Vigils were a dignified response to barbarism

News Letter editorial
News Letter editorial

After the massacre in Paris yesterday morning, there was a curiously uplifting end to the day across Europe.

In almost spontaneous displays of support to the memory of the dead, crowds emerged in cities including Dublin, Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, Vienna and Berlin.

There was no anger. It was a dignified, touching and fitting response to barbarism.

Over much of the last 20 years there have been seemingly never-ending atrocities in which civilians have died in large numbers in many parts of the world.

These horrors have intensified in numerous regions since the Iraq war of 2003.

Many of these massacres, in places such as Kandahar or Baghdad, left far more people dead than yesterday.

But the fact that the Paris attack was on a satirical publication and that the people who died lost their lives playing their part in disseminating the free speech we take for granted in Europe has clearly touched a nerve even among people who have no links to the media.

If the world was arranged in the way the Islamic gunmen would wish to see, you would not be able to read this morning’s edition of the News Letter, or any free press.

The terrorists will not be able to destroy countries such as France or Britain. They are hopelessly outnumbered by sane and good people. But many more civilians could die at the hands of their murderous gangs.

In the meantime, the Paris attack is fresh evidence of a truth that some people will find unpalatable. The failure of numerous countries, including the UK, France and Germany, to insist that immigrants integrate with the host culture has had disastrous consequences.

Many British-born young men are fighting for the murderous Isis. Many French-born young men have similar sympathies.

Turning this round will take resolve and time.