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Year 8 boy addresses the school in chapel regarding the awful events from Paris over the weekend.

16th November 2015

Click to read the full text of Jack Woods' moving and thought-provoking address to the whole school.

Last week, on Friday 13th of November, a tragic event happened in the city of Paris.

Islamic state terrorists killed at least 132 innocent people across the city in an act of revenge against France for being involved in the war in Syria.

When I finished school on Saturday, I read about the attack, and was overwhelmed with sadness when I realised the mourning that people were going through in France and across the world, all because of this barbaric and cowardly act.

We are at a time now more than ever when we need tolerance between religions. The massacre in Paris was because of intolerance between religions. Over 100 innocent lives were lost on the basis of different beliefs. The problem is as big as it has been for many years yet we have not found a way to heal our relationships with many middle-eastern countries. Retaliation is not an option, for that would make us no better than them. If we cannot put a stop to terrorism then the lives that we lead will be stricken with the fear of not knowing if we are safe to fly in a plane or take a ride in a bus.

Terrorism is an international problem in today’s global community. Many nations are affected, whether directly or indirectly. Most nations oppose terrorism, while others condone or even support active, brutal terrorism and terrorist groups.

Terrorism is defined by the US State Department to contain three elements. The first is a threat of violence or an act of violence. Next is a political objective. Lastly, is that violence and the threat of violence is a direct attack on civilians making civilians a primary target.

Terrorist groups seek to cause widespread disruption, fear and intimidation. They use violence or the threat of violence as a means of publicising their causes, motivating those who might be sympathetic to them and intimidating those who do not sympathise. They often aim to influence government policies and they often reject existing democratic processes, or even democracy itself, as a means of achieving their objectives.

In recent years, terrorism seems to be at a new high and attacks are more violent than in the past. With terrorism being so secretive and having no forewarning, it has been a real problem to deal with. The governments of many countries have tried to stop these cowardly acts, but they just seem to be on the rise.

Terrorism has become a global threat and needs to be controlled from the grass root level to the international level. The world has to unite in order to face this growing threat of terrorism. Let us hope that the world will be free from this hazard very soon. Without terrorism, the world would become a better and happier place to live in.

David Cameron has said he is “shocked” by the attacks, adding: “we will do whatever we can to help.” The world has united to support the French people and to offer our condolences to all the families affected.

I hope that some day soon there will be complete peace between religions and that there will be no need to fear attacks like these, because to take an innocent life in this way is wrong.

The president of France has declared 3 days of mourning for those who lost their lives only a few days ago. But for many the mourning will go on for much longer, as they cry for friends and family that are no longer with them. Does it not seem silly that so much damage is being caused, so many innocent people are being killed, purely because of religion. Surely religion was created to bring people together, not to push people apart, as it seems to be doing at the moment.

It is so sad to watch and hear what has happened in Paris, and I hope that we stay united to support the people of France for the coming weeks. Our thoughts and prayers should be with all the families affected by this terrible event as they grieve the loss of their loved ones.

Thank you for listening