13 jan Why didn’t we write a blog about Charlie Hebdo and the aftermath?
The senseless killings and horrific attack on a newspaper and on a shop. Of course these terrorist attacks are violations of the right to life and the freedom of expression and therefore on our democratic societies. The perpetrators wanted to instill fear and to create chaos and undo our precious freedoms. Inhuman and illegal. But that is so obvious that we did not write about it. It is also obvious that states will do whatever it takes to defend themselves and protect their citizens. And that is what they must do under the positive obligations to protect! The balance is to accept that societies will not be risk free and that barbaric idiots, whatever their invoked justification, will occasionally pop up and kill. The balance is therefore to protect our freedoms and liberties in the pursuit of the achievement of security. Let us not walk into the trap of over-responses and blaming. And let’s also work at prevention and the eradication of exclusion, poverty and unemployment, and in favor of protection of youth and assistance of families and parents.
And let us all, families, churches, mosques, non governmental organizations, associations proclaim our attachment to our free society and raise our youngsters in that spirit. We cannot blame a religion and therefore all its believers for these horrible events and perpetrators. But we can expect that we all unreservedly try to weed out together the sources and inspiration for would be perpetrators. That is a civic duty for all.
That is relevant for parents, for brothers and sisters, friends, imams and co-believers, schools, social workers, and many others. Of course they are not responsible for a lunatic’s acts, but they are responsible for their own attempts and omissions to attempt to try to prevent someone from becoming a threat. And for omissions to seek help! That is our civic duty. And that duty is alike for all of us. But in the context of barbarism committed by persons allegedly invoking Islam and Allah, it is the civic duty, the duty we owe to fellow citizens and to society, of religious leaders, families and others who play a role.
Standing up in joining many in a massive and impressive protest is one thing. Now the next step is to implement our civic duties in practice. And we may not react by saying that Charlie Hebdo was insulting or blasphemous and therefore that these attacks were to be expected. That is like arguing that victims of crimes provoked their own killing or rape. There are simply no justifications for these crimes. We live in states of ‘democracy and rule of law: maintaining democracy and the rule of law is our duty as citizens. We are and live democracy and rule of law and liberties.
And so we wrote a blog after all. To state the obvious. Freedom must be cherished and defended. It is our civic duty which we all have. Liberties come with responsibilities. Democracy and rule of law require efforts. By all. Every day and in our daily lives.