International student speaks on Paris attacks

Kellie Bowen, Staff Writer

A Linfield international student expressed his opinions, emotions and facts about his home country, France, which was attacked by members of ISIS on Nov. 13, in Walker hall on Nov. 17.

Some Linfield students in the room recognized Clément Hossaert as the person who played the flamboyant character of Stephano in the recent Linfield play, “The Tempest.”

Clément Hossaert kicked off the meeting with the clear facts we are familiar with: about 130 casualties, hundreds injured; no military bases were targeted but a concert hall, the Bataclan, a stadium and cafes. Hossaert said that these places are “specifically where people go out to experience the everyday occurrences of the bonding community led by beatific ideals such as the believe in sports … the love of music and theater, and the rhythm of speech, of drinking, of smoking, and engaging in all sorts of relationships.”

He informed the group that the President of France, François Hollande, told Congress only hours before this meeting that he’s expanding the state of emergency for three months. This means continuous arrests and suspicions of not only Syrian refugees, but French people as well. As of now, there is no way anyone would be able to tell who are and who are not terrorists in the crowd.

Hossaert said that France is uniting despite the fact that it is “vital to disagree” in French culture as a way of interacting with one another. Paris is a symbol of the beating heart of France, and the blood that courses through its chambers are the people. Hossaert described the people of France as a collection of creative minds that brings in the idea of their unique national togetherness.

Hossaert’s personal opinions on the attacks on Paris began to emerge. “The objective of these terrorist attacks was not only to scare us and divide us, but also to destroy the French Muslim community,” Hossaert stressed. “That is my opinion and I will stand by it.”

He continued to flesh out this criticism. “ISIS wants Islamic people to be the target of our fears and a supposedly righteous vengeance because they seek to feel their rank was their spread to other soldiers. What ISIS doesn’t get, and what some European and American people don’t get either is that ISIS is not an Islamic entity. I cannot stress that enough,” Hossaert said.

Hossaert gave his opinion of the launch of airstrikes in Syria. “At this moment we are simply numb and incapable of being aware if that was a good solution or not. [We are not sure] if any measures we try to take right now are the good one or the bad one.”

At the end of his speech, he recited a poem he translated into English by Louis Aragon that was written right after the Liberation of Paris “as a small token of what it means to be part of France, of a certain idea, of humanity.”

Professor of Political Science Dawn Nowacki noted, “I saw that the French want to put limits on the Schengen Agreement, which is a law so that people can pass freely without showing their passport.” According to Hossaert, the Agreement was effective in 1995.

Hossaert expanded on this topic by saying, “We found Syrian passports. It is believed … that they might be false passports. And it’s also heartbreaking, but a lot of terrorists come from France.” Since 2014, France has had more than 1,300 people go to Syria to train and attack their own country, he continued.

However, refugee camps in Hossaert’s home town, Dunkerque, waved signs in support for Paris and in horror of the tragedies. “Indeed we should welcome them. Indeed we should carry on,” he said as part of his ideals and earlier opinions. However, France is “actually not prepared to welcome them as they should,” Hossaert said.

“There are so many millions of [refugees], and there haven’t been … terrorist activities. … Some of them might be these radicalized people that take the chance to come over, but the job of the security force is to figure that out. And why it takes so long to screen them in, but they don’t have enough resources to do that. That’s kind of the problem.”

The meeting closed with addressing using the flag on Facebook profile pictures. Hossaert said it could be a way to follow the crowd, use it as an emotional response or “a need to express support.” Either way, he views it as a mark of affection, and he appreciates the Facebook profile flag very much.

“I put my political, ideological and critical thinking aside because I felt, ‘Let’s have a moment. Let it sink in because it’s not now that I’m going to be efficient about my thinking. … But I must remember to turn it on after [mourning],” Hossaert concluded.