From my article today for VOA:
“French President Francois Hollande appears as shaken as those he has tried to comfort one terror attack after another.
Following the slaying Monday by two jihadists of a beloved 86-year-old Catholic priest as he was celebrating Mass in a bucolic Norman village, the French leader insisted the war against terrorists will be waged with “absolute determination.” But Hollande, as well as the security services, appear to be fast losing the confidence of the French public.”
You can read the full version here.
This was the scene last night on the Rue de Charonne, one of the sites of the Islamic State terror attacks on Paris eight days ago. You can read my VOA dispatches from Paris the last few days by checking on the “Recent Articles” section of the Celleno blog.
Belgian authorities raised the terror alert level for Brussels today to the highest level, warning of a possible attack similar to the one in Paris that killed 130 people and wounded 351 eight days ago.
Prime Minister Charles Michel said the alert level was raised to category 4 in response to “quite precise information about the risk of an attack like the one that happened in Paris.”
Worth reading my piece Friday on the shortcomings of the Belgian security and intelligence services.
“The Belgian government admitted this week it had lost control of a rundown Brussels district linked to a series of terror attacks in Belgium and neighboring France, including those last Friday in Paris.
But while the government has promised to ‘clean up’ the Molenbeek neighborhood, that will be a tall order for the country’s demoralized and fractious security services.
And Molenbeek, where at least three of the Paris attackers lived, isn’t the only problematic neighborhood.
‘There are several other neighborhoods and towns in Belgium exhibiting the same high levels of radicalization,’ warned Roberta Bonazzi of the Counter-Extremism Project, a nonprofit policy organization.”
You can read the full VOA story here.
Below are lines from the poem “The Journey Beyond” by Ghanaian poet (and diplomat) Kofi Awoonor, who died from wounds sustained at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi at the hands of jihadists.
The howling cry through door posts
carrying boiling pots
ready for the feasters.
Kutsiami the benevolent boatman;
when I come to the river shore
please ferry me across
I do not have tied in my cloth the
price of your stewardship.