The Past week has been a truly defining moment for the French people. We have seen the savagery of man, from men who so cowardly, so cravenly, decided to attack foreigners, and French alike. The first attack which occurred in Paris was one of unimaginable proportions. With the largest amounts of death for France, in France, since World War Two. The second attack came a week later in Mali leaving at least twenty six dead, among them French and Americans citizens. Yes, this is no doubt, as Francois Hollande said a “declaration of war” against the French people. France, America’s longest ally, has never been one to back away from the tyranny of evil, and this time is no less. The reaction was swift. After the Paris attacks, President Hollande immediately dispatched a aircraft carrier that would summarily pound ISIS’ capital of Raqqa. The French who have often faced adversity, and have always risen to the occasion, did not disappoint. There were actions immediately taken by the French government to muster the international will of the U.N. Security Council to enact anti-terrorism resolutions. Then we saw even more of the French way of war as we watched the country debate the rules upon which the state of emergency would last. Because there is no victory if the attacks were to change the heart and soul of the French people, this heart and soul is made up of much of what America’s foundations rest upon; égalité, fraternité, and liberté.
For some this would have been enough, but the French, ever resourceful, longed for something more, a more pure expression of the ideals which they hold true. Hollande sprung into action. He immediately began to bring together enemies as old and as bitter as the United States, and Russia, and sought the cooperation between the three (and many more as well), in a sort of “Grand” alliance. This alliance Hollande spoke of, would rid the world of the ills of al-Qaeda, ISIS, and their entire ilk, by bringing together those who would dare to resist their licentiousness. However, alas, it was not to be. If ever there were a time when a country’s will was deemed to be too noble, too grand, too ambitious, perhaps too, the French have shown the world a country of such a spirit, at such a time.
Had it been easy, perhaps it would have come to pass already. And though now the French have shown the caliber to own such ideas within their republic, the “French way” if we are all lucky, may have lost the battle, but they shall surely win the war. The way that the French people think, and act on the world stage, may be peculiar to themselves. But the longing, yes, the yearning by all for a free and prosperous world, is felt by the masses of the entire world. However, it took the French to elucidate it, to express it, so clearly and succinctly, that they almost willed it into being, simply by being alone. This is no small fact and it is owed to the will and testament of many a French soldier, philosopher, statesman, and citizen, who live, and strive for such high excellence every day.
If there is one word that would sum up the actions of the French throughout this week it would be strength. Strength to know who the enemy really is and conduct itself with égalité, and juris prudence, strength to know how the enemy conducts its business and to strike them in the heart of where they are, strength to have the audacity to dream of high ideals like a fraternité of brotherhood that can defend it, and others whom are inflicted by circumstance, and the Strength to strive for the liberté of others while in pursuit of the greater good. If there was one word I could use to describe the French it would be strength; yes, strength.