Attack should wake us all up

A man holds a poster reading 'I am Charlie' as he and others express solidarity with the murdered French journalists in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
A man holds a poster reading 'I am Charlie' as he and others express solidarity with the murdered French journalists in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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In a painfully predictable episode, we witnessed yesterday the extinguishing of 12 lives by the hands of Islamic extremists.

Two men, driven to frenzy over a few brush marks on paper, took it upon themselves to exact their warped version of justice on the citizens of Paris.

Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.

Operating Room''Accident and Emergency, A+E, A&E, Hospital.

We have seen these scenes before in Madrid, London, Brussels, and Sydney. And yet many in the Western world seem unable, or unwilling, to come to terms with what is actually going on.

A thick fog of political correctness hangs over many countries, and the fear of calling ‘a spade a spade’ has ensnared many societies in a overprotective thicket. Instead of being brutally honest with the reality on the ground, many wish to make inappropriate comparisons (Christianity produces extremists too!) or deflect blame onto themselves (Afghanistan, Iraq, etc) in attempts to make sense of this new reign of terror.

However, this attack in Paris should shake us all from our slumber and finally force us to face the problem head on.

There are, and probably will always be, people that are diametrically opposed to what we stand for, who we are, and what we believe in. This simple fact may be the hardest to digest, but we all must force ourselves to accept it.

And, as a natural response, we must resist and fight against such individuals. Now some will go to the extremes and paint all Muslims in such a negative light, and this too is highly inappropriate and damaging. But it is possible to acknowledge the threat from radical Islam without demonizing the entire Muslim community. And this is an acknowledgement we can no longer avoid.

Charlie Hebdo was attacked because it published, as is its right in a free society, cartoons deemed offensive by the attackers. We should see this attack for what it is – a direct assault on Western values. It had nothing to do with Syria or Iraq, nothing to do with Gaza or Lebanon. It struck at the very heart of Western liberty. It is time we face facts and prepare ourselves accordingly to do battle with this ideological foe, otherwise we will see ever more episodes like this occur throughout the world.

Harold Ohayon

Belfast