I had intended to begin 2015 with an upbeat blog - something fun and interesting to start the New Year off on a high note. But yesterday's terrible events in Paris made a light-hearted post seem trivial and inappropriate. My readers know that I refrain from politically charged subjects, but the terrorist attack on the freedom we hold most dear - the freedom of speech - the very freedom that allows me to post blog after blog in a global forum - had to be broached.
The execution of twelve innocent people - police officers, journalists and cartoonists - by extremists avenging a satirical referral to their prophet, might well be the tipping point for freedom loving people tired of being dictated to by radical religious fanatics. The idea of respecting other opinions and faiths is a two way street and people are finally pushing back against being terrorized for their beliefs.
To be sure, the beautiful City of Light, my beloved Paris, has suffered an incredible blow and I have called and emailed many friends and colleagues to show support and solidarity, much the same as they did for me after the horror of 9/11. But they are also very strong and no one is willing to be ruled by the sword. After the initial shock and sadness, so early in the new year, the French will reach into their collective inner core and stand up to bullies who are trying to take away their freedom. In the meantime, here are a few photos I found of commemorations and freedom protests held around the world:
The intrepid editor of Charlie Hebdo, Stephane Charbonnier, once said "I'd rather die standing than living on my knees". Courageous words and words he lived, and died, by. The Charlie Hebdo website has announced that they will be publishing as usual next Wednesday - but this time an edition of one million papers. A fitting testament to the brave souls who perished in the exercise of freedom yesterday.