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by Georges Panayotis

The terrorist attacks on 9-11 marked a real break with the type of war that opposes the civilized world and fanatics of all stripes. In addition to the hatred they express for the lives of innocent souls, these new terrorists have fallen into a combat where the image, rather than some military or threatening aspect, is the key target.

Paris has been savagely attacked, before that Beirut, Istanbul, Sousse, London, Antwerp… The list is hardly inclusive and is getting longer with a common characteristic: attacking innocents who are just enjoying life in public places. The simple happiness of residents and visitors alike is somehow unbearable to obscurantist Islamists.

The model society that ought to serve as an example to us heretics is made up of prohibitions of all kinds, absolute inequality between the sexes, obedience of medieval rules, of systematic refusal of joy, pleasure and love felt by others. If this model is so virtuous, then why isn't it imposed upon those who finance it? "Well-ordered charity."...  But for us it totally negates all the virtues and characteristics that give humanity any meaning. There is no glory in Kamikazes "sacrificing" their lives. It is a show of extreme cowardice that relieves them of facing the consequences of their actions.

Will the peaceful brotherly world we all aspire to survive so much gratuitous brutality? I do not doubt there will be positive and courageous reactions that prove that we will not bow our heads down and accept the unacceptable. It is also up to us to show the right attitude and not give in to dramatization. There can be no hierarchy in the absolute horror and yet this is the feeling produced by over-mediatizing the attacks in Paris when Lebanon and Russia have cruelly suffered the same savagery. Inversely, the silence of intellectuals, athletes and other leading figures of Muslim faith is deafening. They are the first we expect to hear from to denounce the others  who pretend to act in the name of their religion.

By attacking a symbol of freedom culture and art de vivre, the terrorists wanted their act to resound around the globe. We should not fulfill this wish, thereby granting them additional satisfaction. Respect and dignity are due to the victims of this Friday, November 13th, but without exalting the drama or making it a spectacle... Paris is in mourning, but it is not a field of ruins that should scare away visitors forevermore. Like the other destinations that have been attacked, the French capital, like the other destinations attacked before it, should not pay double the price with human lives and economic activity.

Life is stronger than all the atrocities. We have chosen to live free, show respect for others, to be happy, guiltlessly and fearlessly. This is the civilized world's response to obscurantism. It is a message that must be passed on and appropriated by all those who embrace freedom, so that travel does not come to a standstill, to visit these cities that express our values even more. This does not preclude increasing security measures in public spaces and hotels the way London and New York already have done in a not so distant past.

About Georges Panayotis

Georges Panayotis is President of MKG Consulting. Born in a family of hoteliers for three generations, Georges Panayotis, 51, left Greece at the age of 18 to pursue his studies in Political Sciences and to obtain his Master in Management at the French University of Paris Dauphine. He then joined the Novotel chain, which will become the Accor Group, to manage the International Marketing Division. After developing specific marketing tools for the hotel industry, he left the group in 1986 to start his own company, MKG Conseil, now MKG Group. In twenty years, the group has become the European leader in studies and consulting for the Hospitality industry. The company employs over 70 people in four departments: marketing studies, database, quality control and trade press, with two publications HTR Magazine and Hotel Restaurant Weekly. The company helped the development of over 2,000 hotels in France and in Europe, with offices in Paris, Cyprus and London. Georges Panyotis is the founder of the Worldwide Hospitality Awards and the Hotel Makers Forum, and the author of several publications on Marketing and Operations in the hotel business, He is a regular consultant for several television channels, among which Bloomberg Television, and radio networks.

Contact: Georges Panayotis

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