The cancellation of the U2 concerts in Paris was a swift response to the Friday terrorism incidents.
It might have seemed like the band was buckling in the face of terrorism, and in many respects it was, or its organisers were.
Yet the decision was understandable, and even appropriate.
The cancellation of Tuesday’s football match in Germany was also appropriate in the face of a possible risk. Imagine if a second wave of attacks had happened despite pre-match fears of a threat.
The world, and in particular mainland western Europe, needed to take stock after Paris. Everyone wants life to get back to normal as soon as possible, but security agencies and governments needed to see that this was not a night-after-night onslaught.
It may yet prove to be something akin to such an onslaught, if another western city is attacked in the coming days. We can only hope not, and wish the crucial intelligence agencies well as they track the terrorists.
While immediate caution was fitting, a swift and full return to normality is desirable. Now that seems to be happening. The scale of the task facing terror gangs is unachievable. They do not have the capacity to attack hundreds of cities and scores of millions of people, or not yet anyway.
In a twist of fate, U2 moved from a city that is new to terrorism – Paris – to play in a city that once was well used to terrorism, but is now mostly peaceful, Belfast.
Bono last night called for a Europe of “mercy” as the band played its first concert since the Paris attacks at the SSE Arena (formerly known as the Odyssey).
Belfast knows the importance of the fact that ‘the show goes on’. We loved it when entertainment acts came to the Province during the Troubles, and gave them an intense welcome.
It was wonderful, and moving, that a Northern Irish band, Stiff Little Fingers, made a point of playing in Paris on Tuesday. Their performance was an emphatic display of solidarity.