A few hours ago, a terrorist attack in Nice, France left three people dead, including one elderly woman. This attack happened at the Catholic Notre-Dame church. Details are still coming. As horrific as this attack is, it comes nearly two weeks after the brutal murder of the teacher, Samuel Paty. Paty, who was educating his students on freedom of speech, referred to cartoons by Charlie Hebdo of Muhammad and the 2015 terrorist attack against the journalists.
12. Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.— Dr Mahathir Mohamad (@chedetofficial) October 29, 2020
In the two weeks between Paty’s death and the Nice terror attack, many Muslim leaders have condemned… Samuel Paty. Not the killer, but the teacher who promoted freedom of speech in his class. The aggressive leader of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also contributed to the antagonism. Not only is he promising ‘action’ against Charlie Hebdo for the cartoons making fun of him, but he’s also attacking France for ‘allowing’ its citizens to make fun of Muhammad.
Other disturbing news relates to a guard getting stabbed in Saudi Arabia outside the French embassy. Although Snowy Fictions rarely covers political events (we are a one-woman blog dedicated to books and history), we are founded on the principles of free speech and liberty. And that’s why we are proud to support the French Republic during these awful times. Not only that, but we call on other countries, bloggers, journalists, publishers to do so as well. It’s important that other Western countries do not turn their backs on France.
It takes bravery to stand up to bullies, particularly those that carry knives. But we must remember that we have the right to freedom of speech. And we don’t have it because a government said so. Every human has the right to express their opinions, to mock and to even offend. We have that right because we are humans and have personal agency.
France is a beautiful country, that I’ve had the pleasure of visiting in early 2019. Although the current pandemic has haulted future travel plans, I am hoping to return. What I remember most about the French was their inner strengths. France is magnificent, from the stained glassed Sainte-Chapelle to the fields of Provence. Yet it’s not just the beauty of France that illuminates me: it’s the courage of the French people. It was heart-warming to see many stand by Paty and their countrymen.
As Solzhenitsyn said, a declining trait of Western modernity is the lack of courage. As an Anglosphere citizen, I see people who lack courage or conviction, who just do what the mob says. But I take a close look into the soul of France, and I see courage and hearts of gold.
I am proud to support France, and I hope others will join me.