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British Police

Terrorism : Should we be Scared ?

By Matthieu Boisseau

Last Tuesday, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs warned all French nationals travelling to Britain “to be extremely vigilant on public transport and when visiting popular tourist sites”, explaining that these were now at very high risk of terrorist attacks. It is worth pointing out that the British Foreign Office also mentioned that travel advice for France and Germany had been updated on its website, adding that these countries had high threats of terrorism similar to other large European nations.

These alerts complete a series of travel advice for citizens going to Europe, initiated by Washington, which stated that al Qaeda might well be planning to target transport infrastructure. By now, Japan and Sweden have warned their citizens of possible attacks on the old continent. Last week, Western intelligence foiled commando attacks in France, with anti-terrorism operations resulting in the arrest of 12 people in Bordeaux, Marseille and Avignon, and the seizing of weapons and ammunitions. Further to theses events, the British Home Secretary Theresa May said on Sunday that “Our threat level remains at 'severe', meaning that an attack is highly “likely”.
However, one could argue that such a sudden fear of potential terrorist attacks is not genuine, and that it is purely linked to the troubles European governments are currently facing. Are French ministers trying to make citizens forget Woerthgate and the pension reform? Is David Cameron intending to hide his belt-tightening policy? Is it possible that countries which simultaneously warn their citizens about risks in other countries may be simply trying to weaken the political stability, tourism and growth of their economic rivals?
It would appear that despite all this, our day-to-day life has not been affected by the latest warnings. Is it possible that governments have shouted ‘wolf’ too often and that the public has become rather blasé? Are we running the risk of becoming too cynical about this? In other words, should the way that politicians deal with the terrorist threat inspire distrust in us or should we be taking them seriously ?
Have Paris and London really become more dangerous than they have been in the past? The United Kingdom has been recently targeted ( the 7 July 2005 London bombings caused 52 fatalities), and its military intervention in Iraq has made the terrorist threat permanent. On the other hand, France could be considered as more likely to be hit by terrorism. Although France has not been attacked for more than 15 years, the political debate has become much harsher and tougher because of the tightening of immigration laws, and the ban of the burqa.  Perhaps both countries are equally at risk ....but why should we stop living because of it ?


08/10/2010 - s1monburgess said :

I'm thousnds of times more likely to die in a car accident than I am in a terrorist attack; so I won't be getting hysterical about Al Qaeda nor the Real IRA.

If they start changing your way of life, then they've already won. It's bad enough I can't take my bottle of water on the plane because of those fools.


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