Clash of civilizations is a word that would describe a wider war between two ideologies rather than two people.
Just after the September 11 attacks in New York, The president of France Jacques Chirac did not go along with the ‘war on terror’ that was being proposed by the Bush administration. On the contrary, he urged the Americans to treat terrorism as a form of criminality.
In contrast, when Paris was attacked in November last year, President François Hollande immediately declared that France was at war. This may have been an error on the part of the French President since states are not supposed to legitimize bands of criminals. The choice of inappropriate language is the first step in losing war with them.
The clash of civilizations is a phrase that would elevate the extremists of ISIS to a status which that always aspire but do not deserve. In no way, they are legitimate combatants.
A gullible teenager is challenged with the need to do something about this atrocity. He is recognized as a hero and a soldier who is doing nothing but protecting his people. Of course, since time immemorial, war has permitted all kinds of atrocities and actions.
They are also told that no one in the West is innocent since all of them have voted for the government t that is carrying out those crimes in Syria. And even if they were innocent, they must be sacrificed for the greater cause.
This is where the ‘clash of civilizations’ phenomenon comes into effect. The extremist group follows a narrative that the entire world is against Muslims. And there is a world war which needs to be fought and won.
By this narrative, we can safely assume that the young men recruited to create carnage in Paris were not soldiers. Their leader Abdelhamid Abaaoud was a petty criminal who happened to successfully tap into the pool of marginalized people and fitted them with bombs and machine guns. None of them deserve a military stripe.
There were many others in the same pool who saw their mediocre circumstance as a challenge rather than excuse for a crime. They made respectable lives for themselves within the same environs that supposedly drove Abaaoud towards crime. Thus rests the case of clash of civilizations.