I have no doubt the perpetrators of this act, and I don’t mean the puppets who fired the guns, but the vicious masterminds behind this atrocity, have their cold hearts set firmly on breeding more mistrust, more intolerance and more hate. I am certain that they are rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of those reactionary voices in our society who will now, as a result of yesterday’s action, do their utmost to incite and ferment racial hatred.
Let’s not give them what they want! There’s already enough hate in this poor old world without adding to its burden. Just a week into the New Year, naive though it may seem, let’s cling to the Christmas message of peace and goodwill to all; I know we live in an increasingly secular society, but surely this most simple wish can’t seriously offend anyone, can it? And, when we find our tolerance tested in the face of incomprehensible savagery, the like of which Paris witnessed yesterday, when cartoonists became the targets for gunmen, let us hold firm to our values and our belief in law and democracy, imperfect though these may seem at times, and the right of everyone to freedom of speech.
Finally, returning to Christmas and its message of compassion: at the end of one of my most loved books, once Scrooge has been redeemed, Dickens tells us that he (Scrooge) kept the spirit of the season in his heart three hundred and sixty-five days a year, “... and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!”