The plight of Generation Bataclan

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The plight of Generation Bataclan

On a peaceful Friday evening, more than 100 young concertgoers were killed by heavily armed terrorists in Paris. The Bataclan concert hall, where K-pop group Block B performed earlier this year, became the most tragic site in the series of terrorist attacks in Paris. The French daily Liberation called it “carnage,” and Le Parisien declared, “This time it’s war.” The terrorist act was the worst form of barbaric attacks, inflicting carnage on innocent civilians, not armed forces.

This ruthless barbarism was clear terrorism, a violent response to France’s tolerance of Muslim immigrants. The underlying tactic is to win over immigrants by using their desperation and frustration when European countries start to resist accepting immigrants.

But it is strange that some people actually blame Western imperialism rather than condemn the brutal terrorism. University of Oslo Prof. Pak Noja claimed that if European nations retract their aggression policy, they can build peaceful and stable relationships with all political entities in the Middle East, including the Islamic State (ISIS), and our goal is to pressure the leaders of the countries Korea has relationships with to withdraw their aggression. Journalist Ko Jong-seok, who served as a Paris correspondent for a major newspaper in Korea, said the U.S.-led Iraq war produced the monster of ISIS, and President George W. Bush was clearly a war criminal. They seem to think that Western society provided all the causes of terrorism.

Right after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, Newsweek called the young generation who experienced the tragedy the “September 11 generation.” The crowds who rejoiced and waved the Stars and Stripes in front of the White House upon learning of the death of Osama bin Laden were young Americans in their 20s. The young people who were criticized for being indifferent to social issues enlisted themselves, bolstering America’s security for the next decade. A similar sentiment was inspired among Koreans in their 20s after the 2010 Yeonpyeong Island shelling.

The Liberation newspaper described the young people who had witnessed the terrorist attacks in Paris as “Generation Bataclan.” The generation that experienced terrorism cannot be the same ever again. As a part of the U.S.-led allied forces operating in Iraq and Syria, Korea cannot be completely free from terrorism. The threat is not distant. When Seoul is under threat, I wonder if anyone will still blame Western imperialism.

The author is the planning editor of the JoongAng Sunday.

JoongAng Ilbo, Nov. 17, Page 35

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