The entire world has watched as the ugly face of terrorism surfaced in Paris when the offices of French magazine Charlie Hebdo were attacked by Islamic terrorists. In all, twelve people, including four writers and cartoonists were viciously murdered. It was the worst attack ever on French soil.
In the aftermath of the attack, French citizens all over the country took to the streets, voicing their outrage at the attacks, and putting the terrorists on notice that they will not live their lives in fear. The whole world has rallied around France and her people. Leaders from over 50 nations came together in Paris and marched arm in arm in the streets to show their solidarity.
One leader however was glaringly absent. President Obama was not in attendance at the rally, despite having an open schedule. The leader of a nation on which its very cornerstone and founding is based on freedom of speech and the freedom of expression chose not to attend a rally whose very purpose was to express to the world that the flame of free speech will not be extinguished.
Have Americans gotten to the point where we need to ask ourselves, why aren’t we doing what they are doing in France? Why are we not marching in the streets defending freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of the press? Why are we not getting angry and shaking a collective fist at terrorism to let them know that this is America, and it will not be taken from us?
Many say that France and ultimately the rest of Europe are reaping what they sowed. France encouraged a large number of Muslim guest workers to immigrate, and they brought their families with them. But what was not encouraged was assimilation into French society. There was no incentive to become Frenchmen. The new immigrants kept to themselves and lived in Muslim enclaves. Those enclaves have morphed into “no go zones”. Police and other first responders will not venture into these areas where often Sharia law reigns supreme. In fact, in certain cases; they are not even allowed to enter these areas. Could the same thing happen here?
Well, yes it could. While Americans celebrate our melting pot society, we have also become a hyphenated society. Everyone should be proud and celebrate their heritage. Share it with everyone. But are we losing sight of the fact that we are all Americans? Did the French people get a horrific wake up call to what they might have overlooked while encouraging immigration? Did they overlook the encouragement of Muslim immigrants to become Frenchmen?
When French citizens took to the streets of Paris and in other places all over France, approximately 4 million of them nationwide, and roughly 1.6 million in Paris alone, many of them held pens aloft in support of freedom of speech and expression. They held signs quoting French writer and philosopher Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Could this heinous attack on the freedom of expression awakened Frenchmen from all over the nation to the power of words, and to just how precious they are to every society that values them? Do they understand how quickly they can be snatched away by those who have no use for words and their liberating effect? They most likely do now.
Will Americans become so increasingly enslaved to political correctness that we allow the freedom of words and expression be taken away from us before we realize what has happened?
A sign on the streets of Paris read, “Nous sommes tous Charlie”. Translation, we are all Charlie.