When Billions Of Euros Can’t Take Few Terrorists Down

Isabel Espanol for Le MondeWhen the plane carrying, ironically, rescue team members crashed in Apuseni mountains a year ago and 5 people out of 7 aboard were left to die without any sign of official salvage intervention, many of us pointed to the government as guilty. Hours later, investigations took by storm the SMURD service (the Medical Emergency Service), the Internal Affairs and Defense Ministries. Not even then Ministry of Finance was spared. Then, few months later, another crash: a helicopter also carrying emergency rescue team members plunged in the cold waters of a lake near the Black Sea. They drowned slowly, only a couple of hundred meters off the shore. What followed hasn’t left anyone with the feeling that those who should have learned something out of the tragedies really did: we have the same rusty, rigid, useless disaster reaction system, procedures and spirit which could easily left one in the cold. Literally. A system which is a part of what we call ‘the State’, the broader system which not only spreads out fear when it shows you the ‘pay your taxes’ bugaboo, but scares you to death when it should do the opposite.

The problem seems to be even greater in France and I’m afraid it’s not only her case: with all the national military parades show-offs, NATO joint exercises, a myriad of anti-terrorism conferences, strategies, with all the involvement at the highest level – political, diplomatic, economic and military – in solving global crises (such as Ukraine, war against ISIS, the eternal conflict in the Middle East and the crisis in Syria, just to name a few), with all the verbal and economic display of strength, with the whole muscle-inflating package that costs us trillions annually trying to appease the incredible military defense thirst, with all the counterintelligence and big data intel, we were but incapable to curb the 10 minute hell which cruelly devoured 12 men, a hell unleashed by three terrorists who are currently at large, taking the safety of a whole nation with them.

It’s all they needed: 10 minutes to spit some blood on the freedom of speech flag. They were left alone for ten minutes in the heart of Paris, which is incredible when one thinks of l’addition the French had to pay last year for the defense budget: 55 billion euros. Numbers seem even troubling in a different perspective: three misfits shook the whole system with three Kalashnikovs, 500 euros each.

Our world is far from balanced. Still, it seeks the balance at all costs. The media is not the place to look for balance, either. I worked for almost a decade and a half in the press: it can swallow you in seconds, with all the the fame, hard work, career and it can even take your life. Yet no matter how bad or good it is, you cannot wave your gun at the media. Nor the journalists. You cannot rewrite the freedom of speech rules with a bullet. We live the reason age.

The world and the press are two sad, cold and bloody places today. If we haven’t learned anything from the aircrafts crashes happened in our backyards, maybe France and the whole world can learn something from the tragedy today.

In the era of global strategies, we feel numb to relatively small problems. Think only the Ferguson murder and the terrorist attack in Paris as the most recent, not the last, unfortunately. With eyes to the greatness of the kingdom, the monarchs neglect their subjects, only to bewilder them.

Written by Rareș Petrișor (via push the button)
Illustration: Isabel Espanol for Le Monde.



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