True or False: The Paris Attacks

Felix Kalvesmaki, Staff writer

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It was all over Twitter feeds. It came up on news app notifications. It was featured for the whole weekend on every news channel. Tragedy struck Paris on Nov. 13. On a Friday night, several violent incidents occurred around the city involving gunfire and suicide bombings, leaving 129 dead in its wake. ISIS has taken responsibility for the attacks, and France took it as an act of war.

We know that there were seven to nine radicals responsible. We know two of the bombers are  Samy Animour, 28 and Omar Ismail Mostefai, 29. We know the shootings started in the Bataclan concert hall during a rock concert, and the bombings commenced in a stadium during a soccer game against Germany. We know 400 were wounded, with 221 still in the hospital, and 57 in intensive care.

However, there has been a lot of misinformation spread as well. And although plenty has been cleared up, I’m still seeing  false information about the attacks, and other tragedies from that day. Whether it be on my Twitter timeline, from my friends or even on the news, rumors were being spread left and right. So let’s clear a couple of things up in the wake of the terrorist attacks on France’s capital.

To start off, that image of the people of Paris holding up signs that read “Not afraid” was not from the November attacks. The photograph was taken during the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper in January of this year. This isn’t the only occurrence of a rehashed shot from the  incident, images of the Empire State Building glowing in red, white and blue, and the video of the Eiffel Tower going dark in memory of the victims, are among other reused media from the Charlie Hebdo incidents. Also, the Eiffel Tower turns off every night at 1 a.m. either way.

Secondly, there were not over 115,000 lives lost on Friday, Nov. 13. Combining all the tragedies from Paris, Beirut, Japan, Baghdad, Mexico and Lebanon, there weren’t even 1,000 deaths. No one was actually harmed in Japan’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake. This rumor came from Twitter, which leads me to believe whoever crafted the tweet did it solely for retweets and fame. It makes me sick to my stomach, to be honest.

The ISIS “Kill List” that has been causing panic on social media isn’t as threatening as it seems, but it still carries a looming, haunting message. While many interpreted this “kill list” as cities that ISIS plans to attack on a scale similar to Paris, this simply isn’t true. A quick Google search will tell you that the list was intended to target servicemen in these cities. This is obviously still very concerning, but not as severe as what just the list alone would suggest. The mystery surrounding the cryptic group, and the paranoia following the attacks has caused a great amount of unnecessary fear around the world. However, it’s important to note that ISIS has slated Washington D.C. as their next target.

Finally, the French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Aurad, did not call Donald Trump a vulture. Well, not in response to the incident on the 13, at least. Trump made the infamous tweet, and Aurad made his response, once again in reference to the Charlie Hebdo incident.

In times as shocking, upsetting and horrifying as these, we all need to remember to keep a cool head. We all need to remember to breathe. To look into things, and not blindly believe. To fact check, and ensure that everything we’re seeing is correct. If we spread misinformation, we cause a panic. If we cause a panic, we can’t fix the actual issue.

Keep Paris in your thoughts, and know that the truth is out there.

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