Sometimes the importance of motor racing and all its meaningless politics fades to insignificance. Yesterday was such a day. It was an extraordinary period for France, the country where I choose to live. It was a day when the French government sent a strong message to all those who seek to attack France and the values for which it stands.
The greatest victory over terrorism is not achieved by the brave men of the GIGN or RAID, it is achieved by all of us. Terrorism seeks to disrupt and to create fear. So the best response is to go on living a normal life and not being afraid to say what you think; to tell these murderous fanatics that their simplistic beliefs are worthless and that their actions will only harden our resolve.
So today I am off to the local market – the kind of place that people all over the world dream of visiting. I will worry about whether the clementines are tasty, see what exotic mushrooms they have collected and what the fishing boats have brought in. The gun-toting murderers will mean less to me than the hunt for good vegetables.
I did not agree with everything Charlie Hebdo did, but I will defend their right to do it. These are things that one should learn from one’s parents or from schooling. If there is a problem today, it is because the terrorists are not being properly educated in how civilization works. Sure, things go wrong and people overstep the mark, but the response is not to take up guns and end up being blasted into the arms of Allah, but rather to curb those who transgress and move on, always aiming for a perfect world, while being aware that it is never going to happen. That is civilization. And that allows us luxuries such as motorsport and other frivolities…