“Paris Attacks: France deploys thousands to guard vulnerable locations” by Peter Walker of The Guardian
Because of recent violent terroristic acts in France (including the murders of 12 Charlie Hedbo staff members, as well as four hostages in a kosher supermarket, and a police officer) 10,000 security personnel will be in force to protect Jewish schools and other potentially vulnerable establishments that have been named as potential targets for further acts of terror. Three of the terrorists involved have been killed, but at least one more–the wife of one of the dead terrorists–is still on the run (and considered armed and dangerous). So far, the French citizens and their leaders (as well as other world leaders) have banded together in a show of unity coming out in droves to march in a show of solidarity in favor of peace. Charlie Hedbo’s surviving staff have vowed to publish a new edition next week.
This article is relevant because acts of terror such as this have not occurred in France for such a long time. It was a violent and deadly attack against people with whom the terrorists disagreed. Charlie Hedbo is a weekly (Hedbo actually means weekly) magazine that focuses on satirical cartoons. Because some of the cartoons poke fun of Muslim leaders, they had been a target of terroristic threats AND a bombing in the past. Freedom of speech is an important aspect of living in the United States, but even here in the United States, Charlie Hedbo’s cartoons (specifically those depicting Muslim figures) have been censored for fear of retribution by terrorists on American soil. Even though this happened in France, it affects us too. It is also personally (quite selfishly) relevant to me because I was just in Paris six months ago. I was there with students and their parents and felt very responsible for them. It is strange to think that we could’ve brushed elbows with terrorists when we were there, but I suppose that could happen anywhere in the world, including home.
I am a proponent of freedom of speech. I don’t believe we are as free to speak (or write) as we often believe we are in the U.S., but I am grateful that I live somewhere where I am guaranteed a greater level of protection for what I say than many places in the world. France promotes freedom of speech for the most-part too and most speech is protected. However, these terrorists, who have publicly sworn allegiance to ISIS, took that freedom away from the journalists and several people who were just shopping in a grocery story and one police officer who was just doing her job. These terrorists call themselves “martyrs,” but in order to be considered a martyr, you must die for a just cause. If anything, these terrorists made martyrs of the Charlie Hedbo staff, who died in the name of free speech, so their plan to martyr themselves backfired.