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Paris and Beirut: humanity and solidarity must prevail

19 November 2015

In the aftermath of the deadly attacks in Paris and Beirut and the belligerent response taken by France reminiscent of the Bush administration after Sept. 11 2001, ECVC has issued a statement sharing its condolences for the victims and their families but also highlighting how these waves of violence are also the product of a European foreign policy concerned only on maximizing gains. Mention is also made of the security measures taken by the Holland administration, such as the limits on social protest for this coming COP21.

Paris and Beirut: humanity and solidarity must prevail Paris and Beirut: humanity and solidarity must prevail The random violence wrecking the world today once more struck Europe last week, and for the second time this year Paris was the target of indiscriminate fatal brutality. In the wake of these tragic attacks, the European Coordination Via Campesina wants to express its deep solidarity with the French people and profoundly condemns these horrendous acts of hate perpetrated against innocent civilians. The attacks in France, however, were merely the latest stop of a spree of bombings and attacks that the night prior to Paris targeted Beirut, killing 43 civilians, and a funeral in Baghdad some hours before that claimed 18 lives. In the midst of the tragedy, the events in France and Lebanon -as well as those in Turkey, Kenya, Syria, Palestine and everywhere innocent lives are lost- have to strengthen our conviction to fight for humanity and solidarity, principles systematically violated through wars but also through trade policies and corporations that progressively trivialize human life, with profits as their utmost priority. It is precisely in dreadful moments such as this one that civil society has to stay mobilized. Our solutions for another model of society, a better one, one that addresses the root causes of violence and war, are more urgent than ever. While we denounce these killings, ECVC also wants to warn against the belligerent response and discourse embraced by those in power. We demand rather, a serious reconsideration of European foreign policy. One that does not support repressive states or finance and arm vicious armed groups. What's more, the current foreign policy is tilted largely towards options that can maximize profits for western multinational corporations, unconcerned for the rights and lives of local communities here or in the South, thus instigating instability, migrations and violence. For our member peasant organisations in Europe, the security drift taking hold in France, already underway before the attacks but now intensified, is of much concern. The suggestion has been put forward by the Hollande administration for a three month extension of the State of Emergency and amendments to the constitution. These risk of seriously limiting civil society's margin of action and the progress of social protest. The prospect that the nearing climate conferences will take place in Paris in exclusion of civil society is worrying. Of equal concern is the anti-migrant stance taken by several political leaders across Europe. Closing our doors to other victims of terror would be a huge set-back to the humanist mission proclaimed by Europe. We hope that these latest attacks are the last straw, not to justify more war, but as a wake up call to political leaders and citizens around the world that our current system that engenders injustice, greed and violence, must be changed. Amidst the grief, pain and fear, our determination to build a better world must prevail. photo by Mussa Qawasma/Reuters

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