French school shooting: Five responses to the gunman's attack

French authorities are searching for the gunman responsible for killing three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school in Toulouse yesterday. The event, which President Nicolas Sarkozy termed a 'national tragedy,' followed closely behind the murder of three French soldiers in the region, setting off a manhunt and the maximum 'scarlet' alert. Here is a snapshot of reactions to the events from French and Jewish media:

1. Muslim soldiers and Jewish children

Francois Mori/AP
Unidentified pupils of the Georges Brassens college in Paris, and their Head Teacher Marianne Dodinet (c.) hold a minute of silence in their classroom on Tuesday, the day after a gunman on a motorbike opened fire at a Jewish school in the French city of Toulouse.

Le Figaro, “Consternation and revolt” (Original in French)
Yves Threard
“Three soldiers, one teacher, three children. Killed in cold blood. With these seven murders, brought together by the same procedure and committed with the same weapon … [o]ne is struck by fear. And we seek an explanation ... Why?
First, there are victims. Could they be chosen by chance? Here, soldiers, Muslim. There, toddlers of 4, 5 and 7 years, Jews, killed in their school along with their French-Israeli professor. Islamophobia on one side? Antisemitism of the other? Perhaps. No doubt.
Then there was the context. The presidential election, fraught with political and ideological tensions. But also … the French presence in Afghanistan, the interminable Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As many excuses as possible that, simply cannot justify the unjustifiable.
Finally, there is the killer or killers. …it is hard to imagine that the motive, whatever it may be, can be dissociated from suicidal madness.

The presidential candidates have suspended their campaigns. The political debate, its games and its little phrases in parentheses. But France, grieving, hurt, dismayed, must not remain prostrate. She must ask for the better protection of all citizens. "Regardless of origin, race or religion," according to our Constitution, which this tragic news demands we maintain.”

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