Terror in Europe

They Call Us "Generation Bataclan" - A Young French Reflection

Dismissed and wooed as so-called millennials, a young French generation supplied both the targets and perpetrators of the Paris attack. Simple answers are nowhere to be found, though maybe this label will stick.

Bertrand Hauger

I've got to move, I just can't stop

When I see the deuce yeah she's lit to pop oh

Yeah the deuce can boogie

PARIS â€" "The Deuce" is one of my favorite songs on the latest album of Eagles of Death Metal. It's a fuzzy, hip-shaking, cheeky diddy of a song that captures the essence of the Californian band's bawdy take on desert rock. (Yes, the band name is ironic) There really is only one reason I've been listening to their music for the past 10 years: just for fun.

I'm not sure I will ever listen to them again in quite the same way, and who knows when I'll stop running through the number of circumstances (three) that led me to finally not go to their concert last Friday at the Bataclan theater.

When the terrorists went on their rampage, I was safely out of town with my wife, visiting good friends in the eastern city of Metz. As the death count rose through the night, the four of us each did our best with our fast-texting fingers to confirm the whereabouts of our respective and shared loved ones. We sat numbly in front of the TV watching the latest updates and flashing images of a neighborhood where I work, bars and restaurants I know, and a concert hall where I have indeed had my share of fun.

Five days later, I am still numb as I search for the words to write.

In January, when terrorists attacked Charlie Hebdo â€" also disturbingly close to our Worldcrunch office here in the 11th arrondissement â€" the words came pouring out that same day as the twisted motivation behind the attack became instantly and abundantly clear. Shock gave way to sorrow which gave way to anger.

It was already hard enough to think that drawing could get you killed, but it was the liberté d'expression that was in the crosshairs, not the liberté d'existence.

As it turns out, no one I knew directly was harmed Friday. My little universe was left completely untouched, which is something of a miracle, considering the music I listen to, the streets I roam, or the mere fact that I'm 28.

That is the same age as at least six of the victims, capable of the best; the same age as one of the perpetrators, guilty of the worst. The future of France.

The French daily Libération, founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and still run by his successors, the children of the "68 social revolution, were the first to note on Monday that even if this attack was distinguished from January's by the seeming randomness of the slaughter, there was actually a specific, symbolic target chosen this time as well: the "Génération Bataclan."

Moved as I was by the coverage, I couldn't quite connect with the newspaper's description of the "bourgeois, progressive, cosmopolitan, hedonistic" wine-loving French youth the paper was describing. Were the editors projecting their youthful past onto current events? The lyrical tone seemed at odds with my longing for thoughts that were both simpler, and more specific to 2015.

It's not easy with this complexity, the band would sing.

My peers and I have already had to live with our fair share of (international) labels: Gen Y, Milllennials, Hipsters. Bring "em on. But at least in France, now we may have one that actually says something â€" sadly, about both the desires and the fundamental insecurity (not just physical) with which we live. If "Génération Bataclan" does exist, it's big, and it's hurt. Though more convinced than ever that the diversity, the mixité, of today's France is our only real salvation, we are starting to feel helpless in the face of all those who think the opposite.

So what do we do now? Are we really at war, as the French president says? Our wise elders over at Libération are right: We are unwilling to give up on the insouciance young Parisians have always taken as a human right. And yet we must learn to live with the reality that some people who share both our city and our smartphones, spurred on by a warped calling from God, see it as a capital crime.

For now, we are still grieving. Again. We'd thought the "Je Suis Charlie" graffiti on the Place de la République would in time be washed away into memories we could make sense of. We didn't think there would be other candles to light before the January ones had gone out.

I'm looking forward to going back to having nightmares only when I've drunk too much red wine. To not pricking up my ears at the sound of every slamming door or every passing siren. To not thinking twice about going out to eat with friends, or to a concert, because, you see, I've got to move, I just can't stop.

It's been pretty windy in Paris the past few days, not scary windy, but the kind that makes you aware of how the physical world can sometimes mirror your feelings. And so this mourning city has gotten the chorus of a very different song stuck in my head: that of Leonard Cohen's version of "The Partisan."

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing

Through the graves the wind is blowing,

Freedom soon will come;

Then we'll come from the shadows.

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Running of the Bulls in Tafalla, northern Spain

Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

👋 Здравейте!*

Welcome to Monday, where an apparent coup is underway in Sudan, Colombia's most-wanted drug lord gets caught, and Michael Jordan's rookie sneakers score an auction record. We also focus on a report that the Thai government is abusing the country's centuries-old law to protect the monarchy from criticism (lèse-majesté) to target pro-democracy activists and protesters.

[*Zdraveite - Bulgarian]


• Developing: Sudan leaders arrested amid military coup reports: Soldiers have arrested several members of Sudan's transitional government as well as civilian leaders, and Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok has reportedly been put under house arrest, in what the information ministry called a military coup. Pro-democracy protesters have taken to the streets of the capital city Khartoum where there are reports of gunfire and clashes.

• Colombia's most wanted drug lord to be sent to U.S.: Colombia's most dangerous drug trafficker, known as Otoniel, was caught after a joint army, air force and police operation and faces extradition to the U.S. He led the country's largest criminal gang, and was on the U.S. most wanted list for years.

• Xi speech marks China's UN anniversary: China's President Xi Jinping marked the 50th anniversary of Beijing's entry into the United Nations with a speech calling for greater global cooperation, adding that issues like climate change, terrorism and cyber security needed multilateral solutions. Taiwan was not mentioned.

• German ISIS bride jailed for crimes against humanity: A German court has sentenced a German woman and former member of the Islamic State to 10 years in prison for letting a 5-year-old Yazidi enslaved girl die of thirst in Iraq. The case is one of the world's first trials to prosecute a war crime against the Yazidis.

• COVID update: The Beijing marathon scheduled next weekend has been postponed until further notice as China seeks to stamp out Delta variant outbreak and return to zero cases ahead of the Winter Olympics next February. Meanwhile, coronavirus cases in Eastern Europe have surpassed the 20 million mark as the region fights against its worst outbreak since the pandemic started and vaccination efforts lag.

Goodbye, Gunther: U.S. actor James Michael Tyler, best known for his role as the barista Gunther on the TV show Friends, has died at 59 of prostate cancer.

• Sneakers record: A pair of Michael Jordan's white-and-red Nike shoes, which he wore during his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, sold for $1.47 million — a new record price for sneakers at auction.


"The end of a boss," titles Colombian daily El Espectador, reporting on the arrest of drug lord Dairo Antonio Usuga, known as Otoniel, who had led Colombia's largest criminal gang and had been on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's most wanted list for years. He was captured in a raid and will be extradited to the U.S.



A Georgia man is being prosecuted for wire fraud after spending most of his business's COVID relief loan to buy one Pokémon trading card for $57,789.


How Thailand's "Lèse-Majesté" law is used to stifle all protest

Once meant to protect the royal family, the century-old law has become a tool for the military-led government in Bangkok to stamp out all dissent. A new report outlines the abuses.

👑 Thailand's Criminal Code "Lèse-Majesté" Article 112 imposes jail terms for defaming, insulting, or threatening the monarchy, with sentences of three to 15 years. This law has been present in Thai politics since 1908, though applied sparingly, only when direct verbal or written attacks against members of the royal family. But after the May 2014 military coup d'état, Thailand experienced the first wave of lèse-majesté arrests, prosecutions, and detentions of at least 127 individuals arrested in a much wider interpretation of the law.

🚨 The recent report "Second Wave: The Return of Lèse-Majesté in Thailand," documents how the Thai government has "used and abused Article 112 of the Criminal Code to target pro-democracy activists and protesters in relation to their online political expression and participation in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations." The investigation shows 124 individuals, including at least eight minors, have been charged with lèse-majesté between November 2020 and August 2021. The new wave of charges is cited as a response to the rising pro-democracy protests across Thailand over the past year.

💻 The more than a century-old law is now largely playing out online, where much of today's protest takes place in Thailand. Thai student activist Juthatip Sirikan says people are willing to go further on social media to expose information such as how the king intervenes in politics and the monarchy's accumulation of wealth, information the mainstream media rarely reports on them. Not surprisingly, however, social media is heavily monitored and the military is involved in Intelligence operations and cyber attacks against human rights defenders and critics of any kind.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com


"Children are going to die. People are going to starve."

— The United Nations warns that Afghanistan verges on a "total breakdown" as millions of Afghans, including children, could die of starvation unless urgent action is taken by the international community. The agency calls for the release of frozen assets to avoid economic and social collapse, despite concerns over the Taliban government. A recent report said that about 97% of Afghanistan's population may sink below the poverty line, and World Food Programme (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley warned that more than half of Afghanistan's population of 39 million were facing acute food insecurity and "marching to starvation" in comparison to 14 million two months ago.


Dutch cities have been secretly probing mosques since 2013

At least ten Dutch towns and cities have secretly used a private agency to probe mosques and other local religious organizations, Amsterdam-based daily het NRC reports in an exclusive investigation.

The clandestine operation — funded by NCTV, the National Security Services, the Netherlands' leading counter-terrorism agency — was prompted by the social unrest and uncertainty following multiple terror attacks in 2013, and a rise in Islamic radicalization.

The NCTV, which advises and financially supports municipalities in countering radicalization, put the municipalities in touch with Nuance by Training and Advice (Nuance door Trainingen en Advies, NTA), a private research agency based in Deventer, Netherlands. Among the institutions targeted by the investigations, which came at a cost of circa 500,000 euros, were the Al Mouahidin mosque in the central Dutch town of Ede, and the Nasser mosque east of the city of Utrecht, according to NRC.

Unlike public officials, the private agency can enter the mosques to clandestinely research the situation. In this case, the agents observed activity, talked to visitors, administrators, and religious leaders, and investigated what they do and say on social media.

All findings then wound up in a secret report which includes personal details about what the administrators and teachers studied, who their relatives are, with whom they argued, and how often they had contact with authorities in foreign countries, like Morocco.

It is unclear whether the practice is legal, which is why several members of the Dutch Parliament are now demanding clarification from the outgoing Minister of Justice and Security, Ferd Grapperhaus, who is said to be involved.

"The ease with which the government violates (fundamental) rights when it comes to Islam or Muslims is shocking," Stephan van Baarle, member of the leftist party DENK, told De Volkskrant, another Dutch newspaper.

Leaders of the Muslim organizations that were secretly probed say they feel betrayed. Hassan Saidi, director of one of the mosques investigated, said that the relationship with the local municipality had been good. "This puts a huge dent in the trust I'd had in the municipality," he told the Dutch public broadcaster NOS.

✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Are you more Chicago Bulls or running of the bulls? Let us know what the news looks like from your corner of the world! info@worldcrunch.com info@worldcrunch.com!

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