Terrorist Attackby Senator Richard J. Durbin
Posted on 2015-01-07
DURBIN. Mr. President, throughout the history of the United
States of America, we have had a remarkable alliance with the nation of
France. It bears remembering and repeating that the French stood by our
side when America was fighting for its independence from Great Britain.
The French were honored in many ways for that alliance and help,
including, as I recall, a portrait of the Marquis de Lafayette which
hangs in the U.S. House of Representatives to this day.
That was not the only time by any means that the French have stood with us and we have stood by their side. It happened during World War I, World War II, and many times after that. Through the NATO alliance and in many other ways, we have worked with the people of France for common goals and common purpose, and that is why we were so saddened this morning to learn of the news that was reported by the Tribune: [[Page S30]] Masked gunmen shouting ``Allahu akbar!'' stormed the Paris offices of a satirical newspaper Wednesday, killing 12 people before escaping. It was France's deadliest terror attack in at least two decades.
With a manhunt on, French President Francois Hollande called the attack on the Charlie Hebdo weekly . . . ``a terrorist attack without a doubt.'' He said several other attacks have been thwarted in France ``in recent weeks.'' France raised its security alert to the highest level and reinforced protective measures at houses of worship, stores, media offices and transportation. Top government officials were holding an emergency meeting and Hollande planned a nationally televised address in the evening. Schools closed their doors.
World leaders including President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the attack, but supporters of the militant Islamic State group celebrated the slayings as well-deserved revenge against France.
This event in Paris recalls what we lived through not that long ago when the United States--on September 11, 2001--was attacked by terrorists and more than 3,000 innocent Americans lost their lives in New York, in Washington, and in the countryside of Pennsylvania. Many of us recall that at that moment--that sad, awful moment--people around the world rallied to stand with the United States in our grief and in our determination for justice. We particularly remember that the people of France did that, and they spoke out in one voice saying they were going to be by our side in this battle against terrorism. I think it is appropriate today that we follow suit, that we join in that same spirit. ``A ce moment tragique, nous sommes tous Parisiens, nous sommes tous Francais.'' Let us all work together not only to bring justice to this horrible situation--this attack on free press in France--but let us also work together to bring an end to terrorism in our time. We can work with our allies and friends in France to achieve that goal.