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Fear of terrorism haunts Europe

November 24th, 2015

As terrorism alerts are announced in Europe and Brussels is closed off for days, columnists on both Left and Right ponder how much freedom we should sacrifice for the sake of security.

A week after the Paris terrorist attacks, it seems that collective fear has seized Europe, Népszabadság comments in a front page editorial on the weekend security alarm in Brussels. People who did not hesitate to go out in the immediate aftermath of the Paris massacre to demonstrate that terrorists cannot frighten them, now seem to have bowed to security considerations, the left-wing daily notes. Népszabaság thinks that this retreat into anxiety about terrorism endangers European freedom and our way of life. In an aside, the leading left-wing daily suggests that fear is winning the day, even in Hungary where many welcome heightened security measures despite the fact that there is no actual terrorist threat in the country.

In Magyar Nemzet, Szabolcs Szerető cautions against an hysterical overreaction to terrorist threats. The conservative columnist fears that individual freedom may be restricted in Europe, as happened in the US in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Szerető suggests that the current Middle East chaos is also the result of the hasty United States policies – propelled by the fear of terrorism. Instead of an hysterical overreaction, Europe should ponder rational security measures including stricter border controls and increased secret service activity, Szerető recommends. Declaring war on an unspecified civilization would only further radicalize Muslims and play into the hands of radical Islamist groups, he concludes.

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