By WASAMON AUDJARINT
FRANCE BECAME the target of terrorists because it symbolised what the Islamic State (IS) hates the most, "joie de vivre" (the pleasure of living), said Gilles Garachon, the French ambassador to Thailand.
“We had to fight for centuries to have equal treatment by laws... and they [just] don’t want this to continue,” he said during an interview with Suthichai Yoon, adviser to the board of the Nation Multimedia Group.
French people have always enjoyed exercising their right to “joie de vivre”, he said.
France’s participation in anti-terrorist coalition attacks against IS could probably be another reason why Paris was targeted, Garachon said.
“But it’s because we have to react [since] they have tried to seduce young people in France to join them. They want to make the next generation comply with their ideology.”
The terrorist group spread its propaganda through media broadcasting, targeting French juveniles who are still in a state of confusion as they develop their personalities and decide what values to embrace, the ambassador said.
With more than 1,000 young Frenchmen fighting with the IS, Garachon said the number was “a social minority but can be very dangerous.”
“It’s so unthinkable for young Frenchmen to think that killing people is okay,” he said. France learned a lesson from the incident, he said, but it must do more to raise awareness of civic values among young people.
“It’s a never-ending work to educate [people] about civic values. In fact, it will never be enough as the world is changing so fast,” he said. “[Still,] we have to accept our responsibility.”
Garachon also echoed the sentiments of French President Francois Hollande, who described the terrorist attacks and the subsequent French strikes in Syria as an “act of war”.
“The war is far from over. And it won’t be over until the ISIS terrorists are wiped out,” he said. “The war has been on for some time. Now this is only one episode. It will not end yet. But it’s the war of civilisation. It’s a war against terrorism, not Islam. We have the deepest respect for the Muslim people,” he said.