Charlie Hebdo, What Will it Take? Part II

The sun shines down on everyone, no exception.

The sun shines down on everyone, no exception.

Scary things are afoot. I’m fortunate not to live in an area of high terrorist threat. I can sleep at night. That’s not the case for people in Nigeria, France and lots of other places. Like many other concerned citizens of the world, I want to help. I’m especially concerned that horror and fear will harden people’s hearts as much as rage hardens the terrorists’. Terror, rage and hatred —What can we do? (And that “we” includes ‘Charlie Hebdo.’)

We need to do the most important thing of all: Evolve Consciously. This means doing our own inner work to grow up.  It means to evolve into more fully human beings–get over racism, get over hate, get over ourselves! It’s time to realize how closed our hearts really are, to ourselves and to each other. Closed is unhealthy. It’s time to open our eyes; open our hearts. Music can help. Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” is a song that reaches deep. The melody is stirring and the lyrics are profound. They reflect the pain of global struggle, yet Cohen is still able to inspire hope:

“Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering / There is a crack, a crack in everything / That’s how the light gets in.” (Nothing and no one is perfect; we have to break in order to heal.)

“Every heart, every heart / to love will come / But like a refugee.” (Not maybe but will. Yes? Have a listen and tell me what you think.) For the lyrics, click here.

“Anthem” by Leonard Cohen

What Will It Take?

What will it take to open hearts hardened by fear, rage, apathy or anything else? Must it take feeling a sense of profound loss, “like a refugee”? From another Cohen song (included in Part I of this blog): “The heart has got to open in a fundamental way.”

The message is clear: Hate is not the answer, nor is egotism, nor is head-level thinking, which has already wreaked too much devastation. The only answer is LOVE. Nothing namby pamby—this is potent stuff!

The negative masculine way has got to stop dominating. The world is sick of it. Healthy masculine and feminine energy must come together (take it as you will, Beatles’ song included) and start effecting a transformation of the world. Yin and Yang are designed to work together, not apart. Let’s get off our butts!

Love is Power


Consider the words of the French paleontologist, philosopher and priest, Teilhard de Chardin. What if Teilhard is right about the power of love? What if the “energies of love” are capable of releasing a power much greater than that of any guns, bombs or hate?

LOVE is the only power that can evolve humankind beyond the madness of same-old violent aggression.

Lao Tzu

Mastery of self is humble power, Lao Tzu

Northwest Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China. Photo by Jingxiong Gao.

Leonard Cohen and Teilhard de Cardin reveal a wisdom of the heart. So does Lǎozi 老子, or Lao Tzu as he is called in the West. Approximately 2600 years ago, this Chinese Taoist sage shared a brilliant, heart-infused definition of power. He wrote: “Mastery of others is strength; mastery of self is power.” In keeping with the spirit of Taoism and with the horror of terrorism in mind, I have added two words to the normal translation of the quote: brutish and humble.

Here’s my take: Lao Tzu is talking about conscious evolution. He’s telling us that true power comes from within. It involves the working together of intellect and heart. It develops slowly, naturally and only as the result of honest self-examination and the taking of responsibility for one’s own life. Some refer to this mastery of self as “spiritual work”; others, as “personal work.”

Self-mastery is the true power, and true power emanates from a humble spirit. It is not easy to come by, I know, but what else is really worth such profound effort?

A little over two months ago, I visited the new campus of the Northwest Polytechnical University in Xi’an, China. I was moved by a sculpture that was commissioned to epitomize the philosophy of the university. A warrior is bowed, his face touching the ground. He is self-disciplined, a peaceful warrior.  He represents “Power with Humility.”

Brutish Arrogance

Terrorists and bullies, no matter of what persuasion, display no humility. Rather, they display arrogance. What’s being perpetrated by fanatics in the name of religion represents a brutish, arrogant attempt at mastery. And what’s being perpetrated by fools in the name of “freedom of speech” also represents a brutish, arrogant attempt at mastery.

Sowing the Seeds of Karma?

Terrorists are psychotic killers. Why then is Charlie Hebdo continuing with the needless middle-finger provocation at what is sacred for Muslims”?!

“Just because we can, na nah na, you can’t catch us!” We Are Right. (Look at last blog, Part I: WAR.) Really, is this what it boils down to? Sandbox level mentality with the deadliest of consequences?

We’re All in This Thing Called Life Together

Charlie Hebdo’s messages are extremely offensive, and not just to the millions of Muslims of the world. For those unaware, Muslims happen to be the biggest target of Islamic crazed fundamentalists. “If you don’t subscribe to our way, you are one of them and must die!” For instance, Boko Haram slaughtered 2000 innocent villagers in Nigeria the same day Charlie Hebdo was attacked. Why hurt innocent people even more? If anything, most Muslims in the world need and deserve our support! We have a common enemy—extremist wackos on a holier-than-thou rampage. It’s time for the West to stop being so blithely arrogant.

Freedom, Responsibility and Wise Restraint

Charlie Hebdo has the “democratic right” to freedom of speech, but isn’t Charlie’s flaunting of this freedom really sowing seeds of more destruction? In my view, the aggressive exercising of this “right” should be subjugated to the humane responsibility of:

  • showing respect to 20 % of the world’s population
  • trying to protect innocent people from psychotic killers

Perhaps the publishers of Charlie Hebdo figure restraint would be showing disloyalty to their colleagues who died? Perhaps the buyers of the paper feel the same way? But which would you prefer: a greater chance at staying alive, or a greater insistence on demonstrating our “right,” which just might lead to being dead?

As I wrote in Part I of this blog, Charlie Hebdo’s stopping the provocation would NOT equate to caving in! It would not mean their “winning” and our so-called “losing.” And what about all the people buying the hate-mongering paper? Aren’t we better than that?

“Discretion is the better part of valor.” Wise restraint equates with being stronger than our low level impulses. Taking the low road is letting ego run the show, good ole ego, the thing that’s caused every bloody conflict the world has ever seen.

How about we take the High Road? Let our Higher Selves take command? Doesn’t the High Road lead people out of danger better than any low road? I think so.




By | 2017-05-28T18:37:21+00:00 January 25th, 2015|World Matters|30 Comments

About the Author:

Ramona McKean is creating a "Bridge of Light" (aka “a Bridge of the Heart”) to promote cross-cultural appreciation and awareness. An author and speaker, she lives in Victoria, BC, Canada.


  1. Maxwell Ivey January 29, 2015 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    Hi ramona; yes these days we have too many people who talk about exercising their rights to free speech and expression but feel none of the responsibility for the effects of their speech on their audience intended and otherwise. i don’t remember which supreme court justice said it but one of the biggies said that a man’s right to swing his fist ends at the point of the other man’s nose and that no one has the right to scream fire in a crowded theatre. there has been so much more violence since the charlie chabod incident because of their aggressive use of their right to free speech. and while many may disagree with him i thought what obama said last week was interesting. he said that we need to close quantanimo. one of his arguments for this was that in addition to not being in agreement with what this country stands for its a symbol used by our enemies to recruit new fighters and spread the message that we are evil. hoping more people will think about the consequences before exercising their free speech rights, max

    • Ramona January 29, 2015 at 11:59 pm - Reply

      Hi Max,
      Yes, rights come with responsibilities but many people don’t like to acknowledge that. It’s a little kids’ world out there in terms of mass moral development, it seems to me. The #jesuischarlie thing is a fad now. Fads make money and fads are, well, trendy. (Kind of sickening actually.) People jump on the band wagon with little if any thought. Well it’s “freedom of speech” so it must be good! (OUR speech, mind you, not not anyone else’s who disagrees with “us.”)

      Guantanamo Bay–what a hideous scar on the American nation. SO many of the detainees, for years there now, were/are innocent. Considering the injustice they have received at the hands of a nation that prides itself on being “democratic,” how will they be once they get out? That’s a sad and scary thought. Then there’s the good ole abuse and torture of detainees at Abu Ghraib. Americans and other Western nations wonder why there is hatred for the West? Where is our accountability? Screaming and yelling about “Muslim terrorists” is one big cop out and smoke screen for people who don’t want to take responsibility. We in Western nations have got one heck of a big act to clean up.

      Thank you, Max, for your thoughtful comments. I always enjoy reading the points you make.

  2. Jacqueline Gum February 1, 2015 at 10:56 am - Reply

    I’m not so sure where you get your facts that the detainees at Guantanamo are innocent? That’s a pretty strong statement with out backing it up with factual information. Matter of fact, the rate of recidivism for those released is almost 100%. Those folks have rejoined the jihad…and they are beheading innocent people and posting the vile act on U-tube. And I also think you are making a great generalization that those who support free speech are prejudiced against Muslims. My concern is the violent reaction to every action. This goes both ways. Some of your verbiage here,”perpetrated by fools” and “sandbox mentality” could be regarded by some as incendiary too. The problem in my mind is all this righteousness that turns into self-righteousness…the finger pointing as in Abu Grab which then justifies a beheading and besmirches the good men and women who have fought and died for our freedoms. There are wrong doings everywhere…but there is plenty of right doing too. Too little attention is paid to that, as I see it. While there may be a consequence for any action, sometimes the consequence may be far greater than the action called for. Your child steals a candy bar…is cutting his hand off an appropriate response? Some cultures believe so.

    • Ramona February 1, 2015 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Jacquie, for your comments. Regarding Guantanamo Bay, you’re right, I should have refrained from making such a strong claim without factual back-up info. Basing my comment on material I’ve read is insufficient. (I’m sorry if it came across that I was saying all were/are innocent.) It’s my understanding (and I could well be incorrect about this) that American military prisons operate differently from other prisons. Not all democratic principles (including “innocent until proven guilty”) need apply in a place such as Guantanamo Bay.

      I’m sure the “rate of recidivism” is utterly horrific (not a strong enough word). In addition, I can envision the detainees who actually were innocent (*and denied rights by the country detaining them for several years) going home as seething, hate-filled misfits. It could well be alluring for them to join a terrorist group—they’d be a “fit,” they’d have a group to “belong to” and they’d have a way to wreak vengeance, including the beheading of innocent and vulnerable Westerners, which is unmitigated EVIL. NOTHING justifies terror. You wrote: “sometimes the consequence may be far greater than the action called for.” I agree with you 100%.
      (*Their own countries would likely do much much “worse.”)

      Much is a matter of perception. I imagine that what terrorists perceive and promulgate to the Muslim world as “abuse” at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib provides fuel to feed hateful stereotyping of all Westerners; hence, their “justification,” as perverse as it is. I think it is important for people everywhere to not necessarily buy into their own perceptions. It’s important to examine them and to realize that our perceptions are really views/opinions; they are not “The Truth.”

      Something that I am most thankful for in the West, especially as evidenced in the USA (because the USA is so high profile): When we screw up and do bad things, we can make them public. This gives us a chance to at least try to make right the wrongs. Sometimes an inordinate amount of time goes by, but at least there are those brave souls who eventually find out and blow the whistle, thereby helping people to see “beneath the surface and the secrecy.” Then movies are made from those incidents. Despite how messed up people generally are, I think that deep down most of us are good; we want to be and to do good, to ourselves and to other people. It’s just that the “deep down” is too far down for some people. It takes a lot of courage and commitment to plummet our depths. Growing in consciousness is a big responsibility.

      By the way, I did not say that “those who support free speech are prejudiced against Muslims.” It is, however, my view that the writers/artists of Charlie Hebdo are prejudiced against Muslims. My strong comment about “fools in the name of ‘freedom of speech’” was a specific reference to Charlie Hebdo. I knew there’d be people who’d take exception (perhaps great exception) to my comment. Freedom of speech is a right worth defending vigorously, and it’s one that in my view should be used responsibly, especially when the stakes are so high. I see Charlie Hebdo’s behaviour as irresponsible and foolish. “Sandbox level mentality” to me means “might is right,” whether the might be via physical means or otherwise. And, yes, it “goes both ways.”

      The “Charlie Hebdo” business and its initial aftermath were driving me crazy. I do not like writing about such distressing matters; however, writing my last two blogs has served a useful purpose for me. I was able to release a lot of strong, churned up feeling and I took the big risk of expressing views that I knew would be unpopular. I now feel much freer to focus on what’s good and “right.” You so beautifully articulate what I think as well: “There are wrong doings everywhere, but there is plenty of right doing too.” YES. The beautiful and good uplift and inspire. That’s where I want to go.

      And, Jacquie, again I thank you for taking the time to write. We may not agree on certain matters and that is okay, as far as I’m concerned. I do and will continue to value your views, no matter what.

  3. Patricia Weber February 1, 2015 at 11:00 am - Reply

    So heart centered Ramona. I follow Neale Donald Walsch. I mention it because on March 12 he is doing something – in partial answer to your question, What Will It Take? He’s creating an event “where all religions and non-believers can come together for the benefit of all humankind.” In my mind it’s going to take more people like him with a huge following, creating events like this to help make a fundamental shift in what is happening all around the world to get us to a better place.

    • Ramona February 1, 2015 at 11:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Patricia,
      I did not know about Neale Donald Walsh’s March 12th event to bring people together “for the benefit of all humankind.” Wow, thank you for that information! Yes, it is about fundamental shifts. A fancy way of saying this is “paradigm shifts.” We individually and collectively need to start seeing the world with the eyes of our hearts. Truly, we are all in this thing called life together.
      Thank you for writing. Many blessings to you from me.

  4. Lenie February 1, 2015 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Ramona, once again I applaud you. What a powerful message.This “self-mastery is the true power, and true power emanates from a humble spirit” is what is lacking in the world today. We focus on brute force rather than the humble spirit. You said in a comment on BHB that you want to change the world – keep writing like this and you just may have the chance.

    • Ramona February 1, 2015 at 11:40 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your support, Lenie. My last two blogs were hard for me to post. I figured I’d be expressing views that many people would object to. (It’s safer to be “nice.”) Sometimes I have so much passion that goes crazy for an appropriate and effective release. In terms of “changing the world,” I need to develop a thicker skin and a greater degree of gutsiness. A response such as yours is heartening and very much appreciated.

  5. Donna Janke February 1, 2015 at 5:28 pm - Reply

    What a powerful post. And it brings forward some messages about what true power is. Love, respect, and humility might go further to solve our world issues than all the displays of force and posturing. I love your choice to include Leonard Cohen’s song “Anthem”. I read somewhere he said that song was 10 years in the making.

    • Ramona February 2, 2015 at 12:31 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Donna. “Displays of force and posturing” may have some effect in the short term. But in the long term? I cannot see that they have ever worked. It will take people from everywhere to NOT get sucked into “either side’s” rhetoric, to get educated about what the real issues may be and to unite in a spirit of care for all and our planet. The scale that this needs to happen at may well be unprecedented in the world. So be it. There’s a lot of healing to be done– individually, nationally and internationally. We need to use our creative and intelligent minds and our powerful hearts to effect a solution.

  6. Ken Dowell February 2, 2015 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Probably shortly after you wrote this another video appeared showing the beheading of a Japanese journalist by ISIS. No Charlie Hedbo provocation there, although the Islamic State apparently has said it was in retaliation for aid Japan supplied to one of its enemies. I bring this up because since WWII Japan has been a pacifist nation. How do they react to the beheading of two of their citizens?

    • Ramona February 2, 2015 at 12:22 pm - Reply

      Absolutely unconscionable!! Sickening. What do you think it will take?

  7. Tim February 3, 2015 at 9:24 am - Reply

    You are correct that free speech comes with responsibility and it seems many have forgotten that part and only want free speech to be free when it agrees with their own personal beliefs. This is not new however and goes back to the flag burning free speech episode of the early 90’s. In terms of Guantanamo prisoners being innocent I am finding that statement a bit of a difficult swallow. Also the Abu Ghraib incidents. I felt as I read this that America was being singled out for a wartime atrocity. Yes, it is horrendous but I have studied many wars and this is part of the plan of war; it always has been. I am not excusing the practice only recognising that war is nasty and nasty things happen in war. Like many issues we sanitize it down to make it palatable when in fact we should be going in the opposite direction. I am not disputing war crimes, agreeing with torture, killing innocent people, or one of thousands of horrific acts that take place in war. What I am saying is that focus should be on two other components. The good stories that come out of conflict, human stories. And secondly the prevention of these things happening again. I agree with you about human evolution. As it stands right now we are infants. When we grow past teens maybe we then have a chance.

    • Ramona February 3, 2015 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      Hi Tim,
      I regret that I said anything about Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. Those remarks were not in my blog post. Rather, they were part of a too hasty (and a too unthinking) response I made to another person who brought up the subject of GB. I apologize to you and others for that and for any sense of my singling out the USA.

      Nastiness does indeed beget nastiness, and I agree with you about the impulse to sanitize for the sake of “palatability.” Yes, as a species we are just infants. Babies do learn quickly though. They (we) need all the wholesome role-modelling they (we) can get. The more that individuals evolve, the more that they will have a wholesome influence on others. There really is hope. These kind of dialogues are part of the process.

      You mention “good stories that come out of conflict, human stories.” There is one in particular that comes to mind. Last summer I met a couple named Bruce Logan and Elaine Head, who co-authored a book called Back to Vietnam: Tours of the Heart. Bruce served two tours of duty in Vietnam in the 60’s and 70’s. Since then, he and his wife Elaine have engaged in an enormous amount of humanitarian work in Vietnam. The stories they include in their book are honest, touching and inspiring. From the most horrible of human created events (such as war) can come some of the most beautiful expressions of the human spirit. Bruce and Elaine’s work is such an example.

      Thank you, Tim, for taking the time to express clear and appropriate points. I appreciate your feedback, as always.

  8. Christine Larsen February 3, 2015 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    Powerful and inspiring words Ramona. Whenever extreme values and opinions are expressed so strongly, and rejoinders and opposite opinions emerge, each have their value in helping the reader to find his own belief and process his/her own support level. I admire your courage.

    • Ramona February 3, 2015 at 1:00 pm - Reply

      Christine, thank you, truly. I continue to learn, and I continue to challenge myself to risk. I value this kind of forum whereby people can express divergent views without engaging in personal attack. When we humans operate in a spirit of mutual respect, there is so much mutual gain to be made. Expressions of mutual respect publicly shown, even in comments to “little” blog posts, surely provide a source of positive energy in our world. I value your feedback.

  9. andleeb February 5, 2015 at 12:34 am - Reply

    If we are going in a plane and we start shouting,”Bomb, bomb” and then, “I was kidding.” This is not freedom of speech I feel. I really like when you write, “It means to evolve into more fully human beings–get over racism, get over hate, get over ourselves!” I think love is the answer.
    Love, respect, and humility can solve our problems. It’s all about accepting the difference and understanding that we have only one Earth and the best is to share it with peace.

    • Ramona February 5, 2015 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      When you come down to it, we are all neighbours, aren’t we? Being good neighbours really is a beneficial idea. Thank you for your response, Andleeb. 🙂

  10. Kire Sdyor February 5, 2015 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Ramona, I think that your comments above about making comments in haste is part of our new world’s problem. Everyone has a position they are defending and things escalate from words to deeds quickly when the words are instantaneously shared with the world. There have always been individuals and small groups who use their voice to hurt rather than help but never before has it been so easy for those who may not have the skills of a world class leader, be they despot or savior.

    • Ramona February 5, 2015 at 8:21 pm - Reply

      Words are powerful; combine them with modern social media, and the potential for good or ill can grow exponentially. “Making comments in haste” can be “part of our new world’s problem.” Add miscommunication to the mix and yikes! Thank you for sharing your views.

  11. Andy February 5, 2015 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    Although I could write a term paper in response to this post, I’ll limit myself to a few short points.

    (1) Thank you for being willing to address a relatively controversial topic: I sincerely hope that the flak you have gotten does not dissuade you from doing so in the future.

    (2) I’m an American, and I don’t feel the least bit offended if the U.S. is singled out for being responsible for the mess in the Middle East. After all, it was the U.S. who invaded Iraq in 2003, and I don’t believe that IS(IS) would exist in the first place had Saddam Hussein been left in power.

    (3) Re the innocence or guilt of Guantánamo detainees, this sort of thing is supposed to be determined by actually putting the detainees on trial, which hasn’t happened, and until those trials are held it is certainly your prerogative, Ramona, to hold that the detainees are innocent until proven guilty. By holding the detainees indefinitely, the U.S. sinks to the level of a third-world dictatorship.

    (4) I stated my views about Charlie Hebdo last week but let me add this:
    There is a difference between genuine satire and mere ridicule. If you want the former, you should read Mad or The Onion. Charlie Hebdo falls squarely in the latter category: let’s not make it out to be more than it is.

    (5) I’m not sure I agree with you that “love” is the answer. I’d settle for all of us minding our own business and leaving well enough alone; however, as long as those in power don’t face any sort of accountability for their actions, that’s not going to happen.

    That’ll do it for now. Keep up the good work and I’ll talk to you later.

    • Ramona February 5, 2015 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Hi Andy,
      That you could write a term paper in response to this blog is a fascinating consideration. I’m sure you have a wealth of ideas. The insightful comments you share here suggest that there’s “much more than meets the eye” as regards world problems. No need to agree with the “love” answer; “minding one’s own business and leaving well enough alone” would appear pretty loving to me under a lot of circumstances.

      As regards your last point, I see the lack of accountability for those in power as a problem of gargantuan proportions. That lack could well be the source of many of our severest problems today. I too have a lot more I could say, but this will do for now.

      Stay tuned for a “blog of beauty” next time—a non-controversial topic about a person loved by 100’s of millions yet virtually unheard of in the Western world. (Tissues may be in order.)

      Thank you, Andy, for your encouragement! It is most appreciated.

  12. Laurie Hurley February 9, 2015 at 7:27 am - Reply

    Watching the news every night – the only TV I really watch on a regular basis is depressing, at best.I make it a point not to publicly comment on political news online. Suffice it to say, none of what you wrote is news to me – Leonard Cohen is fabulous and poignant, I feel blessed that we live in an area where we are not threatened, scared, and unstable on a daily basis. I think Andy’s fifth point sums up my feelings as well.

    • Ramona February 9, 2015 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Laurie, we don’t even have a tv in our house and I’m glad. (News seems to get to me online or on CBC radio.) I too feel blessed to live where I do, and I’m grateful for music that touches me in meaningful ways.

  13. Safariontheblog February 9, 2015 at 9:18 am - Reply

    Wow Powerful and inspiring words Ramona. I admire your courage and applaud you for this post. Keep it up x

    • Ramona February 9, 2015 at 2:47 pm - Reply

      I am the least contentious person I know (too sensitive, I think). I prefer to avoid controversial subjects, unless there’s something about them that simply won’t leave me alone and that screams at me to write publicly. I truly appreciate your support. Thank you.

  14. A.K. Andrew February 12, 2015 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    The freedom of speech issue is a tricky one, but I think with regard to Charlie Hebdo, they are not anti-muslim as they make fun of all religions – that’s just part of what satire does. The violent reaction is wrong, and unequivocally wrong. To say you can’t say things because they might have a negative reaction would have stopped the forward progression of racial equality, women’s rights as well as gay rights. We can’t live in fear of another’s reaction, however violent that is. If we do, then we are “letting the terrorists win”. Freedom of speech has to be for all – right, left & center.

    • Ramona February 12, 2015 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Yes, the freedom of speech issue is a tricky one and it can be a loaded one too. Thank you for your views.

  15. Christine February 16, 2015 at 3:15 am - Reply

    Really interesting post, Ramona.
    Your statement about Guantanemo detainees being innocent is, in many cases, true. There are many detainees who have never been charged with a crime, and many more who have been cleared for release yet are still stuck in Guantanamo. Many others gave statements of guilt under horrific torture, and so their ‘guilt’ has been forced from them under illegal duress.

    The freedom of speech issue is a tricky one. Charlie Hebdo have depicted racist images on their covers for a long time. What people tend to forget about when it comes to free speech is that in supporting the right to free speech, it means you support all forms of free speech, including racist and extreme views. That is the uncomfortable thing about freedom or speech.
    I believe that the tragedy of the Charlie Hebdo situation has confused the issue. In 2009, a cartoonist was fired from Charlie Hebdo for featuring a cartoon about Jewish stereotypes. That is not an example of a publication that celebrates freedom of speech.

    • Ramona February 16, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Hi Christine,
      Thank you for your response. Indeed, lack of charges and admission of “guilt” wrung through torture don’t mesh with my views on democracy. Not justifying acts of terror for even one nano-second, I think it would be of value for us to look at the deeper possible sources of motivation. Causes need to be addressed or we go nowhere but backwards. That’s my view, at any rate. I came across this thought-provoking article by a NY Times foreign correspondent who worked in the Middle East for many years: “Paris Attacks: Rage of the Dispossessed.”

      Another article I read recently put a well-articulated spin on freedom of speech that made a lot of sense to me. “Free Speech and Respect for All”. Author Sheila Flood discusses the freedom in the context of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

      I appreciate your feedback, Christine. Thank you for taking the time to write.

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