Have the Paris attacks marked a turning point in our collective response to terrorism? My thoughts and the videos that inspired them.
It appears that air strikes and enhanced surveillance are the hot topics, in political circles at least, following the evil in Paris. While the virtues of both are for those more informed than a humble copywriter to decide, what has struck me is the level of reasoned, peaceful, intelligent and even soothingly comedic reply to this latest bout of supreme violence.
Unlike the embittered cries for an aggressive response, seen as recently as the Charlie Hebdo killings in Paris this January, it seems the public and, in some respects, media sentiment has shifted.
Having watched waves of coverage, from the heart breaking and empowering to the ugly and misguided, the common theme is now far more weighted toward thought before action. Yes, there are the traditional “we shall not be moved” acts of stiff upper lip solidarity across major locations, sporting events and on the streets of Paris itself - but the wording has changed.
It feels, at least to me, that rather than just saying we’re united with Paris and dedicated to stopping the hatred, we finally mean it. Perhaps through weariness, despair or a feeling that the old ways don’t work, people seem genuinely focused on new ways to bring about change over pre-programmed lashing out.
Whether it’s opening new dialogues, thinking differently, fighting fire with flowers or literally laughing in the face of this global adversary, fewer people outside of government buildings are talking about retaliation with the same fervour.
Perhaps it’s those attacked: the young, free and innocent.
Maybe it’s the location: the café window of modern culture shot through with non-conformist foam and shavings of defiance.
It feels different now.
Below I have gathered a handful of videos that I hope sum up the range of sentiment I’ve seen that has lead me to this opinion. Similar to the fallout from previous global outrages but with a new glow of optimism.
Presidents and prime ministers talk of proportionate response and tactical strikes. Donald Trump can question why we shouldn’t all be armed in case this happens again. We have the luxury, as plain old Joes without an electorate to answer to, of being able to take a step back. To understand and analyse.
Call me a hippy. Call me soft. Tell me this is just what the media wants me to see or what I want to hear. That’s fine. It’s all subjective.
However, a world that contains more hope-filled hearts and flexible minds can never be a bad thing. Especially when that's exactly what's at stake.
Warning - Video below is NSFW.
This final video wouldn't embed here but is probably one of the most important. A young man subject to the full horror of the attacks in Paris promoting peace and harmony no more than a couple of days later: http://bbc.in/1QsCbN9