The recent horrific terror bombings in Beirut and Paris are the latest reminders that the scourge of terrorism is not only as old as organized human society, but that it is more ubiquitous and more lethal in a globalized world. The streets of Paris have witnessed and experienced numerous acts of terror, from the ‘secular’ terror of the anarchists of the 19th century to the ‘sacred’ terror of al-Qaeda as recently as January with the Charlie Hebdo attacks. But if the Friday evening massacre which at this writing has claimed more than 200 lives is the work of the Islamic State ISIS, or al-Qaeda it will have the ugly distinction of being the worst apocalyptic terror that has visited a western city since the 9/11 attacks in the United States. There is no science of the future, but we can extrapolate from history’s facts and trends and project into the future, though not with absolute certainty, that as long as there men and women driven by irreconcilable impulses, whether cloaked in religious garb, historic or political grievances and willing to sacrifice their lives to win, terrorism - with its astonishing changing mutations- will remain with us as the integral dark side of civilization.
It is a sign of the times, that a handful of determined terrorists can paralyze a major European capitalHisham Melhem