'Je suis Charlie.'
The terror massacre in Paris Wednesday, like the many acts of barbarianism that have been committed by terrorists leading up to this point, must unite the people of the world. This murderous act perpetrated at Charlie Hebdo was intended to silence the spirit and the voice of people with freedom of expression.
To me -- the son of immigrants, who for decades lived in a society where freedom of speech was considered a crime, and thousands of journalists were jailed because they dared to express themselves -- those killings really hit home.
I am still surprised that many politicians and leaders around the world continue to toe the line of political correctness in describing what these heinous crimes are: They are terroristic crimes against humanity, and they must be stopped.
In our society, every religion has the right to worship as they wish, every religion needs to be respected and freedom of expression needs to be honored. I also know that none of these three truths can exist without each other.
I understand that President Obama is trying to bring the attention of these matters to the developing world. Not too long ago he met with the African leaders in Washington and he voiced deep concerns about the protection of human rights, freedom of expression and freedom of religion. But it is one thing to speak of these things, and another to verify them -- and this is why the events in Paris hit so close to home for me.
We are about to launch negotiations with Cuba, which throughout their revolutionary history from the 1960s-1980s were cohorts with a long list of international organizations and governments that many would agree were not acting in the best interest of the United States.
Fidel Castro’s Cuba provided military assistance, training and cooperation to groups like the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). Castro was once able to count Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq as his closest friends and supporters, which were some of the most extremist anti-Israeli states in the region, as noted in 1999 paper Cuba in the Middle East: A Brief Chronology which can be found on the U.S. State Department website.
As recent as September, the communist nation’s ex-president penned a column in Cuba’s state media, attacking Sen. John McCain over U.S. policy in the Middle East, calling him “Israel’s most unconditional ally.” In the same column, he compared the NATO military alliance representatives to Nazi SS and accused the West of “cynicism.”
I hope that as President Obama begins to re-establish our relationship with Cuba, he remembers the country’s historic ties to dark characters. Amid the horrid terror that exists today, he must remind the Cuban leaders that the world cannot tolerate these acts. He must make it known that while we are willing to turn over a new leaf in our relationship, we must not and are not willing to forget the mistakes of the past which the Cuban revolution was associated with. We must work together to ensure that the Cuba's questionable relationships stay in the past.