France de­fi­ant 1 year af­ter at­tacks killed 130

Fam­i­lies plead for unity as lib­er­ties en­croached upon

Baltimore Sun - - WORLD - By An­gela Charl­ton and Elaine Gan­ley

PARIS — France is a changed place since Is­lamic State ex­trem­ists killed 130 peo­ple in the coun­try’s dead­li­est at­tacks a year ago. Fear­ing it’s be­com­ing more di­vided, too, sur­vivors and vic­tims’ fam­i­lies marked Sun­day’s an­niver­sary of the vi­o­lence by plead­ing for na­tional unity in­stead.

Tourism is hurt­ing, armed forces roam streets and France is still un­der a state of emer­gency that rights groups call abu­sive and in­ef­fec­tive — and that the prime min­is­ter now says may be ex­tended yet again.

“We al­ways have this fear that weighs heav­ily in our hearts. We al­ways try to be care­ful. And ev­ery time we pass by here, we think of them,” said Sab­rina Ned­jadi, pay­ing re­spects Sun­day in her di­verse eastern Paris neigh­bor­hood tar­geted in the at­tacks.

At mid­day, hun­dreds of bal­loons were re­leased to honor the mem­o­ries of the vic­tims; at dusk, pa­per lanterns were re­leased into the Canal Saint Martin, bear­ing blue, white and red lights rep­re­sent­ing the French flag. On­look­ers, in­clud­ing many fam­i­lies with chil­dren, lined the canal and sur­round­ing bridges, watch­ing silently as the lanterns drifted.

Some fear that France it­self is adrift, its govern­ment un­able to de­feat the amor­phous ex­trem­ist en­emy even as au­thor­i­ties en­croach on lib­er­ties that the French hold dear.

While French war­planes are tar­get­ing Is­lamic State strongholds in Iraq and Syria, the state of emer­gency at Lanterns float in a Paris canal on Sun­day as France hon­ored the mem­o­ries of vic­tims of the 2015 ter­ror at­tacks. home al­lows broad­ened po­lice pow­ers to search homes and mon­i­tor com­mu­ni­ca­tions. But it could not pre­vent fur­ther at­tacks on France over the past year, in­clud­ing a truck ram­page in Nice by a man claim­ing al­le­giance to Is­lamic State. “Yes, ter­ror­ism will strike us again,” Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls warned this week­end

The In­ter­na­tional Fed­er­a­tion for Hu­man Rights warned in a re­cent re­port: “France is now in a sit­u­a­tion where an ‘ex­cep­tional’ regime is be­com­ing per­ma­nent, in the name of com­bat­ing ter­ror­ism. But there is lit­tle ev­i­dence that this ap­proach is work­ing and it comes at a cost to fun­da­men­tal rights.”

As si­lence de­scended Sun­day on Paris for a se­ries of com­mem­o­ra­tions, the son of the first vic­tim of the at­tacks spoke out for tol­er­ance in the face of hate.

Manuel Dias, an im­mi­grant from Por­tu­gal, was killed by a sui­cide bomber out­side the na­tional sta­dium dur­ing an in­ter­na­tional match Nov. 13, 2015.

Un­der heavy se­cu­rity, Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande un­veiled a plaque in his mem­ory Sun­day near the Stade de France.

Dias’ son Michael said his fa­ther was “liv­ing proof that in­te­gra­tion is pos­si­ble, nec­es­sary” to end such vio- lence.

Learn­ing to live again af­ter ex­trem­ists killed his fa­ther was “a per­sonal chal­lenge, but it con­cerns us all,” Dias said. “Long live tol­er­ance, long live in­tel­li­gence, long live France.”

Some peo­ple cried, oth­ers sim­ply lit can­dles or laid flow­ers at cer­e­monies Sun­day near the six bars and eater­ies where gun­men opened fire on un­sus­pect­ing crowds en­joy­ing an un­usu­ally mild Novem­ber Fri­day night.

Notre Dame Cathe­dral held a spe­cial com­mem­o­ra­tive Mass on Sun­day evening. Across the Seine River, mourn­ers, tourists and res­i­dents streamed to the Bat­a­clan con­cert hall, where 90 peo­ple were killed by three at­tack­ers who also took hostages. The con­cert hall re­opened Satur­day night with an emo­tional con­cert by St­ing.

Jesse Hughes of Ea­gles of Death Me­tal, the Cal­i­for­nia band whose con­cert that night ended in a blood­bath, paid re­spects at the Bat­a­clan cer­e­mony, plac­ing his hand on his heart as he de­parted.

Nine peo­ple re­main hos­pi­tal­ized from the at­tacks; oth­ers are par­a­lyzed. Hun­dreds are re­ceiv­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal treat­ment. Yet a sign posted near the Bat­a­clan, “Love for all, hate for no one,” cap­tures the sense of de­fi­ance shared by many.


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