On Wednesday, Tunisia, a country enriched by 3,000 years of history and celebrating a newfound freedom, was struck at its core -- the capital city of Tunis. This soil, of gatherings and of civilizations, this hospitable and tolerant soil, was transformed into a battlefield where freedom and obscurantism came face to face with each other.
For those who aren't familiar with the National Bardo Museum, it is known to be the second-largest museum on the African continent and one whose galleries are well renowned in the Mediterranean basin. The largest museum in Tunisia and a key tourist destination, Bardo houses an exceptional collection of Roman mosaics, several sculptures and other archeological pieces. This extraordinary cradle of culture, which traces the country's history back several millennia through a wide variety of major works of art, became the scene of a deadly attack. The marks of these successive civilizations -- immortalized through these magnificent works of art -- were sullied by bloodthirsty and cowardly hands.
This isn't the first terrorist attack that Tunisia has fallen victim to since the 2011 revolution, which overthrew the regime of dictatorial leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. In fact, Tunisia is hardly the only country that has been the target of these barbaric acts. Even so, this attack is sadly unique, because it affects several nations at once. Families from around the world are grieving now, sharing the same pain in this face of this horror. I think of that cleaning lady who woke up early to make it to work without knowing that she would never return home to her family. I think of those unconcerned and happy cruise ship passengers eager to visit the museum, not knowing that they would never leave it, and I think of the policeman who carried out his duty to the very end.
Solidarity is more necessary than ever when we're faced with this pain. Today I am not just "Charlie" or "Bardo." I am against terrorism. I am against barbarians. I am against these assassins. I am also speaking out against the French magazine Liberation, which chose this headline to illustrate the tragedy: "It's Over Tunisia. . ." No! Tunisia is not finished and neither is democracy, whether it be ancient or nascent. Our democracies will conquer these barbarians. Let's stop all the talk and do something about it!
Update: As I speak, Liberation has changed its headline. A victory for all its indignant readers.