Horror, defiance, determination: Newspapers on Paris attacks

Editorials say violence should not sway will to defend freedom and human rights

French newspapers on display at a kiosk in Paris on November 14th after the  terror attacks of November 13th. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

French newspapers on display at a kiosk in Paris on November 14th after the terror attacks of November 13th. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images


Newspapers around the world have responded to the atrocities in Paris with a mixture of horror, defiance and determination that the perpetrators of such acts should not be allowed to triumph.

The newspapers reflected shock felt after a night of bloodshed in Paris which has so far claimed the lives of 129 people.

The front page of L’Equipe was black with the word “L’Horreur”stretched across the width of the page in white capitals.

Nice-Matin also went for the word “L’Horreur”, this time over a full page photo of the aftermath on the streets.

Le Parisien, over a picture of dead and injured being taken away, said; “Cette Fois, c’est la guerre” (This time, its war), a quote from the address of French President François Hollande.

International stage

Editorial columns in most French newspapers suggest the French republic was targeted because of its active role on the international stage.

They said violence should not sway the country’s determination to defend the principles of “freedom and human rights”. Many spoke of the horror as an attempt to “destabilise” the nation.

Liberation said by targeting the nightspots of Paris, the terrorists are hoping to disrupt the country’s politics and way of life. The Charlie Hebdo massacre was more a direct response to a specific incident, it said.

Describing the action as an “historical step”, Laurent Joffrin, the paper’s director of publication, writes: “The targeted places were linked with entertainment and socialising to show to the French people that their ordinary and friendly way of life is now under threat.”


He calls on the country to regain its composure and show public-spiritedness and solidarity through an “indestructible determination to face the horror and to reaffirm our rights and solidarity”.

Le Monde highlights that the use of suicide bombers had not been seen before in France and was a form of violence the country “thought it was protected from”.

The message of defiance is displayed clearly on the front page of Ouest France, with an editorial stressing the terrorists wish “to destabilise and create panic in a quiet city”.

The Toronto Star headlined that “Crowds gather worldwide to pay tribute to attack victims”, above a piece on events in cities across the globe to express solidarity with the French people.

USA Today carried a headline: “World Leaders react to Paris terror attacks”over a piece which said “Global condemnation came swiftly on the heels of a deadly terrorist rampage in Paris late Friday that left scores dead at six separate sites in the worst violence the City of Light has seen since World War II”.

The Indian Express reported Hillary Clinton’s call for a “war on Islamic State, not on Muslims”.

In Ireland, reports of the terror and sorrow fill the front pages of Sunday newspapers. The Sunday Business Post reported: “France Reels in the wake of savage attack”. The Sunday Times reported: “Massacre triggers hunt for Syrian migrants” while the Sunday Independent said, “We will not submit”.

In Britain, pictures of desperate people clinging to window ledges at the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people were gunned down or blown up, are shown in a grainy picture on the front of both the Mail on Sunday and the Sunday Telegraph.

Weeping in distress

Elsewhere, faces of those feared dead are pictured, and those left behind are seen weeping in distress at the horror.

In the wake of the attacks, people in Britain must be vigilant when it comes to their security but they must also try to continue life as before, the Telegraph says.

On the front of the Observer, flowers resting on a shoe lying on the ground outside the Bataclan, beside what is apparently a trail of blood, is the poignant image.

In solidarity with Paris, the front page of the Independent on Sunday was printed in red, white and blue - the colours of the French flag.