A sense of unity

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Eighteen-year-old SAM POOLE goes to Highbury College and lives at Eastney, Portsmouth. Follow him on Twitter 

After the terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, people across the globe have stood in solidarity.

The phrase ‘Je Suis Charlie’ has been widely used as people have shown their strong belief in the freedom of speech.

This past week has been harrowing for the city of Paris. Families and friends mourn loved ones who were victims and a nation is struggling to come to terms with what happened.

The story has been headlines everywhere and people have wanted to know the latest developments.

France is on high alert after the attack and there are inevitable fears of another incident.

After any devastation, I believe many individuals seem to close themselves off from reality and as a result are affected.

But the march through the capital of France has proved that people coming together to express their unity is extremely important.

January 2015 has become a time to acknowledge and understand that, regardless of faith, political belief, background and race, millions can combine to make a bold statement and show that there is hope for the future.

I’ve noticed across the world that, no matter what pain we’re going through and how much we feel under threat, many refuse to stay silent.

But rarely do we see such large numbers come together as one and make a statement.

Yes, we have commemorative events which are powerfully emotive and heartwarming to see. However, in my opinion, spontaneous gatherings only seem to happen if something unwelcome takes place.

The echo of applause heard through our televisions emphasises the statement many are making.

Some may say that public marches such as we’ve just experienced will eventually fade out. Yes, they may, but I believe people will still come together.

As young people, we are brought up to have an understanding of the real world.

We are expected to know the difference between good and bad.

When something like the terrorist attack in Paris happens, we may struggle to understand why.

But we can stand up against such senseless violence and for what’s right.

From terrible circumstances can come a sense of unity and a determination that we must hold on to and defend the principle of free speech.