France: The Latest Terror Victim

150107134311-restricted-18-paris-shooting-0107-super-169Terrorists are crossing boundaries. They have established a transnational network. With hi-tech weapons in hand, terrorists can strike any part of the world as per their choice. No part of the world has immunity over terrorists today. From the perennial terror spots like Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan to recent terror attacks in Canada, Australia, France, terrorists are playing at their will. If we allow them to energise the world will be darkened soon.
Instead of playing the political games the world leaders must get united to weed out the terrorists from the world soil. If they are reluctant to combat terrorism immediately then the entire world will be doomed by terrorists. Better to act now than to regret later.
Times of India writes on 7 January 2015
There is only one way to describe the bloody assault on the offices of the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, which took 12 innocent lives. This was a barbaric atrocity, a cold-blooded murder that no amount of grievance, religious or otherwise, can justify. This is not just an assault on an irreverent magazine but a challenge to the idea of free expression itself — a freedom that lies at the heart of democracy. The murderers who killed journalists and cartoonists in Paris on Wednesday were aiming to kill more than just the people they were shooting at. They aimed to silence dissent itself and the individual’s right to question, which is central to all modern democracies, including ours.
Charlie Hebdo’s office was fire-bombed three years ago for lampooning shariah law. But the cut and thrust of its rapier wit extended to every religion, not just to Islam. Of course not everyone agreed with its editorial policies. But you don’t have to agree with a magazine to defend its right to publish. There are many ways to legitimately express anger at an editorial opinion that may offend one’s own deeply held sensibilities — protest, approach a court of law, stop reading that publication. Murdering writers as a way to stop the conversation and to deter other writers is beyond the pale. It was designed to strike fear in the hearts of those who oppose and to create a kind of self-censorship. Condemn it unequivocally and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Every civilised society has its own red lines over free speech. In India, for example, while the Constitution’s Article 19 guarantees freedom of expression, its Clause 2 also puts reasonable legal restrictions on it. France has its own liberal definition of the limits of free speech and while this can be debated what cannot be challenged is the fundamental right of all citizens to express themselves within the law. Using violence to silence satire and dissent is unacceptable.
Wednesday’s terrorist attack is a brutal attempt at intimidation by religious and political fundamentalists that must be resisted. It is in line with the Iranian fatwa on Salman Rushdie for his book Satanic Verses and recent cyber-warfare by the North Koreans after an unflattering film about their leader Kim Jong Un. No modern society can allow such violence in its midst and it must be pushed back.