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What If The Charlie Hebdo Massacre Happened In Egypt?

January 18, 2015

“I ask you to remain united – it’s our best weapon. It shows we are determined to fight against anything that can divide us. We must not be divided.” Those were the words of French President François Hollande in response to the tragic terrorist attack on Charlie Hebdo magazine headquarters more than a week ago. They rang true with the French people, who took to the streets last Sunday in what was called ‘the largest demonstration in French history’. A show of their unity. An affirmation of their right to free speech. An unrelenting stand in the face of oppressive terrorism. Watching the massive rally and the inspiring cohesion with which the French, and indeed the entire world, came together in light of this tragedy, one cannot help but wonder: what if the situation was here in Egypt? How similar (or different) would reactions be to this tragic event? What kind of responses would a terrorist-driven attack on free speech garner here in Egypt, a country whose very definition of free speech has always been a very elastic one? One that could be swiftly turned into ‘incitement of unrest’, ‘debauchery’…

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