Yesterday, the usual “known wolf” – that’s to say, known to the highest levels of the French security apparatus – killed three and wounded a dozen more in this year’s first attack on a Christmas market – in Strasbourg. The jihadist yelled …oh, go on, take a wild guess: Joyeux Noël? Bonnes Fêtes? No, he stuck to the traditional greeting.
Just over two years ago, in the summer of 2016, I met a delightful German lady who lives just across the border from Strasbourg and whose husband, in fact, was born and raised there. Along with her child, my friend, as I put it, “had found herself on the receiving end of some vibrant multicultural outreach from one of Mutti Merkel’s boy charmers“:
As a result, she no longer goes out after dark. She had also decided – with reluctance, because she enjoyed it – to cancel her participation in a local Christmas market, where she’d sung carols every year – in broad daylight.
‘Why would you do that?’ I asked.
‘Because it’s Christmas,’ she said, ‘and I’m worried Christmas will be a target.’
I have never forgotten those words – because they were at once both absurd and chilling. But four months later “a German citizen” attempted to blow up the Christmas market at Ludwigshafen, and a mere two years on it is now taken for granted that Christmas markets across Europe have to be held behind the ugly throttling barriers of “security” – which as we saw yesterday are, ultimately, never secure.