It is not enough that in one of my countries my freedoms have been reduced to their finite expression, just enough that I am not forced to leave right now. Though the clock is running faster.
But my other country has been struck in what it is dearest in our hearts: freedom of expression, freedom to dissent, freedom to be civilized, freedom to make fun of.
The well prepared attack in Paris today was as deliberate as 9/11 was. The real difference is the number of bodies. Both attacks aimed at destroying a core value of Western Civilization. At the WTC it was freedom to live as you see fit, freedom to try to make a life for yourself. At Charlie Hebdo it was freedom to think.
And the world has understood that very well. I think that not even 9/11 raised such an unanimous condemnation as today did. Not because 9/11 was less despicable than today, but because it has finally become clear for all that a small group of people want war, not a war between civilizations, not a war on different interests, but a war between civilization and barbarism. Secretary John Kerry ever careful to downplay his francophone past spoke in French. The Italian prime minister polished French reminded that for many educated Italians speaking French was natural. Barack Obama reminded us of the shared destiny of France and the US since the beginning, in all aspects now. We saw Iran and Saudi Arabia, and former French colonies sending supporting messages to France.
Even Maduro felt obliged to chime in through Twitter, even though his regime has been attacking and killing journalists for the past 15 years. How quickly he forgets that on 9/11 Lina Ron became famous for protesting against the US embassy in favor of Bin Laden men. But Chavez and too many chavistas have been promoting barbarity of all types and maybe suddenly they felt a chill, they felt that this time around they may want to pretend to belong to the civilized rude awakening. The world is going to look harder on those who fake it.
I truly think that Chalie Hebdo is the epilogue of 9/11, a cycle completed. We had a chance to deal with those facts and causes for a decade but we have not been able to come together on solutions. Now, time is over, we must confront our failings. Or it is going to get worse.
— Ruben L. Oppenheimer (@RLOppenheimer) January 7, 2015