Edmund Burke once said that the only thing necessary for evil to triumph was if good men did nothing. No one in Paris can be accused of that now.
In a massive demonstration, 1.6 million people in the city of lights spoke out against Islamic extremism and the massacre of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists last week. Meanwhile, Al Qaeda and its affiliates have grown uncharacteristically quiet about their involvement. One might say that the good people of Paris silenced them.
No movement can succeed without proper branding, and the item of choice for Parisians has been the simple pencil and the statement “Je Suis Charlie,” or I am Charlie. It was thrilling to see how the average French citizenry rose up against the senseless violence and said for the whole world to see, “Enough is enough.”
If only there were some way to maintain all the momentum that has been generated with the same fervor and perseverance as the terrorists have mustered. One hopes an upcoming summit at the White House will offer specific steps to fight these attacks.
France has led the way for so many social and political movements (e.g., the French Revolution); one hopes this will be the beginning of the end for Islamic extremism. Religious Muslims need to see the failure of this strategy, and be more willing to espouse their faith based on the merits. That has always been the best way to gain followers in the long run.