TIME

Je Suis Charlie: Crowds in London Stand With Charlie Hebdo

People raise pens and signs during a vigil to pay tribute to the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the offices of weekly satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris, at Trafalgar Square in London, Jan. 7, 2015.
Suzanne Plunkett—Reuters People raise pens and signs during a vigil to pay tribute to the victims of a shooting by gunmen at the Paris headquarters of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo at Trafalgar Square in London on Jan. 7, 2015

People protesting the Paris killings met in Trafalgar Square as British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the attack in Downing Street

Out of the horror came something beautiful. Not all of the people who traveled to London’s Trafalgar Square, or attended similar vigils in other cities and countries throughout Europe, could explain why they felt impelled to come. They just knew that they wanted to stand together, not only to protest the slaughter at the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, but in some way to continue the work of the French satirical newspaper. Its editors, writers and most famously its cartoonists had regularly challenged those who sought to stifle freedom of expression.

As the news of the attack spread, the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie — “I Am Charlie” — became a declaration of solidarity, and the vigils organized and publicized on social media offered a way to make that declaration substantial.

“I saw the pictures on television,” says Marie Proffit, a Frenchwoman working in London as an arts-project manager, “and I needed to do something with these feelings.” Her English friend Leanne Hammacott, who works at the Cultural Institute at King’s College London, pointed her to Facebook pages calling for people to assemble in Trafalgar Square. By 6:30 p.m. they met up with each other and another friend, Tina Westiner, a German designer also based in the city.

They stood in near silence in a crowd of several hundreds under Nelson’s Column, the 19th century memorial to the British Admiral Horatio Nelson, who died fighting the French and the Spanish. But on this evening history bound rather than divided. Members of the crowd held up pens — mightier than the sword — and flowers and placards: “Je Suis Charlie.”

Less than a minute away at 10 Downing Street, the leaders of two European countries who have not always seen eye to eye also focused on common ground. Germany has taken on the 2015 presidency of the G-7 group of nations and its Chancellor Angela Merkel had arrived in the U.K. on Jan. 7 to meet with British Prime Minister David Cameron. On the agenda was a weighty palette of issues, from the fight against Ebola to the stuttering economy and the sharpening crisis in the euro zone — and of the European Union itself.

The E.U. evolved from a project designed to create peace. But these days the union is increasingly a source of friction, between countries and within them. Conflict has returned to the continent. Over dinner the leaders planned to discuss Russia and Ukraine. “There’s still time,” Cameron said at a joint press conference with Merkel, “for Vladimir Putin to change course.”

He and Merkel put on a united front, and especially as they reflected on the horror in Paris. The U.K. security services MI5 and MI6 had given the leaders a joint briefing, who in turn emphasized the importance of international cooperation in combating terrorist attacks. Both leaders also spoke of the importance of upholding free speech.

“There is no one single answer to these appalling terrorist attacks,” said Cameron. “We have to all be vigilant. We have to try to address all the problems of radicalization that have happened in our country. But as we do all these things, we must be very clear about one thing, which is we should never give up the values that we believe in and defend as part of our democracy and civilization and believing in a free press, in freedom of expression, in the right of people to write and say what they believe. These are the things we are defending. We should be very clear on this day that these values that we have are not sources of weakness for us, they are sources of strength.”

#JeSuisCharlie. We all are.

TIME foreign affairs

Blasphemy Is at the Front Lines of Free Speech Today

French police officers and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015 in Paris.
Domique Faget—AFP/Getty Images French police officers and forensic experts examine the car used by armed gunmen who stormed the Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on Jan. 7, 2015 in Paris.

Walter Olson is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

There is no middle ground, no soft compromise available to keep everyone happy

If you defend freedom of speech today, realize that “blasphemy” is its front line, in Paris and the world.

There is no middle ground, no soft compromise available to keep everyone happy–not after the murders at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Either we resolve to defend the liberty of all who write, draw, type, and think–not just even when they deny the truth of a religion or poke fun at it, but especially then–or that liberty will endure only at the sufferance of fanatical Islamists in our midst. And this dark moment for the cause of intellectual freedom will be followed by many more.

Can anyone who has paid attention truly say they were surprised by the Paris attack? The French satirical magazine had long been high on a list of presumed Islamist targets. In 2011—to world outrage that was transient, at best—fanatics firebombed its offices over its printing of cartoons. Nor was that anything new. In 2006, the Danish cartoonists of Jyllands-Posten had to go into hiding for the same category of offense, as had author Salman Rushdie before them.

In a new book entitled The Tyranny of Silence: How One Cartoon Ignited a Global Debate on the Future of Free Speech, journalist Flemming Rose, who was at the center of the Danish cartoon controversy, traces its grim aftermath in the self-silencing of Western opinion. Most of the prestige Western press dodged the running of the cartoons, and beneath the talk of sensitivity was often simple fear. As journalist Josh Barro noted today on Twitter, “Islamists have by and large succeeded in intimidating western media out of publishing images of Muhammad.”

That fear has been felt in the United States as well. Yale’s university press, in publishing a book on the Muhammad cartoons controversy, chose to omit printing the cartoons themselves, on the grounds that doing so “ran a serious risk of instigating violence.” (The late Christopher Hitchens brilliantly assailed the press for its lack of courage.)

As for elected leaders, they were hardly better. The French government repeatedly pressured Charlie Hebdo not to go so far in giving offense. The government of Jacques Chirac stood by at, or by some accounts even encouraged, a court action aimed at fining the magazine for having offended some Muslims. Then-British foreign minister Jack Straw, representing the nation that gave the world John Milton and John Stuart Mill, blasted re-publication of the cartoons as “insensitive” and “disrespectful.” And if you imagine the leaders of the United States did much better, here’s another Christopher Hitchens column on how mealy-mouthed they were at the time in the cause of the intellectual liberty that is supposed to be among America’s proudest guarantees.

The danger is not that there will be too little outpouring of solidarity, grief, and outrage in coming days. Of course there will be that. Demonstrations are already underway across France. The danger comes afterward, once the story passes and intellectuals and those who discuss and distribute their work decide how and whether to adjust themselves to a more intense climate of fear. At media outlets, among conference planners, at universities, there will be certain lawyers and risk managers and compliance experts and insurance buyers ready to advise the safer course, the course of silence.

And then there are the lawmakers. After years in which blasphemy laws were assumed to be a relic of the past, laws accomplishing much of the same effect are once again on the march in Europe, banning “defamation of religion,” insult to religious beliefs, or overly vigorous criticism of other people’s religions when defined as “hate speech.” This must go no further. One way we can honor Charb, Cabu, Wolinski, Tignous, and the others who were killed Wednesday is by lifting legal constraints on what their successors tomorrow can draw and write.

Walter Olson is a senior fellow with the Cato Institute’s Center for Constitutional Studies.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 7

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. In the wake of today’s terror attack on a French satire magazine, the words of its editor, who died in the attack, are worth recalling: “I am not going to hide.”

By Stefan Simons in Spiegel

2. Thrift — not merely saving money but keeping poverty and debt at bay — is an American value worth revisiting.

By Andrew L. Yarrow in the Montgomery Advertiser

3. The poorer parents are, the less likely they are to talk to their kids, which spurs language development. New programs are cropping up to change that.

By Margaret Talbot in the New Yorker

4. Once Uber overwhelms taxis and becomes the dominant car service, regulation is inevitable.

By Eric Posner in Slate

5. A program inviting Kyoto taxi drivers to loiter outside convenience stores at night has reduced robberies by almost half.

By Steven Le Blanc and Masami M. in RocketNews24

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME France

World Leaders Condemn Charlie Hebdo Shooting in Paris

President Francois Hollande, center, flanked with security forces arrives outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
Remy De La Mauviniere—AP President François Hollande, center, flanked with security forces arrives, outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.

The White House, François Hollande, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin all responded Wednesday as news broke about the attack

At least 12 people have been killed in an attack on the Paris satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, after masked gunmen entered the offices and opened fire before fleeing in a hijacked car. More than 3,000 police officers are reportedly involved in the manhunt for the suspected attackers. It’s the deadliest terrorist attack in Europe since the London attacks in July of 2005, former CIA Deputy Director Mike Morell told CBS This Morning. Below, reactions from world leaders:

Barack Obama: “I strongly condemn the horrific shooting at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris that has reportedly killed 12 people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of this terrorist attack and the people of France at this difficult time. France is America’s oldest ally, and has stood shoulder to shoulder with the United States in the fight against terrorists who threaten our shared security and the world. Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended. France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers. We are in touch with French officials and I have directed my Administration to provide any assistance needed to help bring these terrorists to justice.”

François Hollande, President of France (translated): “No barbaric act will ever extinguish the freedom of the press. We are a united country that will react as one.”

David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom: “The murders in Paris are sickening. We stand with the French people in the fight against terror and defending the freedom of the press.”

Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission (translated): “I am deeply shocked by the brutal and inhuman attack that hit the offices of Charlie Hebdo. This is an intolerable act, a barbarism that concerns us all as human beings and Europeans. My thoughts are with the victims and their families. I express in my own behalf and on behalf of the European Commission, our greatest solidarity with France.”

Vladimir Putin, President of Russia:

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany:

Michael Roth, Minister of State for Europe at Germany’s Foreign Office (translated): “Freedom of expression is a right of non-negotiable human. My thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

TIME France

The Provocative History of French Weekly Newspaper Charlie Hebdo

People stand outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office after a shooting, in Paris, Jan. 7, 2015.
Thibault Camus—AP People stand outside the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo's office after a shooting, in Paris on Jan. 7, 2015

"If we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying"

The motivation behind the attack that has left at least 12 people dead at the office of French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday appears to be its long history of mocking religions, in particular Islam. According to some witnesses, the gunmen said they were defending the Prophet Muhammad as they opened fire.

The most recent tweet from the publication featured a cartoon of the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Yet this isn’t the first time the provocative left-wing weekly has found itself under threat.

Charlie Hebdo was introduced in 1970 after another publication, Hara-Kiri, was banned for mocking the death of former French President Charles de Gaulle. Much of Hara-Kiri’s staff simply migrated to the new publication, which was named in reference to Charlie Brown comics. Hebdo is short for hebdomadaire which means weekly in French.

Though the publication has never found wide circulation, it quickly made a name for itself thanks to its incendiary cartoons, which took shots at high-profile figures, including the far right, politicians and celebrities, and religions of all kinds. Just last month, an edition featured a cartoon of the Virgin Mary, spread-eagled, giving birth to Jesus.

In 1981, Charlie Hebdo ceased publication because of a lack of funds, though it was resurrected in 1992. In 2006, the publication caused widespread controversy when it republished the controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that were first printed in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten and prompted protests from Muslims around the world. Charlie Hebdo’s reprint of the cartoons — not to mention the addition of their own work — gained it as much notoriety as the Danish newspaper. The issue saw unusually high sales, but drew criticism from many Muslim groups. France’s then President Jacques Chirac released a statement at the time saying, “Anything that can hurt the convictions of someone else, in particular religious convictions, should be avoided. Freedom of expression should be exercised in a spirit of responsibility.”

MORE: What to Know About the Paris Terror Attack

Charlie Hebdo responded by publishing a letter, signed by 12 writers and intellectuals including Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which read, in part, “We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all.”

The following year Charlie Hebdo was sued by two French Muslim associations, the Great Mosque of Paris and the Union of Islamic Organisations of France, for reprinting the Danish cartoons. A French court rejected the case, saying the publication’s decision to publish the images did not incite religious hatred.

Yet the backlash over the publication’s provocative critique of Islam continued — sometimes with violent consequences. On Nov. 2, 2011, Charlie Hebdo’s offices were firebombed and destroyed the day after the magazine announced the Prophet Muhammad as its “editor in chief” for its next issue. The cover also carried a caricature of the Prophet. As that attack took place in the early morning hours, no one was injured.

The publication’s editor Stéphane Charbonnier, who also published cartoons under the name Charb, told the BBC following the firebombing, “If we can poke fun at everything in France, if we can talk about anything in France apart from Islam or the consequences of Islamism, that is annoying.” Charb is believed to have been killed on Wednesday.

The following year, after the weekly published more provocative caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, French officials announced they would temporarily close French embassies, consulates, cultural centers and schools in more than a dozen Muslim countries for safety. Despite the condemnation from multiple groups, Charlie Hebdo defended its editorial choices.

“The aim is to laugh,” Charlie Hebdo journalist Laurent Léger said at the time. “We want to laugh at the extremists — every extremist. They can be Muslim, Jewish, Catholic. Everyone can be religious, but extremist thoughts and acts we cannot accept.”

Read next: World Leaders Condemn Attack on Charlie Hebdo

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Crime

See the Final Moments Before Boston Bombing Suspect Was Arrested

Cops cornered suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial began this week, on April 19, 2013

Sgt. Sean Murphy visited TIME in December 2013 to discuss the photographs he made during the dramatic capture of suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013, in one of the first interviews since he retired from the force. As the bombing suspect’s trial on 30 criminal counts begins in Boston this week, relive the final moments of the manhunt that led to his arrest. The full interview can be read on TIME LightBox.

TIME Pakistan

Pakistan Seizes Indian Fishing Boats as Doubts Intensify Over Terrorist Claims

New Delhi's critics call for explanations

Pakistani authorities reportedly seized two Indian fishing boats on Saturday — a not uncommon occurrence, but one that has prompted greater controversy following a tense week in the waters between the two countries.

The boats, containing 12 Indian fishermen, were apprehended by Pakistan’s Maritime Security Agency (MSA) three days after the Indian Coast Guard intercepted an alleged terrorist boat off the Gujarat coast, the Times of India reported.

The Indian authorities claim that intercepted wireless communications show the Pakistani boat, which sank about 365 km away from India’s west coast on Jan. 1, to be working with an unidentified vessel nearby and coordinating with a contact in Pakistan as well as the MSA.

A statement from India’s Defense Ministry then stated that the four people on board the boat attempted to outrun the coast guard for over an hour, following which they hid under the deck and set fire to the boat, resulting in an explosion.

However, naval officers told the Indian Express that it was not possible for a typical Pakistani fishing vessel to outrun the powerful coast guard boats, and local fishermen said they did not see a fire. Moreover, photographs released to the media of the burning boat do not show damage consistent with the detonation of explosives.

Pakistan has rubbished claims that the Jan. 1 incident could be linked to terrorism, and there are reportedly no boats unaccounted for in Keti Bandar, the Karachi port where India claims the “suspicious” boat originated from.

“No fishing crews or boats are missing from Keti Bandar,” the head of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Saeed Baloch, told the Express.

India’s Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar stuck to his guns Monday morning, telling reporters that people smuggling drugs or other contraband would have surrendered rather than martyr themselves.

“Why would smugglers keep in touch with Pakistani maritime authorities?” he asked, adding that he would categorize them as “suspected terrorists.”

But that was not enough to placate opposition parties like the Indian National Congress, who urged the government on Monday to make the evidence public.

No material evidence from the Pakistani boat or bodies of its crew has been recovered so far because of reported bad weather, but a leading coast-guard official said he was hopeful that more clues would be forthcoming. The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, has ordered a full internal review of the intercepted communications and other evidence.

TIME Courts

Everything You Should Know About the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Jury selection begins Monday

The trial of one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers started Monday, nearly two years after the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others, with the beginning of the selection of the jury that will ultimately decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Here’s what to know as the trial gets underway.

What happened in April 2013?

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are suspected of building and detonating pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013. The brothers escaped initial capture but were later identified as suspects and confronted in a days-long manhunt that shut down much of the Boston area and transfixed the country. Tamerlan died after a shootout with authorities that followed the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer; he was also said to have been run over by a vehicle driven by his brother, Dzhokhar, who was later found in a boat parked on a driveway in nearby Watertown.

What about the brothers’ background?

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar came to the U.S. from Kyrgyzstan when they were aged 15 and 8, respectively. The older brother became a solid boxer while in Cambridge, Mass., and his younger sibling would become a popular wrestler at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School before enrolling at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Dzhokhar was said to have adjusted to life in the U.S. easier than Tamerlan, who authorities painted as having become disillusioned and who they said would later align with radical Islam.

MORE The Horror. The Heroism.

What charges does Tsarnaev face?

He faces 30 federal counts including the bombing of a public place, malicious destruction of public property, carjacking, disruption of commerce and possession and use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death. Here’s the full list.

How long is the trial expected to last?

That’s unclear, but it could be several months. Selecting a fit jury from a pool of more than 1,200 could take a few weeks, according to the Boston Globe, and the trial will be split into two phases. The first will involve determining his innocence or guilt; if the jury finds Tsarnaev guilty, the second phase will revolve around his sentencing.

Where will the trial take place?

The trial is set to be held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. Tsarnaev’s defense team repeatedly tried to have it moved, arguing it would be too difficult to find an impartial jury where the attack took place. But the district court wouldn’t budge, writing in a newly released decision that it would be capable of finding 12 jurors and six alternates in the “large and diverse” population that resides in the district’s Eastern Division.

Who are the lawyers on both sides?

Legendary defense attorney Judy Clarke quickly joined Tsarnaev’s defense team, bringing her experience of representing the likes of unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Jared Lee Loughner, whose 2011 shooting rampage in Arizona left six people dead and 13 injured, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Many of her clients are convicted and imprisoned while having avoided capital punishment, which Clarke opposes. Two other members of Tsarnaev’s defense team are Miriam Conrad, the chief public defender for Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and David Bruck, a Washington and Lee University School of Law professor and the director of its death penalty defense clinic.

The prosecution is largely composed of Assistant U.S. Attorneys with strong background in terrorism cases. William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty both played key roles in the handling of the arrest of failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad in 2010. Nadine Pellegrini formerly led Boston’s major crimes unit.

Both legal teams will be presided over by U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr.

Who will likely be called as witnesses?

The court was recently handed a list of 590 law enforcement personnel, 142 civilians and 1,238 exhibits that they might make use of during the trial, the Times reports. That group includes some of the officers who were involved in the response to the attack, in addition Tsarnaev’s arrest and questioning.

Does Tsarnaev face the death penalty?

Yes. Even though the crime was committed in Massachusetts, where capital punishment has been illegal since the early 1980s, prosecutors charged Tsarnaev in the federal court system, which allows it. (A poll by the Globe in July found that 62% of respondents supported the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to seek the death penalty, but 29% opposed his choice.)

What is the defense expected to argue?

Legal observers agree that the defense attorneys will try to protect their client from the death penalty rather than prove his innocence. Among the issues at play will be how Tsarnaev may have been influenced by his older brother, which would involve cooperation from close friends and family. The defense team had previously said it had difficulties researching his relatives overseas.

How do people in Massachusetts feel about the trial?

Interviews with local residents and survivors, conducted by the Boston Globe and New York Times, suggest they are ready to bring the tragic saga to a close. How exactly they hope to do that varies, as some say they don’t want to rehash the attack while others are eager to learn more about what happened.

Why has the case taken so long to come to trial?

The trial was originally scheduled to begin last fall but the defense team asked for it to be pushed back to September 2015 or later, claiming it didn’t provide enough time to prepare due to an overwhelming amount of material from prosecutors. The new date then became Jan. 5.

Read next: Summary of Counts Facing Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect

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TIME Terrorism

Suspected Plotter of U.S. Embassy Attacks Abu Anas Al-Libi Dies in New York

Anas Al-Liby
FBI/Getty Images Anas Al-Liby is shown in this photo released by the FBI on Oct. 10, 2001 in Washington, D.C.

Abu Anas al-Libi, a one-time associate of Osama Bin Laden, was awaiting trial for allegedly plotting the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He was captured in Libya by U.S. commandos in Oct. 2013

NEW YORK — A one-time associate of Osama Bin Laden died in New York on Friday while awaiting trial for allegedly plotting the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Abu Anas al-Libi, 50, was captured in Libya by U.S. commandos in Oct. 2013 and brought to New York where he was due to stand trial. He had been wanted for more than a decade and there was a $5 million reward for his arrest. Al-Libi had pleaded not guilty.

The al Qaeda terror suspect has been in poor health and suffered liver disease…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Pakistan

The Fear That Haunts Peshawar

Pakistan
Mohammad Sajjad—AP A Pakistani religious student stands before a tire set on fire by anti-government protesters, Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014 in Peshawar, Pakistan. Police have arrested demonstrators demanding the government to unmask culprits of the Taliban attack on a military run school where scores of children were killed on Dec. 16, 2014. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)

After the Taliban killed 147 people at a local school, 136 of them children, nobody in Pakistan's frontier city feels safe

Two weeks after a Taliban attack on a local school killed 147 people, 136 of them children, the Pakistani city of Peshawar is still raw with grief and fear.

The capital city of the restive Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (or the North-West Frontier Province as it used to be known) often finds itself in the front line of the 10-year-old Taliban insurgency and has witnessed appalling bloodshed.

But the Dec. 16 attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar surpassed even those standards of horror. It was the worst single terrorist attack in the history of a country that, according to the Global Terrorism Index, is the world’s most affected by terrorism after Iraq and Afghanistan.

Authorities have beefed-up security in the face of the school carnage, and in response to threats of similar attacks from the Taliban. Checkpoints have been stepped up on roads into the city. Surprise swoops netted 1,200 suspected militants (though many were found innocent and subsequently freed) and more personnel have been assigned to guard the airport. Police have also created a One-Clink SOS app that lets a user alert the nearest 10 police stations in the event of a terrorist attack by touching a smartphone screen. But nobody feels reassured.

Peshawar mother Zubida Saleem said she would rather her children were illiterate than killed in their classroom. She has also changed their school.

“After hearing the rumors that terrorists were threatening all private schools, I stopped sending my children to a private school,” she said. “I am not at all satisfied with what the security forces do these days to eliminate terrorism from Pakistan.”

Saman, a Year 9 student at a private school in Peshawar, said that she is terrified by the thought of going to school. “It’s as if what happened on Dec. 16 happened at my school,” she tells TIME. “It could be my own friends and teachers being killed.”

Fear is also palpable at tertiary institutions. Professor Nasreen Ghufran, chair of the International Relations (IR) department at the University of Peshawar, tells TIME of the “mental stress, depression, anxiety and panic” that have set in, and of lax security.

“The security guards will do a body search of ordinary people but not of officials, which is an open violation of security rules,” she says. “My students are asking me if we can manage the security of our department by ourselves since the government has failed to give us security.”

For many, the only hope of living a life without fear lies in leaving the country. Nawaz Khan’s two sons were in the school attack. The younger son was killed, the elder was seriously wounded.

“My injured son is hospitalized and according to doctors his healing will take almost six months. He won’t be able to take his Year 9 exams. I am so stressed and worried,” he said, explaining that his family was not safe in Pakistan and that he wanted to emigrate. He appealed to the international community to provide asylum to his family.

Award-winning Rahimullah Yusufzai, who was born in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and considered an authority on its affairs, says more school attacks can be expected because educational institutions are far more vulnerable than police or military targets.

He added that “Though the armed forces have cleared various areas of North Waziristan Agency of militants, the Taliban’s top leadership is still secure and able to plan such terror attacks. The military has not conducted ground assaults in the Datta Khel and Shawal areas of the agency, where militants exercise their power freely.”

Yusufzai says that while in past some people were in favor of peace talks with Taliban, the school massacre has changed everything.

“The situation in the city is alarming and parents fear for their children,” he says. “The militants’ attack on the school shows that in the future the Taliban may attack other educational institutions, or markets, bus stands and public places because these are easy targets for them.”

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