's borders and declare a state of emergency.

This morning, thankfully, reports on the ground suggest that although shaken, Parisians are for the most part getting on with life. Perhaps they see normality as the best form of defiance in the face of barbarism.

In Europe as in many other parts of the developed world, we can arguably find ourselves lulled into a false sense of security about threats from within and without.

Modern technologies and the normal advantages of urbanisation can suggest that our relatively civilised way of life is somehow isolated from and immunised against overt violence.

Digitisation and our growing engagement with social media have produced wonderful opportunities to share ideas and solve problems large and small.

They also, however, allow us to build highly individualised bubbles of existence; cosy enclaves within which - the impact of cyber-bullying notwithstanding - we appear to be able to shut out many of the uncertainties of the real world.


As a result, it is easy for us to believe that we can isolate ourselves within a zone of relative self-determination.

Attacks like that of 13/11 in Paris, as they may well become known, and 7/7 in London shake that sense of inviolable security.

With that in mind, a helpful response not only for Parisians but for all of us who consider ourselves their friends, might be to recalibrate or at least review some of our priorities, collectively if not individually.

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This article was first published at 2020PLUS.NET.

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About the Author

Mal Fletcher is a media social futurist and commentator, keynote speaker, author, business leadership consultant and broadcaster currently based in London. He holds joint Australian and British citizenship.

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