After the birth of my daughter I was hoping to return to writing with a more upbeat message, but that is obviously very difficult at the moment. So if the past is anything to go by, here is what will likely happen in the west in the coming days:
The terrorists Said en Cherif Kouachi will probably die in a firefight with the police. For about a day we will all continue to be shocked, saddened and resolved in our commitment to free speech. Then, we will be continually bombarded by media and politicians with the reminder that this has nothing to do with Islam and we can’t blame Islam. But that is a fallacy. Of course we shouldn’t judge all Muslims for the actions of a few extremists, but the fact is that these people have sought and found a justification for their cruelty in their religion. And let’s face it, they didn’t have to look hard.
Will these threats disappear if we get rid of religion? No, sadly humans can bring themselves to killing one another over supporting the wrong sports team, so clearly the problem runs a lot deeper than the belief or disbelief in one deity or another. But brutal attacks like these should motivate us to evolve beyond strife and aggression, and to unite in freedom. And freedom will prevail in the end as those who oppose it will be won over by common sense and decency, or at least they will run out of pawns who are willing to die for a lost cause.
I’d like to say I’m hoping for justice to be done, but clearly in this case there is no such thing.