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January 12, 2015
 

French outpouring of support greater than on VE day; lack of American presence noted

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Written by: News Staff
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“In greater numbers than on VE day…”

The crowds that gathered in Paris to mourn victims of a terror attack targeting the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and to stand up for freedom of expression were immense, far surpassing the number of people who filled the streets at the end of World War II.

The leaders of the world — of Britain, of Germany, of the Arab League and of Nato — were on the front lines, linking arms as they walked the streets of Paris. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry were conspicuous by their absence.

The first of several terror attacks on Paris killed 12 people (including two police officers) at the Charlie Hebdo office. The following day, a French police officer was killed. Then a French policewoman was shot. In the final attack, four hostages died when a terrorist seized a grocery market. Seventeen people dead in the humblest and most ordinary places.

Charlie Hebdo was notorious for controversial topics that never failed to get people talking about the very serious issues facing France — and the world — especially in the 21st century.

VE Day: World War II ends!

VE Day: World War II ends!

The streets were filled from curb to curb with marchers, stretching back as far as the eye could see.

French President Fran├žois Hollande called the killings the worst act of terrorism to be perpetrated on French soil for over 50 years. It did not have the scope or the numbers of 9-11; what it had was the simplicity of relatively small targets that instilled fear because of their impact on very ordinary people. Any citizen could have been a target as they shopped, or walked by a store, or placed an ad. That is where the fear factor comes in.

In response to the terrorism, though, the outpouring of the French people was nothing short of inspirational. In a move of unity, the French rallied as they did at the end of the second world war, taking back their streets … this time affirming that despite what differences they have as individuals they would stand together as a country.

America has undergone similar small attacks of terror — the 9-11 aatcks and the more recent Boston Marathon bombings. And while New York was in the spotlight for some time and Boston responded with exemplary unity, it failed to move our country as a whole and faded into our recent history. America too suffers from a pandemic of domestic terrorism, as evidenced by school and office shootings that seem to occur every week.

The rally in Paris demanded the highest American presence and while other countries rose to the occasion, America did not. And that is our shame. It is time for Americans to get mad. To stay mad. To stand together against “all enemies foreign and domestic” in a very visible way. It is time for us to join countries like France, England, and others and be vigilant. We must not be so wrapped in our lives that we fail to take a stand against terrorism that reaches even the most ordinary citizens.

If it looks like a problem, and talks like a problem, and acts like a problem, take it on. Take a stand. The French response by its people to terror should have had visible and tangible support from the highest officials in the United States of America.



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