Like many, I felt powerless watching the events of the #CharlieHebdo massacre unfold in front of my eyes. As news updates continued rolling in on Twitter it was not just sadness that I was feeling but anger too. Then, after reading an excellent article by Simon Jenkins on The Guardian I came to the realisation that fear, like anger is what the extremists want us to feel and that this is why we call them terrorists.
When such tragedies happen, Twitter, for all it's faults, can be a perfect place to find a bit of solace. In all this ugliness it was beautiful to see the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag trending in solidarity, all the messages of hope and images and words about the pen being mightier than any sword or gun. Whilst the world united against this attack on freedom of speech, here in Malta some decided to jump on the far end of the bandwagon and use these events to try to scare the rest of us about migration and integration.
I cannot understand how in one sentence a person can stand up for freedom of speech, yet in the same breath denounce the right to asylum. Basic Human Rights are not a pick and mix.
And so the vicious circle of fear and hatred continues. Instead of condemning the attack on Charlie Hebdo for what it was - a vile act of terrorism and an attempt to instil fear - these people are fuelling the same machine which led to these events and inadvertently aiding the terrorist cause.
Two of the cartoonists killed in the attack, Georges Wolinski and Jean Cabut were supporters of migrant rights in France. Using their death to promote an anti-migration sentiment in Malta goes beyond disrespect.
Don’t let them win. Now, more than ever, it’s time to speak up against fear and hatred.
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