On November 13th 2015, the City of Lights became dark. Awash with grief, shock and terror, the world watched in horror as Paris fell victim to its worst attack since World War II.
In a meticulously coordinated serious of terrorist attacks, the capital of France witnessed the death of 130 people at the hands of Islamic State militants. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), commonly referred to as Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), claimed responsibly for the attacks. Three suicide bombings shook the city. One explosion erupted outside the Stade de France during a France versus Germany friendly football match. Across the capital, four mass shootings targeted families and friends enjoying an evening of food, wine and laughter. No one could have predicted the ensuing massacre of the innocent.
The Bataclan Theatre served as the arena for the massacre of eighty-nine victims. Terrified fans of the band Eagles of Death Metal ran for their lives, some climbing out of windows, others refusing to abandon their loved ones, as the attackers calmly and brutally opened fire at the audience. Engaging in a three-hour stand-off with Parisian police, it became clear that force was the only way to suppress the attackers. Whilst seven of the attackers died on the night of the 13th, several accomplices have since lost their lives for the cause they fought so bitterly for.
Islamic State militants orchestrated the series of attacks through a network of terrorist cells situated in Syria and Belgium. Their justification for the onslaught lies in the French involvement in the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars. President Hollande has declared the attacks ‘an act of war’ and across the world, countries have raised terror alerts and enforced security measures in an attempt to prevent future attacks.
As France mourned the loss of its loved ones, the outside world united to show their support for the country. Capital cities across the globe shone as their great monuments projected the colours of the French flag. From Rio de Janeiro to the Sydney Opera House, the sign of respect and union was unmissable. Social media erupted in a flash of blue, white and red as millions of citizens across the world responded to the events of just one evening.
As the festive season takes hold it is easy to be swept away in the tide of joyous celebration. We at the Manchester Historian offer our thoughts and wishes to those in Paris and share our support for the people of France. We would like to remind our readers to take a moment to remember those unable to celebrate the festivities with their loved ones in the tragic aftermath of the Paris Attacks.