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Abdel Rehim Ali writes from Paris: Everything is quiet in Champs-Elysées

Friday 21-04-2017 - 04:38 PM
Abdel Rehim Ali writes

I had to leave Paris quickly since my flight with Egypt Air was scheduled to take off at four o'clock yesterday afternoon. I had to be at the airport at least one hour in advance.

In fact, I also needed a new travel bag, which made me immediately rush outside the hotel looking for any open luggage store in order to buy a travel bag for a cheap price since Louis Vuitton Malletier stores in Champs-Elysées are prohibitively expensive. 

I quickly left my hotel room and went down to the street. I thought I would be the only one walking in Champs-Elysées at this time since the Champs-Elysées shooting incident was just a few hours ago.


Yesterday: A State of Utter Confusion

Yesterday: A State

I was only about 20 meters away from the gunman when the police ordered us to take to the side streets. I got a real good look of the scene.

My job as a journalist propelled me to step forward until one patrolling police officer intercepted me, pointing a gun at my face, so I went back.

I tried to watch from afar. I had already reached George V Avenue where I was staying in one of the hotels abounding there.

I could not go back to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées again as they had completely shut off the main street from all sides.

Instead, I went back to my hotel room and sat down to closely follow the news while talking to a few French friends.

Some of my French friends, from the start, had assumed that the incident was clearly ‘terrorism,’ since France has been, for some time, a favorite target of terrorism claimed by the self-proclaimed Islamic State group (aka ISIS or ISIL).

In August 2014, the militant group’s spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, called on ISIS supporters to carry out terrorist attacks on an individual basis, targeting the West, especially France, of which al-Adnani was reportedly saying:

“If you can kill or slay one American or European infidel, especially the filthy French, or an Australian, a Canadian, or any other infidel who are nationals of these countries that have allied against the “Islamic state,” then go for it, and God be with you. Kill them by any means, way or method at hand.”

Abdel Rehim Ali writes
Over the past few years or so, the self-proclaimed Islamic State has already executed several terrorist operations in France, the latest of which was yesterday's shooting incident on Champs-Elysees in Paris.

I went back again to the Champs-Elysées at around one o'clock right after I performed Friday’s noon prayer. I was surprised when I noticed the avenue streets returned to normalcy. The streets were even teeming with pedestrians on both sides and from all races. Dozens of journalists and satellite TV cameras were shooting right from the troubled scene of the incident, and were reporting on the situation in Champs-Elysées Avenue a few hours after the attack.

There was no noticeable police presence in the Avenue streets, however, on the street's side streets, and on the corner of the Arc de Triomphe and towards the Pharaonic obelisk (in place de la concorde), I saw a remarkable presence of French police walking and talking with each other.  They were standing their ground and holding their automatic rifles in a state of utmost readiness.  

It is true that everything is pretty quiet in the Champs-Elysées as well as the rest of Paris. However, this process and its precedents, the recent of which was an attempt on the life of the presidential hopeful, François Fillon, will overshadow the result of the French presidential race. It may, however, shift the direction of the elections in favor of the French conservative party, driven by the fears of the French people due to terrorism and their longing for a strong political leader who will vehemently believe in and advocate the cause of radical confrontation of terrorism.

This could push Francois Fillon, who is traditionalist Republican, to rise to the second round in the polls along with Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader and daughter of French right-wing leader, John Le Pen.

Abdel Rehim Ali writes
In that case, the French people will have no choice but to vote for Fillon, unless the impossible happens by a quirk of fate, which is the rise of Emmanuel Macron, the French Presidential candidate for the centrist party En Marche (On the Move). Macron needs something to prompt him in the front with the polls, thought the polls might be providing inaccuracies to the French people now as they did with the Americans before during the 2016 U.S. election race.

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