Europe Must Learn from Russian Struggle Against Islamic Terror

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The savage attacks in Paris has the world in sympathy and rage. At least 128 people were killed in the Paris and Saint-Denis shootings and bombings on November 13, 2015.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been unequivocal in his response about “barbarity” of terrorists which poses “a threat to whole humanity.” He offered his condolences, condemned the “hateful” and “inhumane” murders and offered full support of Russian state to French Republic in fighting the scourge of terrorism.
This is the right sentiment and tone for this very sad moment. In a moment like this one must allow grief to be felt for the victims and compassion and solidarity to be expressed. Those who do not feel either sadness of grief for the victims and feel they must score a political point should rather be silent till we all have mourned this senseless and brutal slaughter of the innocent.

The rage we feel must be directed at perpetrators – the individuals that carried out the attack and not against any community or religion, and certainly not at the policies of any government or politicians.

Through humane and compassionate thoughts at this time, we can help the healing process. Healing the shattered families, great city of Paris and French nation will be a huge challenge. We can help that process by being unequivocal, without any qualifications, in offering our sympathy and support to France and the French.

In this hour, thinking kind and supportive thoughts for the victims is a test of our humanity. We are capable of taking a deep breath and feeling sorrow for those who perished and loved ones they have left behind.

This is not a time for rage against western policies or politics. Vladimir Putin’s tone is just right – leadership and humanity is about finding compassion even though one has not received any kindness when faced with adversity.

Putin was first foreign leader to call George Bush and offer his sympathy and join in fight against terrorism after 9/11. He must feel, as we do, sadness at the absence of any sympathy or support from western governments when Russians were being slaughtered in Nord Ost Theater, Beslan Primary School and Moscow Metro.

But we must set aside our hurt and our perceptions of western actions today – and simply focus on fighting the greater evil. Putin’s offer for fighting terrorism together has real meaning for Europe.

Russia has overcome a decade of violent insurgency in Chechnya in which thousands of Jihadis took to most vile and barbarous means to mass-murder Russians. Today there is peace and prosperity in Chechnya and terrorism has been checked. Russia is a beacon of multiculturalism and federalism and Moscow is the most diverse and multi-ethnic capital in Europe.

France and Europe will be tested now like never before, fighting an evil that has settled like a tumor within Europe. For a decade Russia was at the forefront of Islamic terror that it fought alone without support or sympathy just as it took the brunt of Nazism alone for four years. But nothing diminishes Russian love for France and French civilization. Vladimir Putin never stops referring to the French and indeed, the Americans, as partners.

But Europe must understand that Russian triumph over barbarians is equally rooted in courage and military competence on one hand, and compassion, empathy and forgiveness on the other.

France and Europe now face evil in the eye – this war cannot be won by military means alone. It is necessary to crush the terrorists – but it is also important to feel in equal measure compassion for the victims of terrorism – victims of bullets as well as millions of ordinary and silent victims of extremism within the communities these terrorists come from.

A great test awaits France now. France must deal with terrorists mercilessly and efficiently. Wherever they are, they must be found and destroyed. There can be no hesitation, no mercy in carrying out a relentless attack on terror cells.

Russian strength in dealing with terrorism was rooted in a new commitment to democracy and federalism. In France those roots go deep. But Russia is also rooted in respect for other cultures and an ability to cohabit with diverse religious and ethnic groups. No one should think that French republic is weak – Liberté, égalité, fraternité are France’s strength.

The evil that struck Paris on 13th November is common enemy of all humanity. The front line is in France today so all we can do, we must do, is offer our love, solidarity and brotherhood to the French. And send a kiss of love in its general direction.

by Ajay Goyal

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