My daughter was flying back to Paris from a fencing competition in China when last week’s awful events took place. She is all right, and I get to see her this coming week when Kathy and I join her and her brothers for a family holiday in London. We have other friends who live in Paris, but they are safe, if deeply shocked. Christopher Dickey, who has been Newsweek and The Daily Beast‘s Paris correspondent for years, was to have left the city for Havana, where he was to be the expert guide for a New York Times 8-day tour of Cuba: he immediately gave up the trip to stay behind with his wife, Carol. They went out for supper on Saturday night: the streets of the capital were deserted.
Many Islamic groups have already declared publicly, as they have about previous outrages, that they abhor such atrocities and condemn the perpetrators. But I wish they were more proactive. If peace-loving Muslims worldwide could organize themselves into some kind of policing or even paramilitary units to take on the members of their faith who are doing them such harm, I would feel far happier about their position. They need to marry actions to words. Maybe much is being done behind the scenes: but we do not hear about that. Given the likely backlash against Arab and Muslim immigrants throughout Europe and even further afield, it would be doubly in their interests to take positive action.