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Society

French Survivors Of Terrorism Must Now Battle Online Abuse

Three survivors of terrorism in France are now being targeted online for the compassion they have shown towards the children of Islamic militants. They are taking the power in their own hands and taking the social media giant to court.

People paying tribute to victims in front of the Bataclan, Paris.
People paying tribute to victims in front of the Bataclan, Paris.
Damien Leloup and Samuel Laurent

PARIS — The survivor of a terrorist attack in Paris, the parent of a victim of terrorism and a former hostage have been targeted online for their compassion toward the children of Islamic militants. All three are taking the social media giant to court for non-action in the face of serious harassment.

Social media platforms somehow manage to remain the center of public discourse yet struggle to address the ensuing legal responsibilities. This is, in any case, what the subpoena sent to Twitter on Jan. 28 on behalf of three online harassment victims is trying to prove.

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Geopolitics

The Days After: What Would Happen If Putin Opts For A Tactical Nuclear Strike

The risk of the Kremlin launching a tactical nuclear weapon on Ukraine is small but not impossible. The Western response would itself set off a counter-response, which might contain or spiral to the worst-case scenario.

An anti-nuclear activist impersonates Vladimir Putin at a rally in Berlin.

Yves Bourdillon

-Analysis-

PARISVladimir Putin could “go nuclear” in Ukraine. Yes, this expression, which metaphorically means “taking the extreme, drastic action,” is now literally considered a possibility as well. Cornered and humiliated by a now plausible military defeat, experts say the Kremlin could launch a tactical nuclear bomb on a Ukrainian site in a desperate attempt to turn the tables.

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In any case, this is what Putin — who put Russia's nuclear forces on alert just after the start of the invasion in late February — is aiming to achieve: to terrorize populations in Western countries to push their leaders to let go of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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