Je suis Europe

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By Harry Ballmann

It is clear to see that Europe is travelling through a barrage of turbulence. Amidst an ever growing refugee crisis, the constant worry of the Greek economy and the UK staging a referendum, terrorism is certainly the last problem Europe needs. This period of unrest seems virtually impossible to control at present, begging the question, will it ever end? First, there were the Paris Attacks, sending shockwaves of fear down the continent’s spine; 130 killed, a further 368 injured. Following this, there were countless news stories concerning the whereabouts of Europe’s most wanted men, the Belgian born, French national Salah Abdeslam, thought to be in a locked-down Brussels.

The attacks on Paris provoked a blunt and provocative response from France, a series of bombings on an ISIS stronghold in Syria, escalating tensions further. The French response to these attacks, whilst justified by millions, was condemned by millions, too. Many supported the notion that it would only heighten ISIS’ incentives to attack again, in a similarly inhumane manner. There were numerous raids throughout Paris and Belgium, attempts to diminish the likelihood any further attacks in Europe by those responsible for Paris. It seems in light of today’s events however, that these attempts were in vain.

The attacks in Turkey’s capital, Ankara proved to be a further illustration of Europe’s inability to control seemingly widespread extremism. It also allowed those who condemned the French bombings in Syria to echo their opinions throughout Europe, a condemnation of retaliation on both fronts (ISIS and France) whilst simultaneously promoting world amity.

The Ankara attacks were hardly spoken about, almost to the point of being non-existent all together. Jamie Taylor (an Ankara resident) spoke out regarding the attacks, criticising the lack of Western compassion that was associated with Paris.  ‘You were Charlie, you were Paris. Will you be Ankara?’ – A poignant depiction of the lack of support for a forgotten capital, where the suicide bombs killed over 100 and injured at least 200, a similar scale of attack  to Paris in November.

Jamie Taylor’s argument has been clearly exemplified today, and Europe’s descent into a helix of problems is only accelerating. The various attacks on Belgium’s capital and the centre of the European Union come four days after the seizure of Salah Abdeslam, deemed the most wanted man in Europe. At present, it is estimated that 26 people are dead, with that number unfortunately set to rise. The attacks were spread around the city, hitting the Metro close to buildings EU buildings, and an explosion at Brussels’ airport earlier this morning. As a precautionary measure, Brussels’ public transport system has been shut, with the Prime Minister Charles Michael not only calling for calm and solidarity, but for everybody to remain inside at this point. The British response has been one of concern too, with a Cobra level meeting being authorised by David Cameron, for fear of a similar attack in the United Kingdom.

Retaliation has been a key theme throughout the past five months with a number of attacks occurring throughout Europe. Whilst one does not condone the various ISIS attacks, we must consider the damage done by Britain, France and Russia to both ISIS and civilians in Syria, which has almost certainly added to the tensions throughout Europe. A show of solidarity towards Brussels will be inevitable, but it should be a show of unity towards the European situation as a whole, a harrowing state of affairs which will test the strength of nations, and the continent alike.

Picture: Jef Versele

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