Rabat - Two weeks after the attacks that killed 130 people, mostly youth, France honors them by holding a commemoration service in central Paris.
Rabat – Two weeks after the attacks that killed 130 people, mostly youth, France honors them by holding a commemoration service in central Paris.
At the Hotel des Invalides courtyard – where France’s most famous leader is buried (Napoleon) – the highest possible tribute was made to the victims of the November 13 attacks that also injured more than 350 people.
French president Francois Hollande gave a speech which was followed by a minute’s silence after which, the names of all the victims read out.
In his speech, Hollande said France would “do all it can to destroy this army of fanatics”. And ”It will operate relentlessly to protect its children.”
“These men and women were the youth of France, the youth of a free nation that cherishes culture. The attack of November 13 will remain in the memory of today’s youth as a terrible introduction to the hardness of the world, but also as an invitation to confront it,” Hollande said.
He also vowed France would respond with more music, concerts and sporting events, after some of the attacks targeted a concert venue and a stadium.
Among the officials, ambassadors, parliamentarians, more than half of the 2,000 or so present were relatives of those killed or wounded.
However, three families are known to have indicated publicly that they would not attend the ceremony.
“Mr. President, distinguished politicians. Your outstretched hand, your honor, we do not want it”, a family member of one victim wrote on their Facebook wall, reports Le Monde.
Holding the government partially “responsible for what happened,” the sibling member continued by indicating the French government did not do enough after the attacks in early January 2015. More than 17 victims died in the Charlie Hebdo shootings and the terror attacks at the supermarket that ensued.
The journalist father of 17-year-old victim killed at the Bataclan, Lola Ouzounian, deplored “the disastrous politics of France in the Middle East [over the course of last] several years”, as an identifying factor in the attacks.
Considering the state largely responsible he continued by pointing political strategies deployed by French leaders in Libya and Syria led to a rise in tension in the country.
Citing the poor town planning where ghetto-like suburbs were allowed to flourish he said: “For several decades, the Republic has allowed to develop areas of despair, the philosopher Jean-Paul Dollé called with the accuracy that characterized him: “The territory of nothing.”
“Inhuman town planning, without amenities, culture, without schools with resources to match the stakes, in which no sense humanist and citizen can not hatch. ‘Shared Cities’, ‘Sensitive Areas’, the words have changed but the problem remains and political staff has always treated with indifference. [and] today continues forty years of failure.”
Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the massacre where attackers armed with assault rifles and suicide belts targeted a number of sites in the French capital.
The ministry of Defence said it is extremely rare to honor civilians at teh Hotel des Invalides as it has ceremonies in the courtyard are usually reserved for the high rank in the Legion of Honor.
But the president was adamant about the location “Because of the very solemn nature of this courtyard and what it represents in the collective memory.”