With free speech comes responsibility

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The horrific events in France are yet another reminder that terrorism and terrorists are lurking everywhere – that nowhere and no one can ever be out of their sights.

France’s long-held concept and defence of free speech can be held as a candle to many less-tolerant nations around the globe.

Sadly, police officers, journalists and members of the public have paid the ultimate price because one group of so-called believers don’t believe all tongues have a right to be heard.

Much wiser men than Grey Matter might come up with the answer as to why there cannot be a worldwide brotherhood that can live in peace and harmony. But I doubt it.

Sadly, the yearning of our national bard Robert Burns that we could all brothers-be is as far away now than it was when it was penned by the ever-hopeful Ayrshire ploughman.

The unity shown by leaders of nations who gathered in Paris and marched with the multitudes to show that the knee will not be bent to terror was welcome and commendable.

But as I looked along the line of those national leaders, I did have to wonder just how much – large or small – they and those who have held their offices before them have played in creating the stage upon which the ugly, angry and bloody act of terrorism is performed.

The French marches and those around the world showed the determined face of decency.

It was a two-fingered signal to the terrorists that whatever they throw at us, they will always lose.

No matter how much blood is spilled, it will be cleaned away. And after the mourning, there will always be a new morning.

There must always be free speech and freedom of expression.

And that goes for all creeds and colours.

But with the privilege and right of free speech comes the responsibility of how that freedom and right is exercised.