Long live freedom

The last couple of weeks have seen such stunning highs and lows in the human experience – unimaginable tragedy in violence with the shootings in Paris. And then just days later, the unforgettable images of hundreds of thousands of people gathering in that same city to show their solidarity and support for those lost to the violence, and their unwavering belief in freedom – specifically freedom of speech.

The details are of course widely known at this point – on Jan. 7th, two masked gunmen forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

They killed 12 people, including the editor Stéphane ‘Charb’ Charbonnier, seven other Charlie Hebdo employees, and two National Police officers, and wounded 11 others. Charlie Hebdo had attracted attention for its depictions of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.

On Jan. 11th, up to 2 million people, including more than 40 world leaders, met in Paris for a rally of national unity to honour the 17 victims.

In all, 3.7 million people joined demonstrations nationwide, in what officials called the largest public rally in France since World War II. The phrase ‘Je suis Charlie’ came to be a common worldwide sign of solidarity against the attacks.

The remaining staff of Charlie Hebdo announced that publication was to continue.

As mentioned, one of the most powerful images from the whole series of tragic circumstances was the hopeful image of so many gathering in Paris – and in cities and communities around the world – to show their support. It was quite amazing to see so many world leaders linking arms and walking together during the demonstration – how refreshing to see these people lay aside their differences for a while and join forces in showing that society just won’t bend to the tactics of terrorists. Freedom, and the gift of being able to speak and express oneself freely, is just too important of a gift in this modern age to even remotely loosen our grip on.

That’s not to say ‘freedom of speech’ is perfectly held onto, even in the so-called ‘free countries’. Political correctness and a fear of offending people can be obstacles – but compared to how many in this world are forced to live – under the constant threat of intimidation, oppression and fear – those of us in free societies have a freedom that many can only dream of.

Tragedy often brings people together. All one has to do is think of 9/11, when the reality of how much we need each other in communities was so strongly felt could be clearly seen. Same thing with natural disasters – such circumstances often cause folks to open their hearts to those affected. Light certainly does dispel the darkness.

As we move forward from the tragedies in Paris, let us not forget the price that has been paid for our freedom, and continue to guard and cherish this precious gift.

Just Posted

Ronnie Dixie gets another chance at life from a liver transplant

Red Deerians invited to annual Stroll for Liver charity walk June 3rd

Trial for man accused of 2006 Eckville murder “unreasonably delayed”

Lacombe’s Shayne Gulka is awaiting trial for the 2006 murder of Bradley Webber

Individuals face 84 criminal charges related to stolen, counterfeit credit cards

Investigation and search warrant executed collaboratively by Red Deer and Sylvan Lake RCMP

Red Deer’s Stephanie Essensa back in the ring May 26th

Essensa joins Dekada lineup in Calgary

Norman Wiebe has registered as a nominee for the UCP in Red Deer South

Hospital and courthouse among pressing concerns to Wiebe

3 survivors after airliner with 110 aboard crashes in Cuba

It was Cuba’s worst aviation disaster in three decades and its third major air accident since 2010

Maskwacis and feds sign historic education agreement

The Maskwacis Education School Commission signed an agreement setting the stage for their education

Plane with 104 on board crashes on takeoff in Cuba

Boeing 737 operated by state airline Cubana crashed on takeoff from Jose Marti International Airport

UPDATED: Gunman opens fire in Texas high school, killing up to 10

Santa Fe High School which went on lockdown around 8 a.m. Friday

Coroner speaks about mix-up of Humboldt Broncos crash victims, release of name

A coroner involved says it wasn’t until an injured player woke up in hospital and said he was a different person that officials realized the mistake

‘Nowhere near close:’ U.S. rebuffs Trudeau hope for quick NAFTA deal

The United States declared the NAFTA countries were nowhere close to a deal in a statement Thursday

Prices at the pump spike as long weekend brings out Canadian drivers

Motorists in many parts of Canada are expected to see rising gasoline prices as they fire up their vehicles for road adventures on the Victoria Day long weekend.

Humboldt Broncos resolve trademark issue with junior hockey league

The Humboldt Broncos hockey club says they will have a team ready to hit the ice for the 2018-19 season.

Most Read