By Matt Ward
Another day, another devastating terrorist attack in France. Even now, before the dust has settled on yet another scene of mass slaughter, many on the left or clamouring to claim these incidents as isolated, sporadic and unpredictable attacks. French history reveals an entirely different reality.
The ugly truth is that France is sinking into a quagmire of radical Islamism and has a history of mass terrorist attacks because of it. This latest attack, though horrific, is not a new thing to the French people. In the last eighteen months alone France has been rocked to the core by three major terrorist attacks. Each attack killed many innocent French people.
The ugly truth is that France as a nation is blighted by Islamic terror, and this latest attack will by no means be its last.
In July 2003, again in Nice, there was a twin bombing of regional directorates of customs and treasury offices. No one was killed.
On 8th October, 2004, the Indonesian Embassy in Paris was hit by a bomb blast. Responsibility was claimed by the French Armed Islamic Front.
From 11th to 22nd March, 2012, four people including three children were killed at the Ozar Hatorah Jewish School by Mohammed Merah. Merah converted to radical Islam whilst inside prison. A few days before this attack, Merah had killed two uniformed soldiers and shot a paratrooper dead.
Three days after this Jewish School attack, a copycat stabbed a French soldier to death. This was three days after British soldier Lee Rigby was run over, stabbed multiple times and then beheaded on a busy London street in broad daylight. This was in front of a crowd of hundreds.
On 20th December, 2014 three police officers were injured by a man claiming association with Islamist terror groups in the Middle East.
On 21st December, 2014, the next day, a man drove his car into eleven pedestrians shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he drove.
The next day again, on 22nd December, 2014 another man, again yelling “Allahu Akbar” ran over ten pedestrians with his van before attempting suicide.
Between 7th to 9th January 2015 French newspaper Charlie Hebdo was attacked. By the time this incident drew to a close 12 people were dead. The subsequent attacks on a Jewish Hypercacher Kosher Market also resulted in another four innocent people being killed.
On 3rd February, 2015, Nice was once again attacked, this time with no fatalities.
On 19th April, 2015 one woman was killed on the outskirts of Paris.
On 26th June, 2015 at a gas factory, the owner was decapitated by a man with documented Islamist sympathy’s.
On 21st August, 2015 three Americans and a Briton thwarted a potentially deadly attack by armed gunmen on the Thalys train line. The Americans and the Briton were decorated by the French President for their outstanding bravery and courage.
On 13th November, 2015, Islamic State fighters launched a series of highly co-ordinated attacks inside the French capital that left 130 people dead. Two suicide bombers blew themselves up outside the Stade de France whilst others attacked two restaurants in the city. Dozens were killed. The majority of the victims were killed at the Bataclan concert hall over the next few hours. By the end of the evening hundreds were dead and many more were seriously injured.
Which then brings us to last night, the evening of July 14th, 2016 on the French Mediterranean.
It brings us to Bastille Day, a public holiday in France, when many families were out watching the celebration fireworks. It brings us to a promenade in Nice, packed with throngs of happy people celebrating and commemorating a day that embodies the best of French revolutionary freedom.
How sickly ironic that it would be on this day, when freedom is celebrated, that France is yet again attacked by those who wish to take freedom from them.
It was on this promenade, celebrating this freedom, a promenade full of men, women and children that a terrorist decided to drive an articulated truck, at speed, one mile down the side walk and mow down men, women and children by the hundreds.
Zig-Zagging to and fro to make sure he hit as many dazed and confused families as he could, he has brought sheer carnage to the French Mediterranean.
At this early point at least 84 people are dead, with many others injured. A significant number of these are critically injured and will yet lose their lives. Eventually shot dead by police, next to the terrorist responsible were guns, ammunition and lots of grenades. He was planning a wholescale massacre of unsuspecting innocents.
Today the injured and the bereaved from this monstrous attack will begin the long process of taking stock of their lives in light of their new found reality. Lives devastated, survivors are now left without husbands, wives or precious children. After the shock has subsided, the long and painful grieving process will begin.
The scars of this heinous act will long outlast the public interest or remembrance of it. It will be a lifelong burden victims will have to carry.
And tomorrow, for us in the West, nothing will have changed. The same terror that caused this atrocity and all others like it in France, Britain, Belgium, Spain, The United States of America, and everywhere else on the face of this earth blighted by Islamic terror, will still be there, waiting for its next opportunity to reap destruction, fear and senseless suffering.
It’s not a question of if this will happen anymore, but when, where and how bad will it be next time? It’s also a question of how long and how many innocent will have to die before our governments acknowledge that we are at war with this kind of terror?
The same evil that drives men and women to attack and kill innocent people remains thoroughly entrenched within all our Western societies. Whilst people with no understanding speak loudly of the need for moderation in language and tone and of the need for patience in the face of such horror, those who would perpetrate future atrocities wait quietly and prepare.
Contrary to the opinion of US Attorney General Loretta Lynch, I don’t think that love is going to win these people over. They see our patience and reserved responses in only one black and white way: weakness.
While these politicians and leaders, those entrusted with our care, dither and bluster in the face of this threat, our nation’s enemies wait for their next opportunity to strike and kill the innocent amongst us.
Tomorrow nothing will have changed.
This terrorist blighted present reality is a future that we should all get used to. This terrorist evil will be one that blights all of our collective futures indefinitely. We will live with it and our children will grow up with it. The threat of Islamic terrorism is not going to dissipate or diminish, it’s only going to become more pronounced and more frequently occurring. Like a shadow hanging over us, this threat will not go away.
As we approach the tribulation period, the horrors of Islamic terrorism will increase in intensity. This world, as we hurtle towards that final hour, is going to be increasingly characterised by horror. The atrocities of Nice last night and before that Paris, Orlando, St. Bernardino, Madrid, Brussels and London are already becoming normal and everyday occurrences. These things are becoming so regular and frequent now that they don’t even shock us anymore.
In a human sense there is no hope. This world is irrevocably broken and there will be no human solution to these issues, no permanent peace plan that will work. As this world degenerates and people become more frantic, the desire for leadership amidst the chaos will increase. We all should know where that will end.
But there will be no real and lasting peace until Jesus comes again. There will be no end to the senseless killings and the slaughter of innocents until the Prince of Peace himself comes to take control.
These days, our days, are the days of sorrows, with the distress of nations and all the perplexity that goes with it.
There is one hope and that hope is found only in Jesus Christ. For those of us who cling to the name of Jesus we look forward to and long for that future Blessed Hope, even amidst such chaos and horror. For the rest of humanity who do not have this salvation, there is only hopelessness and despair. That is why our role as servants of the King in taking his message of redemption, forgiveness and salvation to all who do not yet believe is so crucial. It is so very important.
Jesus alone will bring this chaos to an end. He alone will bring an end to the killing and the carnage. He alone will mend those with shattered hearts and heal those broken by grief. There is no other hope outside of Jesus, for salvation or for this world.
Our broken creation groans and longs for Jesus to return. As do I.
May that day come quickly, and may the Lord strengthen and comfort those this day whose lives have been ripped apart by this and other senseless acts of evil in this world.