Last week the beheading of a French school teacher by an Islamic terrorist in broad daylight shocked the world. Barbaric attacks on free speech and the exchange of ideas are taking place in Europe. Similar acts have occurred in other western countries in recent years.
The grisly death of the French teacher sends a clear message: Western citizens cannot feel safe expressing their views, not even at home – on their very own soil. Our governments have failed.
At Twitter I started an unofficial small survey, below, to get an idea of the extent of fear people harbor when it comes to expressing controversial views. According to Google Analytics, the vast majority of the readers at this site reside in Europe and North America.
The results, though not representative, are somewhat shocking. 75% say they would not post the Mahomed caricatures together with their name and address because they fear retaliation. This, in their home countries.
Would you post the Mahomed caricatures with your name and address?
— Pierre L. Gosselin (@NoTricksZone) October 20, 2020
The terrorists have won the first battle in Europe
This tells us the terrorists are indeed winning and that our governments are failing to provide us with a sense of security when it comes to expressing views on controversial topics that need to be openly discussed.
Though the French police are clamping down hard on the radicals behind the heinous crime, citizens will remain convinced that free speech on particular topics is no longer safe and that the governments are unable to protect us.
Western citizens now believe that radical elements exist among us and that our governments have failed to keep them out and unable to do anything about until after tragedy happens. Radicalism has been allowed to stream through our borders and now it here terrorizing us. It’s here and it’s not going to go away. Our governments have absolutely no concept on how to uproot it. Now 75% are afraid to speak up publicly. How sad.
Freedom of expression and open discussion has already lost the first battle.
Additional reading (in German): www.spiegel.de