Certain people have perhaps been thinking, after the immense shock of the attacks of November 13, that the only thing that matters from now on, as a response to terrorism, is a security reinforcement, and of course, a reexamination of our priorities-- since ISIS has declared war on us all.
However, people forget that the war that's been declared on us is also psychological. The report released by ISIS to claim the massacre in Paris uses all the tools of conditioning and psychological manipulation: a turning of tables, presenting the Islamic State as a victim instead of an assassin, while promising to continue to spread terror, and criticizing policy makers for creating internal divisions-- a criticism intended to bring about self-doubt.
Our first response should be to understand this psychological tactic, so that we don't allow them to win. No, we do not have to be guilt-tripped into fighting these barbaric groups that slit throats, rape, torture and kill innocent civilians in the most cowardly ways possible. No, our values are strong enough to refuse to sink to their level, and instead, to turn towards reinforcing national unity against their aggression. No, we do not doubt that enlightenment and democratic progress are strong enough to stand up to such behavior, which is sending us back to prehistoric times. No, we are not afraid, and it's because we have no doubt that we will continue to live as we choose, and to defend the policies that we believe to be essential.
Amongst these is the climate change issue, which will determine, in the long term, the survival of mankind, and, in the short term, the demographic balance. Because, contrary to what many people would say --especially those who are excited about averting the dangers that an agreement on climate change may pose for them-- there are definitely several undeniable links between these barbaric and fascist acts by radical Islamists and the climate.
The most important link is called: oil. ISIS lives off all sorts smuggling and trafficking all kinds of goods, but in particular, on aid coming from oil-rich countries, and oil smuggling. This raises questions about both direct and indirect consumers of this contraband oil, and about the reasons why wells supplying ISIS have not yet been neutralized. There are some ambiguities on the part of a number of countries that claim to be fighting ISIS. Consequently, reducing the locations of oil and hydrocarbons, developing energy autonomy of each country through renewable energy, and fighting the omnipotence of oil producers will all help to reduce the power of the ISIS.
But above all, getting in the way of the COP 21 meeting would quadruple the assassins' reasons to attack. First, by demonstrating that they have won a part of the psychological war, by scaring us enough to renounce a major international conference. Second, postponing a major conference to a later date, when its main objective is to reduce the dependence on oil and gas, and therefore indirectly weaken the ISIS economy, would be unwise. Third, by giving them the priceless gift of putting the defence of mankind as a second priority, we forego the value that underpins universal human progress. It is these values that give us our strength, our cohesion and, frankly, our superiority compared to the barbarians, who only seek to spread terror, enslave women and reduce them to commodities (see Boko Haram), and to lead young to believe that killing people will take you to paradise. Finally, the consequences of climate change are forming the conditions of terrorism; mass migration tied to poor weather has destabilized a number of areas around the world, inevitably transforming them into zones of conflict.
It goes without saying that humanity is imperfect, the behavior of countries in the North is sometimes questionable, and that democracy may not have been fully achieved. But that does not mean that humanism and democracy are not the best systems that humanity could have invented to protect and defend us. That's the reason we're not afraid, and why all attempts of manipulation by ISIS will remain in vain. The COP 21 conference will surely take place, and we hope that it will be a great success, as well as a huge slap in the face for the ISIS butchers.
This post first appeared on HuffPost France. It has been translated into English and edited for clarity.