Institute of Sociology
of the Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Oleg Yanitsky on the terrorist attack in Nice

Terrorist act in Nice (France) on July 14, 2016 with tenths of killed and hundreds wounded is, in my opinion, is already not the particular act of terror but a terrorism as a kind of politics. And therefore, is a global risk. It is the act which has immediate and far-reaching aims. It is a time to reconsider the cliché the ‘ISIL is the forbidden terrorist organization’ and to consider a totality of separated terrorist acts in the world as a new form of global politics and hybrid war. The event in Nice is forced me to make the following conclusions. First, such acts are purposeful politics generated not only by a particular ideology but by the anger of masses of lay people. This anger is a result of inhuman politics of some western countries in relation to Asia and Africa accumulated in the years of malnutrition, jobless and the lack of life prospects. As history showed, such accumulation has often resulted in a social explosion. Second, I consider the mass terrorist attacks as all-embracing and all-penetrating risk as well as one of the consequences of the uncontrolled technological revolution. I’m a bit surprised that the distinguished western sociologists have not analyzed the mass terrorism as a form of such all-embracing and all-penetrating risk. Third, the events in Nice showed that neither the reach nor the poor are insured against sudden and deadly strike.

It means that now there are no absolutely safe places in our world, there are more or less safe only.  Fourth, it is rather difficult to calculate a time and place of terrorist attack. Such strikes are first of all aimed at media effect. This fact is not well comprehended by a social sciences and public policy. Fifth, the strike on Nice and other places have an ideological aim as well. That is, to show that the terrorist ‘machine’ does neglect any other forms of ideology or/and values and forms of social order. It is an irony of history: the mob at the Nice embankment have celebrated the Bastille Day, the symbol of the Great French Revolution. These people have, perhaps, forgotten that the above revolution had been followed by the great terror. Sixth, one of the underpinnings of the modern terrorism is not only total submission of the ‘infidels’ but a total destruction of ‘wrong’ social orders and even civilizations. At the same time terrorists’ organizations were often used the Western democracies as a source of various resources. The other side of the same coin is an untamed flow of migrants to the EU. Seventh, the international talks and consultations are, of course, necessary but this form of response to terrorist threat is inadequate to this global challenge. It seems to me that we are urgently needed in the establishment of global counter-terrorist network. Eighth, the social theorists were right stating that ‘bads’ are not always are an absolute harm because the critical situations sometimes create a ‘window of opportunities’.

The construction of such counter-terrorist network is one of such opportunities. Anyhow, the mass terrorists’ attack is the form of a hybrid war. Therefore, ninth, the exit of young people into the ‘web-clouds’ as well as into an unreal world created by media is not a mean for a self-protection. A real world cannot be replaced by any simulation games. A psychical demobilization of population produced by them is always playing into the terrorists’ hands. And finally, tenth, it should be recognized that the human history is not a linear process. The periods of relative ‘progress’ are alternated with the times of ‘regress’ burdened with wars, violation and an emanation of energy of social decay in the form of refugees, forced migrants, and of production of ‘human wastes’ (Z. Bauman). Yes, human rights and freedoms are the cornerstones of the Western democracy. But who will defend the masses of innocent people outside its borders?