Middle age should be a time for clarity and reflection, though I have often found myself too 'busy' to ponder the big questions of life. Work and home activities seem to dominate my waking hours.
But I have always held the belief that we, human beings, endowed with the capacity for reasoning and intellect, must be destined for great things. And we, as citizens of this world, have a duty and responsibility to try to make our world a better place.
And sometimes it takes a horrendous act like yesterday’s terrorist attack in Paris to remind us that freedom, equality, liberty and respect are not such abstract concepts and definitely should not be taken for granted. It painfully reminds us of the fact that we must be conscientious of what we enjoy as unalienable rights and be vigilant in defending them.
We increasingly live in an era of violence, intolerance and deception. An era during which terrorist acts are carried out in the name of religion, attacks without provocation are justified as pre-emptive strikes, and civilian deaths are excused as collateral damage.
The culprits have many faces and many religions, and are citizens of many different countries. And maybe worst of all, unless we receive a painful wake-up call like the one yesterday, the good people stood by and did little — yes, I believe in the goodness of human being.
Let us never forget how we feel today and be part of the voice that will defend our rights and safeguard our future.
The following passage expresses my sentiments on yesterday’s events more eloquently than I am capable of, and I would like to share with you. It is an extract of various US legal notes regarding Constitution amendments.
Picture: A reaction to yesterday's attack on the Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris by Canadian cartoonist Michael de Adder.
That religion, or the duty which we owe to our Creator, and the manner of discharging it, can be directed only by reason and conviction, and not by force and violence; and therefore all men have a natural, equal, and unalienable right to the exercise of religion according to the dictates of conscience.
(That) the people have a right to freedom of speech, and of writing and publishing their sentiments. That freedom of the press is one of the greatest bulwarks of liberty and ought not to be violated.
Xiling "Tess" Zhou
Tess considers herself an internationalist with a curious track record of moving to successively smaller and smaller countries. Born in China and having spent 15 years in America and 2 more in the UK, she now lives in De Pinte (East Flanders) with her Flemish husband, half-Flemish/half-Chinese daughter and two (Flemish) chickens.
She works full-time in Brussels, provides financial and business advice in her free time, writes a blog to catch over-flown thoughts, schemes about her next start-up at night and aspires to raise a trilingual baby. You can reach her at email@example.com.