Let’s talk about France.
As I type, 170 people have been taken hostage in a Mali hotel by ISIS gunmen and French soldiers are among those trying to regain control.
Meanwhile, back in Paris the authorities have brought another body out of the Saint Denis house and in Brussels European leaders are talking about how to stop terrorists getting into the continent at its external borders.
It’s kind of like the cool kid in school dealing with a jumped-up oik from a lower class. I like that attitude
More than 350 people are still fighting for their lives after the Paris attacks, or are beginning the long road to recovery from being injured.
I cannot predict the outcome of the hotel siege, but I hope by the time you read this no more innocent people will have been killed.
Personally, I’ve kept out of the discussion about what we should do in response to these attacks, mainly because I am struggling to work out what the ‘right’ answer is to the question of revenge.
So instead — and bear with me — I’m going to talk about wine.
The front page of Charlie Hebdo, issued just two days after the Paris attack, was defiant. It said: “They have weapons. **** them, we have Champagne!”
It’s had a mixed reaction in France, but I like it. It’s dismissive, it shows a country whose national identity won’t be affected by terrorism – and it has an extra poignance because of the Charlie Hebdo attack in January.
It’s kind of like the cool kid in school dealing with a jumped-up oik from a lower class. I like that attitude.
So perhaps I was hasty when I said I didn’t know what the answer is. Perhaps it’s having this attitude — the same attitude that allowed the French to mark Beaujolais Nouveau Day last Thursday as they do every year, whether in keen anticipation of the new wine or with cynical resignation about the annual marketing stunt.
It’s the same attitude that has French president Francois Hollande calling ISIS by the name it hates: Daesh.
Sure, sticks and stones might break our bones, but we probably all know what it feels like to be called a name you hate. It’s a special kind of frustration. So let’s behave like the French: glug some wine and get on with living.