In the wake of the massacre of the journalistic staff of Charlie Hebdo, Western political leaders have ramped up their discourse on the “war on terror”.  Here in Canada and elsewhere, we will most certainly witness the continued expansion of police investigative powers at the expense of democratic rights and liberties.  We can further expect greater military intervention in the Middle East.

There is no doubt that the Charlie Hebdo massacre was an act of terror.  But how should one define the reality of innocent civilians who die each day as a result of Western bombing missions in the Middle East?  Can it not be said that they too are victims of terror?  And what of a police officer who arrests and detains an individual in the middle of the night on suspicion alone (a power enshrined in our Combatting Terrorism Act), particularly where the suspicion proves unfounded.  Would such a person not perceive the action as one of terror?

The tragedy of the Charlie Hebdo massacre and the subsequent murder of 4 hostages in a kosher supermarket must not serve to empower Western governments, in the name of the war on terror, to continue to erode our most fundamental rights and commit atrocities abroad