I have watched the unfolding events surrounding the Charlie Hebdo incident with great interest and mixed emotions. First and foremost, my faith in people has been restored to a large extent. The display of solidarity across nationalities and cultures in opposition to extremism and in support of freedom of expression has been most uplifting.
However, the response from political figures makes me fear for the future. Their comments contain a concerning undertone of increased police powers and restriction on citizens’ rights. In this anniversary year of Magna Carta and its everlasting principles against the arbitrary use of power, we may yet see an over-zealous reaction which flies in the face of the charter.
The creation of additional, oppressive legislative provisions would count as a success for extremism as government takes up the role of terrorising its own citizens. I would hope, ask and beg that lessons are learned from what millions across the world have shown they hold dear. A true victory over extremism is a strengthening of those fundamental values which are under attack and which make for a society worth living in.
Hans Dieter Kehler, DB Law Solicitors, Camborne, Cornwall