• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Photo: Headshot of Rich Barlow, an older white man with dark grey hair and wearing a grey shirt and grey-blue blazer, smiles and poses in front of a dark grey backdrop.

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 3 comments on Paris Perspective

  1. “…why France has become a seeming magnet for extremist violence and how life might change now for the French.”

    Thanks to Professor Jim for sharing his impressions from his current Parisian roost.

    Over the weekend I heard an NPR segment including interviews with several French people. They were unanimous in stating that these attacks will not overly restrict or hamper civic life in Paris or France more generally. More significant, they all insisted that it is NOT necessary to sacrifice freedoms or liberties to ensure security. Even in their shock & grief, France’s citizens are more astute, & less gullible, than Americans who cravenly accepted the Bush administration’s goal of increasing surveillance on US citizens.

  2. “Americans who cravenly accepted the Bush administration’s goal of increasing surveillance……..”

    Very harsh and rather unfair. Go back to 9/11 and look at all the pictures once again; I mean ALL of them, from the burning towers to the ash-coated New Yorkers slowly making their way to the docks to be picked up by private boats on the Hudson River, appearing like the walking dead. There was no script for handling this, especially since this was basically a case of the Flintstones killing scores of our citizens.

    I couldn’t stand Bush; still can’t. Quite possibly the least intelligent President we’ve ever had in modern American annals. But I don’t blame the American people for being willing to sacrifice some freedoms when we had very little handle (some would argue we still don’t) on the scope of this situation.

    1. Hello NOLA,

      I’ve seen your comments before & appreciate that you read BU Today regularly. We’ve had similar opinions before & written along similar lines, but in this case perhaps we should agree to disagree. I will briefly respond to the significant points you make here.

      There’s no need to revisit the evidence from Sept 11 which is burned into my memory; I was visiting family in CT that day & could see the whole thing from the roof of my childhood home. Twenty eight neighbors died in NYC that day. It’s still possible, despite such disturbing imagery & a supposed wartime situation, to seek to protect our precious civil liberties. Many Americans did so, but many did not, falling for the Bush administration’s propaganda & lies. Please note, I referred only to “Americans” meaning some but not all. Nevertheless, contra your statement, there IS a script: never surrender hard-won & -retained essential rights & liberties. It can be very hard to win them back. I stand by my statement that liberty & security are possible at the same time, as do most French people.. Sacrificing freedoms does not guarantee security in return only because total sty from attackers who don’t value their own lives & nearly impossible.

      Criticism sometimes must be harsh, but can still be fair, a standard which I believe I met earlier. Regardless, your reply is courteous & thoughtful. I appreciate this dialogue, & others will benefit from seeing it. Thank you.

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