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Ronald Crelinsten: The reality and rhetoric of 'war' on terrorism

January 16, 2015
Ottawa Citizen
Author: 
Ronald Crelinsten
Article Source: Read the Original Article

Last week’s terrible attacks in Paris, like most terrorist atrocities, have had an impact far beyond their immediate targets and victims. The massive rallies in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, and the Jewish and police victims, represent citizen resilience at its best, where the corrosive effects of fear and loathing hoped for by the terrorists is instead channeled into prosocial efforts that bridge the very divides that the terrorist tries to exploit.

It is in our perceptions of the evolving terrorist threat, and in our responses to these perceptions, where we will continue to see the greatest impact.

In an ironic twist, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls recently resurrected the term “war on terror” first coined by the Bush Administration in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Ironic because it was the French government which had mercilessly ridiculed the concept of being at war with terrorism. Americans, for their part, were contemptuous of the French, dumping French wine in the gutter and renaming their beloved French fries as “Freedom fries.”

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