UK press united in condemning Paris attacks, urges solidarity

Updated: 2015-11-16 22:27

By Chris Peterson(

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UK press united in condemning Paris attacks, urges solidarity

A man waves a French flag as several hundred people gather to observe a minute of silence in Lyon, France, November 16, 2015, to pay tribute to the victims of the series of deadly attacks in Paris on Friday. [Photo/Agencies]

Britain's newspapers, so often mirrors of the love-hate this country has with France, united in their condemnation of Friday night's murderous terror attacks in Paris, and vowed to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with France in the fight against terrorism.

The Guardian in its editorial said that amidst the grief, France, Britain and other western countries should "defend the values that define us."

"The survivors, the injured, the entire French people, already wounded by the lethal attacks in January (on Charlie Hebdo), are reeling from the shock. In their loss, in their pain, we are with them...not for nothing did Francois Hollande speak of confrontation with the ISIS army.

"And even if ISIS did mean this night of slaughter to be a declaration of war, that does not mean France - or the rest of the world - needs to return the compliment," the newspaper wrote.

"To declare war against ISIS is to flatter it, to grant it the dignity it craves. It accords it the status of a state, which ISIS claims for itself but does not deserve," the editorial said.

Referring to international talks in Syria, the Guardian said: "We urge all governments to seize that moment - for the sake of Syria, for the sake of the innocent dead of Paris, for the sake of our common future."

The normally left-leaning Independent took a tougher line.

"President Francois Hollande used the phrase 'an act of war,' on Saturday, but this time he was, standing together is a simple necessity.

"If Paris's 129 dead spur the diplomats at Vienna's conference on the Syrian Civil war into bringing ISIS's enemies together in a coordinated response, their deaths will not have been in vain.," the Independent said.

The Daily Telegraph pointed out that, as in the July 2005 attacks in London, some of the perpetrators of the Paris outrage were French, of Algerian descent.

"A particular worry is the borderless Schengen area in Europe," the Telegraph said, adding that the idealism of free movement which mean a border-free Europe now looked "particularly naïve."

"If the Schengen area collapses, then so does a key pillar of the post-Maastricht (European) union," the newspaper wrote.

"But the EU elites are desperate to shore up the Schengen area. The only way (to stop it collapsing) is to turn the EU into a fortress. After Paris, there may be little option. But as we found in London 10 years ago, the enemy is not always outside the border," it said.

The Financial Times said: "The immediate reaction of the civilised world must be: collective courage in the face of such outrage; heightened vigilance and intelligence-sharing; a targeted military response; and international solidarity with the French people.

Whilst it dismissed what it called Poland's 'ugly' linkage of the Paris attacks to Europe's migration policy, it said tighter border controls must be on the table.

"This is a time for further engagement with the world's most troubled regions, rather than for a fearful retreat," the FT said.

The Times of London, under the headline "Nous Sommes Tous Francais" (We are all French), said the atrocities committed by ISIS against civilians in Paris "demand a thoughtful, sober and ruthless response. Coexistence with theocratic fanaticism is impossible.

"Not only should airstrikes continue and be sustained, but special forces need to be embedded on the ground in the Iraqi security forces, with the Kurds, and with the Free Syrian Army when they go into battle.

"By working with local proxies, just as the US surge in Iraq helped to turn Sunni tribes against al-Qaeda, western democracies stand a chance of turning the tide," the Times said.

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