A year after the terrorist attack on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the mood in France is a mixture of resilience, uncertainty and growing internal division, reports the Financial Times.
The murder of 12 people at the magazine and four people at a Jewish supermarket two days later presaged the slaughter carried out in Paris on November 13 by terrorists claiming allegiance to the militant Islamists of Isis. The sense of threat lingers, with heavily armed soldiers and police patrolling the streets of the capital and other big cities.
France is at war and must be prepared for the possibility, if not probability, of further attacks, as President François Hollande warned in his traditional New Year address.
Yet the terrorists have failed. If resistance means going to cafés, bars and restaurants and attending concerts, after a week or so of disarray, then life goes on, albeit with fewer Japanese and Americans tourists. The French have chosen to live as though they are not potential targets of further attacks.
If the goal of the terrorists was to divide the French people and to encourage support for the far-right National Front while pushing the large Muslim minority into the arms of radical fundamentalists, they failed in that too. Whatever the impressive gains made by the FN in last month’s regional elections, Marine Le Pen will not be the next president of France.
Polls show strong support for military action in the Middle East and the Sahel, and indeed many voters are proud of their country’s renewed international clout. They are persuaded by Mr Hollande’s assertion that the fight against terrorism cannot be won on the home front alone.