After the tragic events in Paris on Friday evening, we Europeans were all under shock. From Italy to Sweden, from Greece to Portugal, we grieved and lightened candles and prayed. We all knew that Paris was a symbolic place (how powerful): the attack was brought against our core values, the values of a democratic, liberal society, based on the rule of law and the respect of fundamental rights, free, multicultural, sexually-liberated, open.
The freedom of speech, of religion, of circulation are suddenly at risk and we know that we have to fight a new kind of struggle (of war, if you want) – totally different from the previous ones – the war to keep our societies open, because if we react in the old-fashioned style with closure and protectionism and hate, if we step back from liberty of speech and religion, the enemy has already won.
It’s not an easy task. The immigration emergency, the rise of populism and the risk of extreme right political parties taking advantage of what has happened is definitely high. The point is that our states have partially failed in making us feel safe and, at the same time, open. We can observe decaying national identities as here and there states failed the challenge of integration; moreover the worsening of economic conditions favored urban subcultures and rebellions of the excluded ones. Jihadists grown up and living in Europe are a very bad symptom of our societies’ health status.
We must roll up our sleeves and rebuild trust in our values, which are the very fabric of our identity.
We felt all Europeans after the Paris tragedy, we recalled what makes us stand together against terror, let’s start from there. Let’s work on our European identity, which shouldn’t surface only in the bad moments, but help us overcome the failure of states with its motto “united in diversity”, able to comprise all of our populations, all of the honest migrants who came here for a better living and are ready and willing to respect our values.
Of course, any reaction, military, political and diplomatic should be likewise European. To be as symbolic and significant as the aberrant acts which injured Paris, heart of Europe.