Bravo, la France
France has suffered 17 terror attacks in the 21st century, 9 of which have occurred in 2015/2016. These terror attacks have shaken the French culture and have put the nation in the face of grave challenges that touch the very core of what makes a free democracy.
One of the biggest challenges has been the increase in popularity of the far right movement headed by Marine Le Pen, whose discourse calls for widespread discrimination against immigrants, be it newcomers to the county or those who are French citizens descending from immigrant families.
Le Pen’s rhetoric has played on society’s insecurities such as national security, unemployment, religious segregation and cultural tension in order to further her political agenda. In the second round of the election, she received 27% of votes, against the 28% achieved by the reigning social party president Francois Hollande, an alarming result to say the least.
In June of 2016, France had to face the test of playing host to the 2016 Euros and has managed to deal with the aforementioned threats with wisdom and assertiveness. The nation did not succumb to the terrorist threats and together with courage and determination, France was able to safely organize one of the biggest sporting events in Europe in the very stadium that only 7 months earlier, had been victim to a terror attack. France has managed to successfully host over 5 million visitors in one month, a substantial achievement for tourism.
Economically, the Euro Cup has generated over 5 billion euros in revenue for the nation. Socially, the government has tackled the dispute regarding the employment law with drive and reason and has efficiently managed the floods that had hit Paris in late May. And finally, France has managed to win the Euros with great sportsmanship.
This win can be accredited to the determination of the French and European supporters who rose above the looming terrorist threat and proved that civilization, camaraderie and tolerance will always come out victorious. Bravo, la France!