By AKANKSHA SAH
When Sony received an email from North Korea threatening a terrorist attack like the “11th of September” if it released its new movie, “The Interview,” Sony released a public statement that it would not release the movie. The initial announcement sent shockwaves throughout the world. Although the movie was ultimately released in selected theaters and online, the implications of the hesitation and restricted airing of the movie as a result of the terrorist threats it received set a dangerous precedent for America’s future as a country.
America has a cut-and-dry policy for dealing with terrorists – we do not, under any circumstances, negotiate with them. However, that is just what Sony has done. Although its intention in succumbing to the threats was obviously not to make any deals but rather to take necessary measures to protect America and its citizens, by agreeing, even temporarily, to their terms, Sony empowered the terrorists. If one email is enough to temporarily let terrorists see the results they want, what will two emails do? What effect will a phone call have on our country and its stability? By allowing the threat to affect its plans, Sony has potentially created an expectation for terrorists: all it takes to get America to do what they want is a threat.
What will America do in the face of another threat – will we follow Sony’s example and agree to the terrorists’ terms? If we adopt the idea of appeasement, when does it stop? Today it is just a movie, but tomorrow it may be our whole way of life; what if the next threat comes from a group who decides women should not go to school? What if the next group decides that Americans must enforce curfews? What if the next group decides that Americans must replace all places of worship with those of a certain religion? The “what if’s” are endless, and, though these past examples may seem far more intense than simply not allowing a company to air a movie meant for entertainment, the implications of this restriction are just as heavy.
Today the movie is for entertainment, but tomorrow it may be a documentary or a newspaper. America is built on certain sacred rights and freedoms, among them, the freedom of the press. By curbing our ability to show a movie, the terrorists have tried to take away one of our most sacred freedoms. America cannot afford to allow a concession like this to ever occur in the future because the day a foreign group is able to take away our constitutional rights will be a bleak day for every American.
The incident was the first time a threat of this nature has ever been issued, and Sony did what it thought it should do for the welfare of the country. It was a responsible thing to do, but the implications of this choice for the future were not considered. Had it been a one-time thing, Sony’s decision would have been the correct one.
However, if our country cannot ensure future safety from threats, we cannot continue to enjoy the security that our country provides. According to CNN, President Barack Obama said of the Sony threats that we cannot “get into a pattern in which [we]’re intimidated by these kinds of criminal attacks,” and his statement should be taken seriously – we must, in the future, make our decisions to ensure that no one, whether a country, group, or individual, is ever able to affect our way of life.
In the recent Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, the danger was not just a threat – it was right there, and lives were lost. However, the company got right back on its feet and, in fact, increased its print output from 60,000 copies for the week to 1,000,000 copies. That is how a country stands up to terrorists – it shows no fear. That is how we must ensure America operates in response to terrorist attacks – we must show no fear, and always come back stronger.