Yesterday, we were all French. The attack in Paris on Charlie Hebdo was an attack on all of civilized society. The 12 who died were the initial victims. Let us vow to not let the senseless murders that took place harm our basic freedoms. Let us promise that freedom of expression and a free press will not be collateral damage. France holds liberty, equality and fraternity dear to their hearts as we do. We who share in the beliefs that are epitomized by the French national motto, grieve with you.

We live in perilous times. Civilians have become the targets of religious extremism. In our response to this tragedy, let us be measured and wise in our reaction. First and foremost we need to bring to justice the perpetrators of this monstrous act. As the the leader of the Parisian Muslims stated in his measured response, the act that occurred does not represent the views of the Koran. A typical knee jerk reaction would be to blame all Muslims for the reckless acts of a few. Extremism in any form is unacceptable, extremism has no virtue. These are criminal acts. Let us not fall prey to the notion that we are involved in a religious war.

Charlie Hedbo is a respected satirical news source for those who like to laugh at ourselves and others. I guess some people choose to find insult when humor is the goal. If you don’t find something funny then don’t read it. We can not let the actions of a few chill speech and the freedom of the press.

France has a large Muslim community, primarily from the Sub-Saharan region of Africa, with a small community from Turkey. Nearly 500,000 immigrants live in the shanty towns and suburbs of Paris. They live primarily in Champigny, Nantarre and in Saint-Dennis.

These shanty towns house many young people who make up a good percentage of the French unemployed. Their hopes for a chance at a good job are less than others. With their youth, and desperation they are candidates for being influenced by religious extremists who promise easy answers for their very real economic fears.

Let us rejoice in our shared beliefs in liberty, equality and fraternity and not lose these rights as a result of the anger and mourning that are a natural result of the cowardly and criminal acts that took place yesterday against the innocent men and women at Charlie Hebdo. Let us honor their memory by maintaining the freedoms that France has and that we as Americans believe in as well. If we change who we are as a result of the tragedy that took place we lower ourselves to their level. Terrorists win when we change who we are. Civilized society is damaged if we reduce our freedoms thinking that greater security will somehow give us greater freedom. In fact if we lessen our freedoms in exchange for what is perceived to be greater safety the terrorists have won. Viva La France!!!! Let liberty, equality and fraternity ring through the halls and homes of France. Viva La France!


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