From Chile To Chad
To China More People Damn Anarchist Charlie - ''Je Ne
Suis Pas Charlie... (I'm Not Charlie...)''
Muslim portal Al Wihda in Chad posted a letter of a
Christian Donald Soro (in the "Christian world",
freedom of speech for the publication of a letter of a
Christian on the subject the situation is tight), a
member of the growing Christian movement "Je ne suis
pas Charlie, je suis chrétien (I'm not Charlie, I'm
Christian)", condemning the militant scoffers, the
"enlighten", who are sponsored by the Socialist
government of France. In his letter, written in
French, a Christian man in particular points out:
- "Since January 7, 2015 the world is in disarray in
the face of this tragedy, which occurred in France in
connection with the death of 12 draftsmen (dessinateurs),
who worked for the weekly newspaper "Charlie". It was
known for publishing cartoons, mainly, and for its
anti-religious stance. The main target of its attacks
However, some time ago this weekly began publishing
caricatures about Islam, depicting Prophet Muhammad,
may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. And
this, as we have seen, turned out to be more
After this slaughter (tuerie) the whole finally
alarmed world began to severely condemn the attack. In
solidarity with what is seen as a violation of freedom
of speech, there has promptly appeared a slogan that
has spread like wildfire: "Je suis Charlie (I'm
This slogan appeared at the demos and in other places,
where people supporting the victims and France,
identified themselves with the newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Can we, as Christians, be part of Charlism movement?
Can we also say: "I'm Charlie"?
As a Christian, I believe that before we identify
ourselves with someone or something, we have to assure
ourselves that the person or the thing we want to
identify with glorifies God.
The weekly "Charlie" had its main aim an attack on
Christianity. The newspaper loved publishing
provocative, mocking caricatures of Jesus Christ. Most
of its images have been focused on propagating
adultery, perversion, sodomy, bestiality, freedom from
sexual immorality. The newspaper provoked and shocked
and felt untouchable. Which caused a lot of anger.
Talking about the violation of freedom of speech,
injustice and terrorism, this world is really
paradoxical ... It reacts to the tragedy that is
certainly shocking, but still a, minor episode
compared to some major events that have occurred and
continue to occur in some countries.
The death of 12 persons (personnes) alarmed the whole
world at the time when the killings of thousands of
people in some parts of the world goes unnoticed.
God's punishment (la justice de Dieu) should enable us
to understand who it has touched.
We (the members of the movement "I'm not Charlie, I'm
Christian" - KC) are sad for those people killed, but
not because of the freedom of speech, but because they
died without Christ and for the cause that is against
God. God wants all men to be saved and come to the
knowledge of the truth.
Being shrewd, let's be exalted, because what we see
with our eyes is not what actually happens. This world
rejects God, this world is willing to spend money on
some things, but not on the work of God. This world
believes in the so-called freedom of speech, freedom
of "love" of anyone, freedom of "marriages" with
anyone, animal rights, etc., but it does not believe
We will not blindly follow this world, we will look at
it with the insight that God has given us: "Do not
conform to the pattern of this world, but be
transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you
will be able to test and approve what God's will
is—his good, pleasing and perfect will".
I'm not Charlie, I'm Christian".
Hypocritical Charlie Hebdo Draws More Damns It Deserves
A large number of people gathered outside Bradford
City Hall last night to hear MP George Galloway and
other speakers at a freedom of speech demonstration.
The rally was organised after the French satirical
magazine Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon of the
prophet Mohammad on its front cover following the
attack on its Paris office by two Islamic terrorists
in which 12 people were shot dead.
Organisers say Muslims are now being victimised and
green ribbons were handed out before the multi-faith
protest began to show a solidarity of peace.
Alongside Bradford West Respect MP Mr Galloway were
speakers from across faiths in Bradford who spoke and
read out poems, in both French and English.
From the steps of City Hall, Mr Galloway said: "I am
here to defend the honour of Muslims, Islams and
"These are not cartoons, these are obscene insults to
the prophet Muhammad.
"The backlash against Muslims is under way in France
and the UK.
"It seems there are limits to freedom of speech in
France. That's hypocrisy, not democracy.
"For the sake of unity in our society, we have to
demand from our Government the protection of our
During his 15-minute speech, Mr Galloway also
criticised many of the world leaders who attended the
rally for peace held in Paris only days after the
Charlie Hebdo attack and another at a Jewish
supermarket in which five people were murdered.
Councillor Imran Hussain, deputy leader of Labour-run
Bradford Council, also spoke during the demonstration,
attended by about 300 people in freezing conditions.
He said: "There is a big debate around freedom of
speech. It is a fundamental right.
"Let's have freedom of speech, not freedom to openly
"I was deeply insulted, deeply offended by the
publication of Charlie Hebdo, in particular its
depiction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
"There has been double standards and hypocrisy here."
Hebdo A 'Racist, Islamophobic, Hypocritical Rag' -
At Freedom Of Speech Rally
Footage has emerged showing firebrand MP George
Galloway condemning the satirical magazine Charlie
Hebdo for producing "pornographic, obscene insults"
against the Prophet Muhammad.
The Respect MP for Bradford West was speaking at a
freedom of speech demonstration outside Bradford City
Hall on Saturday.
Referencing the bloody France attacks which saw 17
people killed, Galloway said: "No person, no human
being should be subjected to violence, still less
death for anything that they have said, written or
"So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the
events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie
Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable,
anarchic, fun book of cartoons.
"These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of
the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults
to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7billion human
beings on this earth and there are limits.
"There are limits. There limits to free speech and
free expression especially in France."
Galloway described the newspaper's purpose as "to
further marginalize, further alienate and further
endanger exactly those parts of the community who are
already alienated, already endangered. It is a racist,
Islamophobic, hypocritical rag."
"Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo," he declared.
The newspaper has long poked fun at popes and
presidents, as well as the Prophet Muhammad.
The weekly publication has a history of drawing
outrage across the Muslim world with crude cartoons of
Islam's holiest figure, resulting in the firebombing
of its offices in 2011.
A year later, the magazine published more Muhammad
drawings amid an uproar over an anti-Muslim film. The
cartoons depicted Muhammad naked and in demeaning or
pornographic poses. As outraged grew, the French
government defended free speech even as it rebuked
Charlie Hebdo for fanning tensions.
Last week the Pope suggested the murdered cartoonists
were "provocateurs" who should have expected a violent
backlash, adding there were limits to freedom of
expression when it insults someone's faith.
Pope Francis said there was a duty to speak one's mind
for the sake of the common good, but added there were
During his speech, Galloway went on to decry France's
ban on the public use of veils, both face-covering
niqabs and full-body burqas, pointing out: "They can
wear as little as they like, but they cannot wear as
much as they like."
Referencing the rampage carried out by Anders Breivik
which saw 77 lost their lives, Galloway added: "Nobody
blamed all Christians. Nobody demanded that Christians
get down on their knees and apologise for the actions
of a fascist murdering criminal and neither should
they be doing so to the millions of Muslims in
"Crimes are carried out by criminals, not by their
co-religionists or people of the same colour or nation
Protests Over Charlie Hebdo 'Kill Four'
In Niger, Demonstrations In Jordan, India And Sudan
At least four people have been killed after protests
against Charlie Hebdo' new cover depicting Mohammed
A police officer and three civilians died and 45
people were injured in protests against the cover in
Zinder, a city in Niger, the BBC reported.
"Some of the protesters were armed with bows and
arrows as well as clubs. The clashes were very violent
in some places," a source told Reuters.
The deaths come after a rally by Pakistani students
against the French satirical weekly's turned violent
on Friday, with police firing warning shots and water
cannons to disperse the demonstration. A photographer
with the Agence France-Presse was shot and wounded in
Although there were concerns that rallies against
Charlie Hebdo' new cover depicting the prophet — an
act deemed insulting to many followers of Islam —
would unravel into violence across the Muslim world,
most of the protests elsewhere passed peacefully.
Pakistan has condemned the Paris massacre but many
people in this overwhelmingly Muslim country view the
magazine's prophet caricatures as a profound insult.
Protesters took to the streets after midday prayers in
the port city of Karachi, the eastern city of Lahore
and the capital of Islamabad to denounce the weekly.
In Karachi, clashes erupted when the protesters
started heading toward the French Consulate. The
protesters began throwing stones at the police, who
tried to push them back with water cannons and tear
AFP news director Michele Leridon said that
photographer Asif Hassan was shot and wounded. He
underwent surgery and "his life does not seem in
danger," Leridon said.
It was not immediately clear how Hassan was shot, and
AFP said they were now trying to find out whether he
was targeted or accidentally shot.
Karachi police officer, Naseer Tanoly, said some of
the protesters were armed and opened fire on the
police first. He said the police fired into the air to
disperse the crowd. The protesters were mostly
students affiliated with the Jamaat-e-Islami political
In Islamabad, about 1,000 people gathered after Friday
prayers to condemn the magazine for what they called
blasphemous images of the prophet. The demonstrators
carried signs that read "Shame on Charlie Hebdo" and
"If you are Charlie, then I am Kouachi" — referring to
the brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi who carried out
the assault on the weekly and who had told survivors
they were sent by al-Qaida in Yemen.
In Lahore, about 800 people rallied against the
magazine for a second day. On Thursday, Pakistani
lawmakers passed a resolution against cartoons of the
prophet and marched outside parliament to protest
Charlie Hebdo's latest cover.
The magazine has invoked freedom of speech to defend
its publications of cartoons of the prophet.
In the Jordanian capital, Amman, clashes also erupted
after Friday prayers between about 2,000 protesters
organized by the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's
largest opposition group, and security forces. Riot
police used batons to disperse the protesters as they
tried to march to the French Embassy.
The crowd chanted slogans against Charlie Hebdo and
Jordanian officials for taking part in the Paris unity
march. The Jordanian royal house denounced the latest
publication of Charlie Hebdo for its front cover,
saying publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was
"irresponsible and far from the essence of freedom of
expression" but King Abdullah and Queen Rania took
part in the Paris march in solidarity with the victims
of the terror attack.
In Istanbul, about 160 men held funeral prayers Friday
to honor the Kouachi brothers. They shouted, "God is
great," and held a banner showing former al-Qaida
leader Osama Bin Laden's picture on one side and the
Kouachi brothers superimposed over the Parisian
skyline on the other. There were also smaller posters
with the slogans "We are all Cherif" and "We are all
Said" among the demonstrators.
In Sudan, several hundred Muslim worshippers marched
briefly after Friday prayers in downtown Khartoum,
demanding the expulsion of the French ambassador from
the country, chanting they are ready to sacrifice
their "blood ad soul to protect" the prophet.
Saudi Arabia's top council of senior clerics on Friday
condemned Charlie Hebdo's latest depiction of the
prophet and said it only serves extremists looking to
justify murder and terrorism.
Qatar said it strongly condemned the French weekly's
act and urged Western media "to respect others and
their beliefs" and refrain from acts of intolerance
Erdogan lashes out at Charlie Hebdo
Turkish leader says magazine "wreaks terror by
intervening in freedom of others", adding freedom "is
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out
at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine, for
its "provocative" publications about Islam, saying the
weekly paper incites hatred and racism.
"This magazine [is] notorious for its provocative
publications about Muslims, about Christians, about
everyone," Erdogan told a meeting of businessmen in
Ankara on Friday.
"This is not called freedom. This equates to wreaking
terror by intervening in the freedom space of others.
We should be aware of this. There is no limitless
freedom," he said.
In its first issue since the attacks by gunmen last
week on its headquarters that killed 12 people, the
magazine featured an image of the Prophet Muhammad
weeping on its front cover.
The cover sparked fresh controversy and protests in
some parts of the Muslim world, where many find any
depiction of the prophet, let alone satirical ones,
Erdogan said Muslims expected respect for their
prophet the same way as they valued the prophets of
Judaism and Christianity.
"They may be atheists. If they are, they will respect
what is sacred to me," said Erdogan.
"If they do not, it means it is a provocation, which
is punishable by laws. What they do is incite hatred,
racism," he added.
Erdogan said the publication of the cartoons in
predominantly Muslim Turkey was against law.
"Which country do you live in?" asked Erdogan in a
thinly-veiled jab at the Turkish daily.
"What you did goes against law ... You are inviting
The Pope Blamed Charlie Hebdo Cartoonists For Provoking Attack
Pope Francis has suggested the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were
"provocateurs" who should have expected a violent backlash, adding that there
are limits to freedom of expression when it insults someone's faith.
Francis spoke about the Paris terror attacks while en route to the Philippines,
said there was a duty to speak one's mind for the sake of the common good, but
added that there were "limits".
Indicating his friend and assistant Alberto Gasparri, who was standing by his
side, he said: "If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my
mother, he can expect a punch," as he pretended to throw a sharp hook. "It's
normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot
make fun of the faith of others."
In the wake of the attack, where 12 people were massacred by Islamist gunmen who
stormed the paper's offices, the Vatican and four prominent French imams issued
a joint declaration that denounced the attacks but also urged the media to treat
religions with respect. Charlie Hebdo had become notorious for printing images
of the Prophet Mohammed, as well as lampooning all major world religions, the
far right and the French establishment.
Pope Francis has been the target of the magazine's satirists, including a
cartoon that portrayed the Argentinian as a prostitute at the Rio carnival
declaring he is "soliciting clients", and the Papal conclave enjoying an
enormous circle of anal sex.
But he went on: "There are so many people who speak badly about religions or
other religions, who make fun of them, who make a game out of the religions of
others," he said. "They are provocateurs. And what happens to them is what would
happen to Dr. Gasparri if he says a curse word against my mother. There is a
Francis said he had spoken to Vatican security officials who are taking "prudent
and secure measures" against possible attacks on him. "I am worried, but you
know I have a defect: a good dose of carelessness. I'm careless about these
things," he said. But he admitted that in his prayers, he had asked that if
something were to happen to him that "it doesn't hurt, because I'm not very
courageous when it comes to pain. I'm very timid. I'm in God's hands."
'Free Speech' Hypocrisy In The Aftermath Of The Attack On
By David North
The attack on the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo has shocked the public,
which is horrified by the violent deaths of 12 people in the center of Paris.
The video images, viewed by millions, of the gunmen firing their weapons and
killing an already-wounded policeman have imparted to Wednesday's events an
In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, the state and media are seeking to
exploit the fear and the confusion of the public. Once again, the political
bankruptcy and essentially reactionary character of terrorism is exposed. It
serves the interests of the state, which utilizes the opportunity provided by
the terrorists to whip up support for authoritarianism and militarism. In 2003,
when the Bush administration invaded Iraq, French popular opposition was so
overwhelming that the government led by President Jacques Chirac was compelled
to oppose the war, even in the face of massive political pressure from the
United States. Now, 12 years later, as President François Hollande is striving
to transform France into the United States' principal ally in the "war on
terror," the attack in Paris plays into his hands.
In these efforts Hollande can rely on the media, which in such circumstances
directs all its energies toward the emotional manipulation and political
disorientation of the public. The capitalist media, skillfully combining the
suppression of information with half-truths and outright lies, devises a
narrative that is calculated to appeal not only to the basest instincts of the
broad public, but also to its democratic and idealistic sentiments.
Throughout Europe and the United States, the claim is being made that the attack
on the magazine Charlie Hebdo was an assault on the freedom of the press and the
unalienable right of journalists in a democratic society to express themselves
without loss of freedom or fear for their lives. The killing of the Charlie
Hebdo cartoonists and editors is being proclaimed an assault on the principles
of free speech that are, supposedly, held so dear in Europe and the United
States. The attack on Charlie Hebdo is, thus, presented as another outrage by
Muslims who cannot tolerate Western "freedoms." From this the conclusion must be
drawn that the "war on terror"—i.e., the imperialist onslaught on the Middle
East, Central Asia and North and Central Africa—is an unavoidable necessity.
In the midst of this orgy of democratic hypocrisy, no reference is made to the
fact that the American military, in the course of its wars in the Middle East,
is responsible for the deaths of at least 15 journalists. In the on-going
narrative of "Freedom of Speech Under Attack," there is no place for any mention
of the 2003 air-to-surface missile attack on the offices of Al Jazeera in
Baghdad that left three journalists dead and four wounded.
Nor is anything being written or said about the July 2007 murder of two Reuters
journalists working in Baghdad, staff photographer Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver
Saeed Chmagh. Both men were deliberately targeted by US Apache gunships while on
assignment in East Baghdad.
The American and international public was first able to view a video of the
cold-blooded murder of the two journalists as well as a group of Iraqis—taken
from one of the gunships—as the result of WikiLeaks' release of classified
material that it had obtained from an American soldier, Corporal Bradley Chelsea
And how has the United States and Europe acted to protect WikiLeaks' exercise of
free speech? Julian Assange, the founder and publisher of WikiLeaks, has been
subjected to relentless persecution. Leading political and media figures in the
United States and Canada have denounced him as a "terrorist" and demanded his
arrest, with some even calling publicly for his murder. Assange is being pursued
on fraudulent "rape" allegations concocted by American and Swedish intelligence
services. He has been compelled to seek sanctuary in the Ecuadorian Embassy in
London, which is under constant guard by British police who will seize Assange
if he steps out of the embassy. As for Chelsea Manning, she is presently in
prison, serving out a 35-year sentence for treason.
That is how the great capitalist "democracies" of North America and Europe have
demonstrated their commitment to free speech and the safety of journalists!
The dishonest and hypocritical narrative spun out by the state and the media
requires that Charlie Hebdo and its murdered cartoonists and journalists be
upheld as martyrs to free speech and representatives of a revered democratic
tradition of hard-hitting iconoclastic journalism.
In a column published Wednesday in the Financial Times, the liberal historian
Simon Schama places Charlie Hebdo in a glorious tradition of journalistic
irreverence that "is the lifeblood of freedom." He recalls the great European
satirists between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries who subjected the great
and powerful to their withering scorn. Among their illustrious targets, Schama
reminds us, were the brutal Duke of Alba, who in the 1500s drowned the Dutch
struggle for freedom in blood; the French "Sun King," Louis XIV; the British
Prime Minister William Pitt; and the Prince of Wales. "Satire," writes Schama,
"became the oxygen of politics, ventilating healthy howls of derision in coffee
houses and taverns where caricatures circulated every day and every week."
Schama places Charlie Hebdo in a tradition to which it does not belong. All the
great satirists to whom Schama refers were representatives of a democratic
Enlightenment who directed their scorn against the powerful and corrupt
defenders of aristocratic privilege. In its relentlessly degrading portrayals of
Muslims, Charlie Hebdo has mocked the poor and the powerless.
To speak bluntly and honestly about the sordid, cynical and degraded character
of Charlie Hebdo is not to condone the killing of its personnel. But when the
slogan "I am Charlie" is adopted and heavily promoted by the media as the slogan
of protest demonstrations, those who have not been overwhelmed by state and
media propaganda are obligated to reply: "We oppose the violent assault on the
magazine, but we are not—and have nothing in common with—'Charlie.'"
Marxists are no strangers to the struggle to overcome the influence of religion
among the masses. But they conduct this struggle with the understanding that
religious faith is sustained by conditions of adversity and desperate hardship.
Religion is not to be mocked, but understood and criticized as Karl Marx
understood and criticized it:
"Religious distress is … the expression of real distress and also the protest
against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart
of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of spiritless conditions. It is
the opium of the people.
"To abolish religion as the illusory happiness of the people is to demand their
real happiness. The demand to give up illusions about the existing affairs is
the demand to give up a state of affairs that needs illusions. The criticism of
religion is therefore in embryo the criticism of the vale of tears, the halo of
which is religion." [Contribution to Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Law, in
Marx and Engels Collected Works, Volume 3 (New York, 1975), pp. 175-76]
One has only to read these words to see the intellectual and moral chasm that
separates Marxism from the unhealthy milieu of the ex-left political cynicism
that has found expression in Charlie Hebdo. There has been nothing enlightening,
let alone edifying, in their puerile and often obscene denigration of the Muslim
religion and its traditions.
The cynically provocative anti-Muslim caricatures that have appeared on so many
covers of Charlie Hebdo have pandered to and facilitated the growth of
right-wing chauvinist movements in France. It is absurd to claim, by way of
defense of Charlie Hebdo, that its cartoons are all "in good fun" and have no
political consequences. Aside from the fact that the French government is
desperate to rally support for its growing military agenda in Africa and the
Middle East, France is a country where the influence of the neo-fascist National
Front is growing rapidly. In this political context, Charlie Hebdo has
facilitated the growth of a form of politicized anti-Muslim sentiment that bears
a disturbing resemblance to the politicized anti-Semitism that emerged as a mass
movement in France in the 1890s.
In its use of crude and vulgar caricatures that purvey a sinister and
stereotyped image of Muslims, Charlie Hebdo recalls the cheap racist
publications that played a significant role in fostering the anti-Semitic
agitation that swept France during the famous Dreyfus Affair, which erupted in
1894 after a Jewish officer was accused and falsely convicted of espionage on
behalf of Germany. In whipping up popular hatred of Jews, La Libre Parole ["Free
Speech"], published by the infamous Edoard Adolfe Drumont, made highly effective
use of cartoons that employed the familiar anti-Semitic devices. The caricatures
served to inflame public opinion, inciting mobs against Dreyfus and his
defenders, such as Emile Zola, the great novelist and author of J'Accuse.
The World Socialist Web Site, on the basis of long-standing political
principles, opposes and unequivocally condemns the terrorist assault on Charlie
Hebdo. But we refuse to join in the portrayal of Charlie Hebdo as a martyr to
the cause of democracy and free speech, and we warn our readers to be wary of
the reactionary agenda that motivates this hypocritical and dishonest campaign.
* David North is an American Trotskyist. He is the national chairman of the
Socialist Equality Party in the United States (SEP), formerly the Workers
League. North is also the chairman of the International Editorial Board of the
World Socialist Web Site, where this article was first published.
Charlie Hebdo: Some Tough Quandaries
By Boaventura de Sousa Santos
The heinous nature of the crime against the journalists and cartoonists from
Charlie Hebdo makes it extremely difficult to offer a cool-headed analysis of
what is entailed in this barbaric act, its context and precedents, as well as
its impact and future repercussions. Still an analysis is urgently needed, lest
we fan the flames of a fire that one of these days may well hit our children's
schools, our homes, our institutions and our consciences. Here are some thoughts
towards that analysis.
THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM: TORTURE AND DEMOCRACY
One cannot draw a direct connection between the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and the
fight against terrorism waged by the US and its allies since September 11, 2001.
It is a known fact, however, that the West's extreme aggressiveness has caused
the death of many thousands of innocent civilians (mostly Muslims) and inflicted
astounding levels of violence and torture on young Muslims against whom all
suspicions of wrongdoing are speculative at best, as attested to by the report
recently submitted to the US Congress. It is also well known that many young
Islamic radicals claim that their radicalisation stems from their anger at all
that unredressed violence.
In view of this, we must stop and consider whether the best way to bring the
spiral of violence to a halt is to pursue the same policies that have driven it
so far, as has now become all too evident. The French response to the attack
shows that democratic, constitutional normalcy is now suspended and an
undeclared state of siege is in place; that this type of criminal should be shot
dead rather than incarcerated and brought to justice, and that such behaviour in
no way seems to contradict Western values. We have entered a phase of
low-intensity civil war. Who in Europe stands to gain from it? Certainly not the
Podemos party in Spain, nor Greece's Syriza.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
The freedom to express oneself is a precious commodity, but it, too, has its
limits, and the truth is that the overwhelming majority of those limits are
imposed by those who advocate limitless freedom whenever their own freedom is
curtailed. The examples of such limits are legion: in England a demonstrator can
get herself arrested for saying that David Cameron has blood on his hands; in
France Islamic women are not allowed to wear the hijab; in 2008, cartoonist Siné
(Maurice Sinet) was fired from Charlie Hebdo for writing an allegedly
anti-Semitic article. What this all means is that limits do exist; it's just
that they vary for different interest groups. Take Latin America, for example,
where the major media, which are controlled by oligarchic families and by big
capital, are the first to cry out for unrestrained freedom of expression so that
they can throw abuse at the progressive governments and silence all the good
that these governments have done to promote the well-being of the poor.
It seems that Charlie Hebdo knew no limits when it came to insulting Muslims,
although many of its cartoons were racist propaganda and contributed to feed the
Islamophobic, anti-immigrant wave now sweeping over France and Europe in
general. Besides many cartoons in which the Prophet is shown in pornographic
poses, one in particular was very much explored by the far right. It depicted a
group of pregnant Muslim women presented as Boko Haram sex slaves, their hands
resting on their belly bump, screaming "Hands off our welfare benefits". At one
stroke, the cartoon stigmatised Islam, women and the welfare state. As was to be
expected, over the years the largest Muslim community in Europe saw this
editorial line as offensive. On the other hand, however, its condemnation of
this barbaric crime was immediate. We must therefore reflect on the
contradictions and asymmetries of the lived values some of us believe to be
TOLERANCE AND 'WESTERN VALUES'
The context of the crime is dominated by two currents of opinion, none of which
is conducive to building an inclusive, intercultural Europe. The more radical of
the two is openly Islamophobic and anti-immigrant. These are the hardliners of
the far right all across Europe and of the right wherever it feels threatened in
upcoming elections (as is the case of Greece's Antonis Samara). For this current
of thought, the enemies of European civilization are among 'us'. They hate us,
they wield our passports, and the situation cannot be solved unless we get rid
of them. The anti-immigrant overtones are unmistakable. The other current is
that of tolerance. These people are very different from us, they are a burden,
but we have to "put up with them", for, if nothing else, they are useful; we
should do it, however, only if they behave moderately and assimilate our values.
But what are "Western values"? After many centuries of atrocities committed in
the name of such values both within and outside Europe – from colonial violence
to the two world wars – a degree of caution and much reflection are in order
about what those values are and also about why, depending on the context, now
some of them, now others, tend to take precedence. For example, no one questions
the value of freedom, but the same cannot be said for equality and fraternity,
the two values underlying the welfare state that prevailed in democratic Europe
after World War II. In recent years, however, social protection – which used to
ensure high levels of social integration – began to be questioned by
conservative politicians and is now seen as an unaffordable luxury by the
parties of the so-called "arc of governance". Isn't it true that the social
crisis caused by the erosion of social protection and by growing unemployment,
especially among youth, is like fuel to the flames of radicalism found among the
younger generations, who, in addition to unemployment, are the victims of ethnic
and religious discrimination?
A CLASH OF FANATICISMS, NOT OF CIVILIZATIONS
What we are facing now is not a clash of civilizations, because Christian and
Islamic civilization share the same roots to begin with. What we have before us
is a clash of fanaticisms, even if some of them are just too close to us to be
recognized as such. History shows that many fanaticisms and the way in which
they clashed were related to economic and political interests, which in any
event were never beneficial to those who suffered most at the hands of fanatics.
This is the case, in Europe and its areas of influence, of the Crusades and the
Inquisition, the evangelisation of colonial populations, the religious wars and
the conflict in Northern Ireland. Outside Europe, a religion as peaceable as
Buddhism has legitimised the slaughter of many thousands of members of Sri
Lanka's Tamil minority; in 2003, Hindu fundamentalists also slaughtered the
Muslim populations of Gujarat, and the likelihood of their rise to power as a
result of President Modi's recent victory makes one fear the worst. It is also
in the name of religion that Israel is carrying on with its unpunished, ethnic
cleansing of Palestine and that the so-called Islamic Emirate is slaughtering
Muslim populations in Syria and in Iraq.
Could it be that the defense of unrestrained secularism in an intercultural
Europe, where many people do not identify with this particular value, is itself
a form of extremism? Do extremisms oppose one another? Do they interconnect?
What relationships are there between the jihadists and the Western secret
services? How come the jihadists of the Islamic Emirate, who are now seen as
terrorists, used to be freedom fighters when they were fighting against Gaddafi
and Assad? How is it that the Islamic Emirate is funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar,
Kuwait and Turkey, all of them allies of the West? This being said, the fact
remains that, over the last decade at least, the overwhelming majority of
victims of all fanaticisms (including Islamic fanaticism) belonged to
non-fanatical Muslim populations.
THE VALUE OF HUMAN LIFE
The absolute, unconditional revulsion experienced by Europeans in the face of
these deaths should make us wonder why they do not feel the same kind of
revulsion in the face of a similar, if not much higher, number of innocent
deaths caused by conflicts that, at bottom, may have something to do with the
Charlie Hebdo tragedy. On that very same day, 37 young people were killed in a
bomb attack in Yemen. Last summer, the Israeli invasion caused the death of
2,000 Palestinians, including about 1,500 civilians and 500 children. In Mexico,
102 journalists have been murdered since 2000 for speaking up for freedom of the
press, and in November 2014, 43 young people were killed in Ayotzinapa, also in
Mexico. Surely the difference in those reactions cannot be based on the notion
that the life of white Europeans, coming from a Christian culture, is worth more
than the lives of non-Europeans or of Europeans of another colour, whose culture
originates in different religions or in other regions. Is it because the latter
live at a remove from the Europeans and are less familiar to them?
On the other hand, does the Christian injunction to love one's neighbour provide
for such distinctions? Is it because the big media and the political leaders in
the West tend to trivialise the suffering inflicted on those others, or even to
demonise them to the point of making us think that they had it coming?
* Boaventura de Sousa Santos is a Professor of Sociology at the School of
Economics, University of Coimbra, Protugal. Sousa Santos has taught in various
universities including Yale, Wisconsin-Madison Law School and University of
Déjà Vu In France: What Both The British
Empire And The French Empire Had Produced
By Jacob G. Hornberger
I'm getting a big déjà vu feeling in the aftermath of the
Charlie Hebdo killings in France.
The French government is declaring war on terrorism. It's militarizing French
society. It's proposing a Patriot Act. It's supporting a mass surveillance
scheme. It's advocating killing more people in the Middle East. There is even
talk of using military tribunals to try terrorism cases.
Hey, those were all things that U.S. officials did after the 9/11 attacks. No
wonder I'm getting a déjà vu feeling!
I'll bet the German people are getting a bit of déjà vu too. That's because
their former president, Adolf Hitler, took the same sort of measures after the
terrorist attack on the Reichstag. That's what the Enabling Act was all about.
After the terrorists firebombed the Reichstag, Hitler told the German
representatives that it was imperative that he be granted special powers to wage
the war on the terrorism. Just before the vote on whether to grant Hitler
extraordinary powers, he reassured the Reichstag:
The government will make use of these powers only insofar as they are essential
for carrying out vitally necessary measures. The number of cases in which an
internal necessity exists for having recourse to such a law is in itself a
In a 441-84 vote, the Reichstag gave Hitler his extraordinary powers to wage the
war on terrorism. As part of his plan to defeat terrorism, Hitler organized
special tribunals to try cases involving terrorism. He called it the People's
Court. That's where Hans and Sophie Scholl and the members of the White Rose
were put on trial, convicted, and executed.
This quote by Hitler's Nazi cohort Hermann Goering is apt:
It is always a simple matter to drag the people along…. the people can always be
brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell
them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of
patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.
Indeed it does. The last thing people want to do is confront the notion that
their very own government is at the heart of the problem. Their government is
their everything. It is their provider. It is their papa.
This is especially true in France, where the government takes care of people by
providing them with their retirement pay, healthcare, job protection, economic
regulations, and education. The last thing people are going to do is point to
the government's very own policies abroad as the root cause of the anger and
hatred that drives people to commit acts of terrorism.
After all, what if the government were to get angry and terminate the dole on
which people are dependent? The situation is akin to a child who throws temper
tantrums but never challenges his parents at a fundamental level for fear that
his parents will no longer take care of him.
It's much easier for the French people, like all too many Americans after 9/11,
to swallow the government's line hook, line, and sinker — that the terrorists
just hate France for its freedom and values and that the anger and hatred have
nothing to do with all the people that the French government, in combination
with the U.S. government, has been killing, maiming, and torturing in
Afghanistan and the Middle East for the past 13 years.
What's this much-vaunted free society that French officials say the terrorists
Well, let's see.
There are the laws that criminalize the questioning of the Holocaust. If you do
that in France, they will take you into custody, prosecute you, and jail you,
even if you are a foreigner. What they mean by freedom of speech in France is
the freedom to say whatever you want so long as it's approved by the government.
There is strict gun control in France. The idea is that if guns are made
illegal, there won't be anyone being killed by guns. Just think: Every one of
those people at Charlie Hebdo was legally prohibited from defending himself from
murderers who obviously didn't give a hoot about France's gun-control laws.
There is the welfare state, a socialist economic system that plunders and loots
people with income taxation and other taxes in order to provide a dole to
people. The welfare state, combined with France's highly regulated economic
system, is the reason that the country has been mired in an economic morass for
When they established the United States, our American ancestors fully and
completely rejected European statism. But our ancestors weren't naïve. They knew
that the federal government would inevitably attract statists, just like those
in France and other parts of Europe. That's why our ancestors ensured the
passage of the Bill of Rights — protect our rights and freedoms from American
statists within the federal government.
It's also why Americans lived without income taxation, welfare, Social Security,
Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, gun control, fiat money, a central bank,
and all the other attributes of European statism for more than 100 years. Our
ancestors had had enough of European statism.
And that's not all. Our ancestors also rejected the old, bankrupt ideas of
empire, militarism, standing armies, secret police, and foreign interventionism.
They had seen what both the British Empire and the French Empire had produced:
endless terrorist blowback arising from anger and hatred for imperialism as well
as ever-increasing expenditures, taxes, and borrowing and ever-growing
infringements on the rights and liberties of the citizenry, including such
things as warrantless searches, mass surveillance, gun confiscation, taxes, and
fiat money. That's in fact why the British colonists in America seceded from the
British Empire in 1776.
It's time for the American people to wake up and rediscover their roots and
their heritage. It's time to reject European statism, just as the Founding
Fathers and the Framers did. It's time to dismantle, not reform, the American
welfare-warfare state, including the income tax, the IRS, and the Federal
Reserve, which provide the revenue for this monstrosity. It would be the best
thing we could ever do for ourselves and for the world.
Free Speech In America? What About Lynne Stewart?
By Jacob G. Hornberger
In the aftermath of the terrorist attack in France on Charlie
Hebdo, U.S. officials are telling the world how committed they are to the
principles of freedom of speech.
How about Lynne Stewart, the New York lawyer who was convicted and sentenced to
serve time in a federal penitentiary for doing nothing more than speaking the
following words to the press:
I am not withdrawing my support of the cease-fire, I am merely questioning it
and I am urging you, who are on the ground there to discuss it and to include
everyone in your discussions as we always have done.
The "I" in those words referred to a convicted terrorist named Omar
Abdel-Rahmanj, who Stewart, a famous New York lawyer, was representing. Those
specific words that Stewart spoke to the press were actually a note that her
client had written and asked her to read to the press.
What was Stewart convicted of? Supporting terrorism.
One obvious question arises: What else did Stewart do to deserve her criminal
conviction, her time in jail, and her disbarment as a lawyer?
Did she participate in planning sessions for terrorist attacks? Did she serve as
a recruiter for terrorists? Did she herself initiate terrorist attacks?
The answer is no to those three questions. She didn't do anything else. All that
Stewart did was to speak those particular words to the press.
So, the next question arises: What in particular makes those particular words a
crime to speak to the press? Let's analyze each phrase:
I am not withdrawing my support of a ceasefire.
What's wrong with not withdrawing support for a ceasefire? I can sort of see
some federal prosecutor wanting to make a federal case out of someone
withdrawing his support for a ceasefire. But I'm not sure how one makes the case
that terrorism encompasses not withdrawing support of a ceasefire. Doesn't a
ceasefire connote the absence of violence? If someone is supporting a ceasefire,
or nonviolence, why is that terroristic?
I am merely questioning it and I am urging you … to discuss it.
How is questioning a ceasefire and urging people to discuss the ceasefire
terroristic? Doesn't questioning involve nothing more than a mental process on
the part of the utterer? Can thinking really be considered a criminal act?
Moreover, why is simply discussing whether a ceasefire should be ended
considered a criminal act? What if the discussions end up with everyone
supporting the ceasefire? Should that matter?
Here is what the presiding judge in the Stewart case said:
A rational jury could have inferred that, by relaying a statement withdrawing
support for a cessation of violence by an influential, pro-violence leader of a
terrorist group, Stewart knew that she was providing support to those within the
IG (Islamic Group) who sought to return to violence…."
But wait a minute! That isn't what Stewart did. She didn't relay "a statement
withdrawing support for a cessation of violence." She did the exact opposite!
She specifically said: "I am NOT withdrawing my support of the cease-fire…."
It would seem that in the Orwellian world of the U.S. national-security state
and the much-vaunted "war on terrorism," yes means yes and no means yes.
But let's assume that the note read as that judge said it did. In fact, let's
assume the worst. Let's assume that the note that Stewart read to the press
expressly called on people to end all ceasefires and to violently overthrow the
Well, under U.S. national-security law it would depend on which government
Stewart was referring to. If, for example, she was referring to Cuba or
Venezuela, then U.S. officials would never have prosecuted her because in that
case, her words would not be considered a criminal offense under U.S.
Indeed, that's precisely what the 54-year-old U.S. embargo against Cuba is all
about. Its very purpose is to inflict as much economic harm on the Cuban people
as possible, in the hope that the Cuban people will rise up and violently
overthrow the Castro regime. That's what the CIA's sneak attack on Cuba in 1961
was all about — getting the Cuban people to violently overthrow their own
government. In fact, ever since Castro took power, U.S. officials, including the
CIA and many members of Congress, have gone out of their way to exhort the Cuban
people to violently overthrow the communist regime in Cuba and re-install a pro-U.S.
dictator, similar to the pro-U.S. dictator who Castro ousted, Fulgencio Batista.
So, why then was Stewart prosecuted, convicted, and jailed for doing nothing
more than speaking words to the press, words that did nothing more than express
her client's continued support for a ceasefire and calling on his followers to
question it and discuss it?
Under U.S. national-security law, Stewart's offense was in picking the wrong
country and the wrong regime. She picked Egypt, which has long been run by one
of the most brutal and corrupt military dictatorships in history, one that has
long been notorious for disallowing elections, murdering peaceful protesters,
shutting down critical newspapers, running torture chambers, operating
commercial enterprises, maintaining strict secrecy on military expenditures, and
all the other things that military dictatorships do.
Why was Egypt treated differently from Cuba and Venezuela insofar as Stewart's
words are concerned?
Egypt is a pro-U.S. military dictatorship, one that is a loyal partner of the
U.S. government, while Cuba and Venezuela have steadfastly chosen to remain
independent of the U.S. national-security state. In fact, it would be difficult
to find a dictatorial regime that has proven more loyal to the U.S. government
than that of Egypt.
Consider just one example: When the U.S. national-security state needed foreign
regimes to torture people as part of its war on terrorism after 9/11, Egypt
eagerly and loyally came forward to volunteer to be part of the U.S.
national-security state's rendition-torture program and, in fact, actually
tortured people at the request of and on behalf of the U.S. government.
In fact, it's been the U.S. government that has long provided the resources,
primarily in terms of weaponry, that has enabled the military dictatorship to
remain firmly in control in Egypt. Even to this day, U.S. taxpayer monies in the
form of weapons continue to flood into the regime to help it maintain its iron
military grip over the Egyptian people.
Under U.S. national-security law, no American will be permitted to call for the
violent overthrow of a loyal and patriotic ally and partner like the Egyptian
military dictatorship. Lynne Stewart, who ended up receiving 10-year jail
sentence, learned that lesson. She should have known that when Thomas Jefferson
wrote in the Declaration of Independence that people everywhere have the
fundamental right to overthrow a tyrannical regime, he obviously meant to
exclude tyrannies that are partners of the U.S. government. He also obviously
meant to say that the exercise of fundamental, God-given rights such as freedom
of speech has its limits.
Paris Attacks: Let's Talk About The 'War On Terror'
By Hamza Hamouchene
Like any marking moment in history, especially shocking episodes, the attacks on
the weekly French magazine Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher supermarket have been
(and will be) instrumentalised in different ways to pursue insidious agendas.
Attempts to occult the context and to evacuate the underlying systemic causes
that lead to such violence are underway. We urgently need to understand why this
violence is happening and keeps recurring and to do so is neither a
justification for any crime nor an apology of violence.
"CLASH OF CIVILISATIONS" AND ATTACK ON "FREE SPEECH", REALLY?
For instance, some pundits and politicians have caricatured what happened along
the lines of "Clash of Civilisations" between enlightened and freedom-loving
Westerners on one hand and Violent and Evil Muslims in the other hand, as if
there is something inherently violent in Islam that pushes Muslims to commit
these atrocities. This shameless essentialisation of Islam and misguided
culturalist interpretations of events deceitfully shift the discussion from the
political to the cultural sphere and dismisses any serious exploration of the
"Why" of such acts. The result is a racist backlash against Muslims and
humiliating exhortations towards them to denounce and distance themselves from
the terrorists. Did it occur to anyone to ask "Christians" in Norway to distance
themselves from Anders Breivik who killed 77 people in the name of Islamophobia
and White supremacy?
Similarly, we saw a clear pattern in the mainstream media that tried to reduce
what happened to simply an attack on freedom of expression, a "sacred" and
"absolute" value in the Western liberal democracies, something we must strive to
preserve against those fundamentalists who cannot bear their religion be mocked.
There is a certain dishonesty with this framing. What of "free speech" when
multinational conglomerates and rich men control the majority of media outlets
in the world (including in France), thus limiting alternative voices from
Free speech is not intrinsically good or noble. It is its use that defines if it
is progressive and just or reactionary and hateful. In that respect, freedom of
expression is not beyond criticism. Recognising this is by no means a call to
limit this freedom as it has been shown throughout history that criticism of
religion is a key historical condition for the advancement of knowledge,
political emancipation and women's liberation, and condemning free speech or
putting a limitation on it (caricaturing it as swearing or blasphemy) just
because some use it in reactionary way is not justified.
WE ARE ALL CHARLIE! WHO IS CHARLIE?
That brings us to the slogan "We are all Charlie" that is being insensitively
deployed all over the place in the last few days. We must not confuse between
defending freedom of expression and identifying with a racist and Islamophobic
institution. Denouncing the violence against Charlie Hebdo does not mean
ignoring their contribution to the Islamophobic climate in France (and Europe)
today. There has been a lot of rationalisation around this role played by the
magazine advancing the argument that it targeted all religions without
discrimination. But we must not forget that criticism of religion is racialised
and differential in a context of an existing extreme Islamophobia and an
imperialist assault on Muslim-majority countries.
The magazine subscribed to the "War on Terror" and with its satire added to the
oppression of already stigmatised and persecuted Muslim communities. Satire
should target the oppressor, the powerful not the oppressed and the weak.
"Freedom of Expression" therefore comes with a responsibility and the latest
depiction of the prophet Mohamed in the first cover since the attacks
demonstrates how this context of Islamophobia is completely brushed aside. We
cannot appreciate the situation fully without considering this climate of
growing state Islamophobia (the law of the veil in 2004, the discourse around
the urban revolt in 2005, law on Niqab, debate on national identity, exclusion
on veiled mothers from school trips, banning of protests in solidarity with
Palestinians....) that has been normalising Muslim bashing in the last few
decades as well as the massive inequalities in the society that produce
socio-economic marginalisation. We were not Charlie yesterday and we are not
The biggest and criminal instrumentalisation of all is the "republican march"
where more than a million people marched in the streets of Paris to denounce the
atrocities. They marched behind world leaders whose imperialist management of
the world caused the chaos and devastation, the majority of the planet lives in.
In denouncing Islamist extremism and defending "freedom of expression", they
marched alongside war criminals, racists, Islamophobes, fascists, Zionists and
dictators. The march was hijacked by hypocritical transnational political elites
in order to score points, potentially signalling stormy days to come, additional
curtailment of civil liberties, more discrimination, more Islamophobia and a
further legitimisation of the "War on Terror". This ludicrous show of "unity"
between the world leaders is reminiscent of the Manichean motto "You are either
with us or against us" proclaimed by President Bush after the 9/11.
Beyond the political hijacking of the emotion and the strong display of
solidarity, one cannot help but notice the telling absence of indignation and/or
the unequal outrage at the destruction and millions of deaths caused by the
Western imperialist wars in the last few years: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria,
Somalia, Pakistan, Central African Republic and Yemen.etc. It only suffices to
point the scant coverage of the massacre of an estimated 2,000 people by Boko
Haram in Nigeria that happened in the same week as the Paris shootings to
illustrate the hierarchies of the global (dis)-order we live in, an order of
selective outrage and sheer indifference. Those victims from the global south
are the voiceless, the silenced majority and the un-people of our time.
WHAT ABOUT THE "WAR ON TERROR"?
If we are really serious about attempting to understand such violence, we need
to explore the link it has with the disastrous Western foreign policies that
fuel more violence and give rise to terrorism in the first place. Islamist
terrorism wouldn't have reached the proportions we see today without Western
support. How can one pretend to fight this terrorism while continuing to hold
strong ties with Saudi Arabia, a state-sponsor of different Jihadist groups, the
most fundamentalist state on earth the and prime exporter of a reactionary and
obscurantist Wahhabi ideology that preaches violence and nurtures extremism?
Different fundamentalist groups have been backed, trained and financed by the
West (including France) for decades against Arab nationalism and against
"godless" communism. This support took dramatic proportions after the Soviet
invasion of Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda, the global terrorist organisation that was
created by Bin Laden in Afghanistan emerged out of this war.
The Western imperial interventions in Muslim-majority countries created immense
suffering, destruction and mayhem (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq); and
exacerbated the threat from international terrorism. Libya has become an
exporter of terrorism to the Sahel region after the NATO intervention. Foreign
meddling in Syria (which France championed) and Iraq by colluding with terrorist
group, created the Islamic State (IS) that is recruiting Jihadists from Europe.
It appears that the partner of Coulibaly (the gunman who murdered four hostages
in the supermarket and who declared his allegiance to IS) travelled to a part of
Syria that is controlled by IS.
Moreover, indefectible backing to apartheid Israel, drone attacks on innocent
civilians and the massive rendition/torture program only create discontent and
provide a fertile ground to recruit Jihadists that will go and fight the new
"crusaders". What these interventions end up doing is unifying the diverse
Jihadist groups under the Umbrella of Al Qaeda or IS.
The global war on terror is clearly no such war at all; it is a
war between barbarisms[/url], a conflict with enemies designated by the West. It
is about justifying interventionism and maintaining Western hegemony, which
enforces the brutal neoliberal global order, the plunder of natural resources
and the support to repressive regimes
It is this context of imperialist violence and cruelty, the belligerent foreign
policy and attempts to maintain the West's global power that gives rise to
Islamist terrorism. If not addressed, the infernal cycle of violence will
continue and will cause more suffering all over the world.
* Hamza Hamouchene is an Algerian writer, activist and co-founder of Algeria
Solidarity Campaign (ASC). This article was previously published by Huffington
The Charlie Hebdo white power rally in Paris: A celebration of
By Ajamu Barak
The "civilized" have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do
not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and
enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they
decide that their "vital interests" are menaced, and think nothing of torturing
a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of
the "sanctity" of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.
— James Baldwin
I have witnessed the spectacle of Eurocentric arrogance many times over my long
years of struggle and resistance to colonial/capitalist domination and
dehumanization. The grotesque, 21st Century version of the "white man's burden,"
which asserts that the international community (meaning the West) has a moral
and legal "responsibility to protect," is one current example; the generalized
acceptance by many in the West that their governments have a right to wage
permanent war against the global "others" to maintain international order is
Yet, when I think I have seen it all, along comes the response to the attack at
the racist, Islamophobic publication Charlie Hebdo. Even though I shouldn't be
surprised, I am still left in complete wonderment at the West's unmitigated
self-centeredness and self-righteous arrogance.
The millions who turned out on Sunday claimed to be marching in solidarity with
the victims at Charlie Hebdo and against terrorism. They were joined by
political leaders from across Europe, Israel and other parts of the world – on
the same weekend reports were emerging that 2,000 Nigerians may have lost their
lives at the hands of Boko Haram, another Muslim extremist group.
Surely there would be expressions of solidarity with the survivors in Nigeria at
a gathering ostensibly to oppose terrorism and uphold the sanctity of life. But
the expressions of solidarity never came. In fact, based on the attention the
massacre received from the Western press, it was as if the massacre had never
It is clear that there was a different agenda for the march and a different set
of concerns for Europe. The people of France mobilized themselves to defend what
they saw as an attack against Western civilization. However, the events in Paris
did not have to be framed as an existential attack on the imagined values of the
liberal white West. Providing some context and making some political links may
have been beneficial for attempting to understand what happened in the country
and a political way forward beyond the appeal to racial jingoism.
The attack could have sparked an honest conversation about how many Muslims
experience life in contemporary France and viewed French policies in various
Muslim and Arab nations. It could have examined the relationship between the
rise of radical Islam and the connection of that rise to the activities of
various branches of the French intelligence services. An open discussion might
have framed it as a classic blowback operation resulting from the weaponization
of radical Whabbanism as a tool of Western power from the late 1970s to its
current assignment in Syria. But those ideas were not allowed a forum on that
JE SUIS CHARLIE: EUROPEAN LIVES HAVE ALWAYS MATTERED MORE THAN OTHERS
The Je Suis Charlie slogan like one of those mindless advertising themes meant
to appeal to the unconscious and the irrational, nevertheless, has to have
cultural reference points, culturally embedded meanings that evoke the desire to
want to buy a product, or in this case to identify with an imagined
civilization. It does not matter that the supposed superiority of Western
civilization and its values is based on constructed lies and myths; it is still
the basis of a cross-class, transnational white identity.
The white identity is so powerfully inculcated while simultaneously
invisibalized that identification is not seen as the essentialized identity
politics that people of color supposedly engage in, instead it is just being
"human." And as we witnessed this weekend and throughout the colonial world,
identification with whiteness is not limited by one's racial or national
It is not necessary in this short essay to even address the contradictory nature
of the European self-understanding, how that self-perception is utterly
disconnected from its practice, and how many people in the world see the
500-years European hegemony as an interminable nightmare.
However, for those folks who believe the simple assertion that black lives
matter and that "racial progress" will be realized through progressive
legislative reform derived from a better understanding of the harmful impact of
racially discriminatory practices, the unfiltered expressions of white
solidarity and the privileging of white life should be a wake-up call.
The humanity and cultures of Arabs and Muslims have been denigrated in France
for decades. Full recognition of the humanity of Arabs and Muslims has always
come at a cost – Arabs and Muslims are required to "assimilate," to mimic French
lifestyles, embrace the language, adopt the values and worldview of their
cosmopolitan patrons. Older generations of fully colonized individuals subjected
themselves to that degrading ritual, but later generations see this requirement
as the colonial assault on their being that it is and have resisted.
It is the arrogant lack of respect for the ideas and culture of non-European
peoples that drove the French ban on the wearing of the niqab and other
traditional veiling clothing for Muslim women, just one example of the
generalized discriminatory treatment of Arabs and Muslims in France. In this
lager context, Charlie Hebdo's blatant disregard and disrespect for another
religion, shielded by an absolute commitment to freedom of speech that gives
them blanket immunity, is now compounded by the "Je Suis Charlie campaign,"
orchestrated in the name of upholding the values of liberal, Western
What it means for many of us in the Black community is that Je Suis Charlie has
become a sound bite to justify the erasure of non-Europeans, and for ignoring
the sentiments, values and views of the racialized "other." In short, Je Suis
Charlie has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy that was echoed
at the white power march on Sunday in Paris and in the popularity of the new
issue of Charlie Hebdo.
A shared ethical framework under the system of capitalist/colonial white
supremacy is impossible. Deeply grounded in the European psyche and in the
contradictions of its "humanist" traditions, who was considered fully human
always had qualifications, and equality was always a nuanced concept.
The contradictory ethical framework that informs the world view of Parisians is
grounded in the colonial division of humanity that emerged out of the liberal
humanist movement of the 18th Century. This tradition allowed for humanity to be
divided into those people who were considered fully human with rights that
should be respected and those peoples consigned to non-being. Those non-beings
became eligible to have their lands taken, to be enslaved and murdered at will.
The valuation of white life over everyone else is a fundamental component of
white supremacy and not limited to those people that might be defined as white.
That is why no one cares about the families that weep for their love ones in
Nigeria and no one marches for them. That is why anti-Muslim and anti-Arab
violence has exploded across France but the only mention in the Western press is
the supposed fear in the Jewish community. And that is why that after the attack
in Baga, Nigerian authorities were largely silent until Nigerian President
Goodluck finally issued a statement on terrorism where he forcefully condemned
the attack in Paris!
* Ajamu Baraka is a long-time human rights activist and veteran of the Black
Liberation, anti-war, anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity Movements
in the United States. This article was previously published by Dissident Voice.
Charlie Hebdo: "Je Suis White People"
By Margaret Kimberle
Don't kill white people. After all is said and done, the Charlie Hebdo outrage,
the hashtags, and the million person marches amount to that simple but very
powerful dictum. In the eyes of the governments that do most of the killing on
the planet and the corporate media who act as their scribes, there is nothing
worse than targeting even a handful of white people for death.
Charlie Hebdo is a supposedly satirical magazine published in Paris, France. It
was little known to Americans until January 7, 2015 when two gunmen attacked its
offices and killed twelve staff members. Charlie Hebdo was well known for
intentionally violating the Islamic prohibition of depicting the prophet.
According to survivors, the killers announced themselves as members of al-Qaeda
and said they were avenging the prophet Muhammad. A policewoman and four more
people were killed the following day when another gunman took hostages in a
One look at Charlie Hebdo cartoons shows that the word satire is being used very
loosely. The depictions of cabinet minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, and
the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as pregnant welfare recipients make a mockery of the world satirical. Regardless of how many
French politicians are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that
Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech.
Their reputation for insult and offense was quickly forgotten and the call to
unquestioningly identify with the victims was immediate. Within a few days, #Jesuischarlie
was tweeted more than one million times. The propaganda onslaught created an
awkward example of hypocrisy for world leaders who are always the worst killers
Barack Obama trotted out tired denunciations, calling the attacks "cowardly" as
he claimed to stand up for the rights of a free press. These were strange words
coming from a man who on seven occasions has used the discredited Espionage Act
to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to the media.
Americans were not alone in hypocritically condemning murder. The convenient
selective amnesia of the French people is as stunning as their sense of feeling
more aggrieved than anyone else in the world.
France was a party to every atrocity and genocide committed by Europeans in
history. France played a major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade[/url],
kidnapping approximately 1,250,000 Africans and sending them to work under
barbaric conditions in their American territories.
After being forced out of Haiti by the world's most successful slave rebellion,
France then held that nation hostage under threat of re-enslavement and demanded
a payment of $60 million which were paid from 1838 to 1947. Haiti remains
poverty stricken to this day as a result.
France was at the table during the 1884 Berlin Conference which chopped Africa
up into European spheres of influence. France engaged in mass slaughter again
and again as it attempted to prevent colonies such as Vietnam and Algeria from
After NATO murdered Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, French president Nicolas Sarkozy
traveled to Libya to personally gloat over the country he helped to destroy. He
was joined by UK prime minister David Cameron, who was also among the
killers-in-chief who arrived in Paris looking solemn. France and the UK are part
of the NATO effort to destroy Syria and turn it into a chaotic ruin as they have
done to Libya.
The corporate media determines who is and who isn't a worthy victim and people
with dark skin rarely make the cut. The thousands of Palestinians killed by
Israel in Gaza included members of the press. Seventeen journalists were killed
in Gaza in 2014 alone, yet Israeli president Netanyahu was allowed to join the
"unity march" in Paris as if he too were an innocent.
There is enough horror in the world to cause outrage but the level of outrage
seems to depend on who is being treated horribly and who is carrying out the
atrocity. The worst acts of terror are committed by heads of state who don't
kill seventeen people as these attackers did in Paris. They kill in the
thousands yet are still treated with respect.
It doesn't say much for the state of human advancement that killings committed
by individuals still create so much more concern than those committed by
governments. They get away with mass murder because the same corporate media
which saturated coverage of Charlie Hebdo say little or nothing about Gaza or
Libya or Somalia or Syria or Iraq or Haiti. Instead of pointing out that Barack
Obama is a killer too, the pundits criticize him for not being among the
sanctimonious liars who gathered in Paris. The group photo should have been a
perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo opportunity for the seriously blood
Murder is wrong when committed by individual gunmen with grudges and it is still
wrong when it comes from a drone strike. A unity march should denounce human
rights abuses, of which warfare is the worst. The next time 1 million gather to
denounce terror, the anger should be directed at those people who carry it out
* Margaret Kimberley is editor and senior columnist at Black Agenda Report.
Her Freedom Rider column appears weekly.
Charlie Hebdo: Unending Muslim anger at the West
By Abdulrazaq Magaji
A special edition of Charlie Hebdo is on sale. Emboldened by the hypocritical
speeches that characterised last Sunday's international solidarity rally in
Paris, editors of the rag-sheet claimed three million copies would be on sale
for the next one week. A sell-out is guaranteed and this means cool cash for a
publication whose weekly print never exceeded fifty thousand.
As usual, hypocrisy has won and the world is basking in its warped victory. In
the thick of the madness to commend bigots' right to offend, there was no
semblance of a whimper from world leaders that rallied in Paris in condemnation
of the excesses of Charlie Hebdo. Iran, Turkey and a few Muslim organizations
preached moderation from the fringes but had their voices drowned in the global
display of hypocrisy. This is hardly surprising, anyway! The message: Charlie
Hebdo did nothing wrong in caricaturing prophets; it is their attackers that are
black-faced, intolerant Muslim fundamentalists!
Despite the hypocrisy, the West must accept complicity in the deaths! During the
week, seventeen people, made up of journalists, cartoonists, police officers,
bystanders and three terrorists were killed and the whole world literally came
to a standstill. The anger that greeted the killings and the global condemnation
that followed are justified. Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President
Mahmud Abass, leaders of the two countries that are responsible, albeit
indirectly, for last week's and similar targeted killings elsewhere made it to
Overnight, a little known, backwater publication has become world known. This
could have been the aim of its founders but it is safe to hazard a guess that
the seventeen people that were killed would still be alive had one-tenth of
those who rallied in Paris last Sunday shouted down Charlie Hebdo and condemned
the excesses of its editors over the years. But the world chose to play the
ostrich, in the selective defence of a dubious and hypocritical culture of
freedom of speech, as Charlie Hebdo and similar outfits and individuals insulted
and assaulted the sensibilities of others.
According to Western narratives, which we must all subscribe to, it is
considered appropriate for people, including Jews, to shred and make bonfires of
copies of the Holy Qur'an just as it is fashionable for people to caricature and
depict the Holy Prophet Muhammad without considering its offence on Muslims. In
the same West, official sanctions, including long spells in prison await
expression of anti-Semitic views such as denial of the holocaust, the term used
to describe the alleged incineration of six million Jews by Europeans on
European soil. It is on account of holocaust-denial that Iran is being treated
as a pariah state. Freedom of speech, eh?
The unfortunate Charlie Hebdo massacre reminds us of the frustration of the
average Muslims arising from this dilemma. Muslims are enjoined to show
reverence for all divinely-revealed books: the Holy Qur'an is one; the others
being the Old and New Testaments of the Holy Bible, a collection of revelations
which Muslims refer to as Azzabur, Attaurah and Injil. Rejecting any of these
clearly renders a Muslim an apostate. In essence, a Muslim cannot shred or make
a bonfire of the Holy Qur'an or the Holy Bible. Ditto for all Prophets: None is
considered a Muslim if they insult any of the Prophets of God prominent among
them being Jesus, known to Muslims as Isa. Many non-Muslims would be surprised
to hear that Muslims would rise in condemnation if, God forbid, a Muslim
caricatures Jesus or any Prophet for that matter!
In addition to these, Muslims are enjoined to show reverence for and, defend
places of worship which, to them are mosques, churches and synagogues. Even in
times of war, those who seek refuge in these places are free from being
attacked. It is in the spirit of these and several Qur'anic injunctions that
mainstream Muslims condemn and dismiss as non-Muslims and apostates extremist
groups such as Boko Haram that target Christians and their places of worship.
Muslims have several issues with the way the West treats them and their
religion. In fact, there is this general perception among even the most liberal
Muslims that the West deliberately seeks to undermine Islam. The point is not
that this charge is easily brushed aside; what is at issue is that Muslims
worldwide just cannot understand why Westerners fail to understand the Muslims'
dilemma after several centuries of direct contact between the two worlds. It is
this failure, which Muslims perceive as deliberate, that has been at the heart
of the persistent Muslim anger at the West.
What this boils down to is that since his religion does not permit him to make a
bonfire of revealed books and depict Prophets, the Muslim is left with one of
three options when his dilemma pushes him to the point of frustration, to the
point of getting even with the West. One, and this is favoured by majority of
Muslims, is to ignore those who deliberately seek to undermine Islam through
depicting Prophets in cartoons and amateur videos. Two, and this is favoured by
adherents of Shi'a sect as represented by its elevation to state policy in Iran,
is to promote holocaust-denial to state policy. The third, as with Charlie Hebdo,
is the recourse to taking up arms to 'avenge the Prophet.'
Muslims have reasons to believe that the West has a deliberate agenda to
undermine Islam. And there is a long-standing historical narrative behind this
feeling. According to this narrative, going back to the Middle Ages, Christian
forces from the West have persistently sought to break the grip of Islam on its
people. By holding fast, Muslims believe, they were able to flourish as a
civilization, at times superseding the West in many dimensions. With the desire
by the West to turn the blind eye or even encourage Islamophobia, Muslims today,
increasingly feel justified in their belief that the onslaught on Islam has
assumed a more threatening dimension. The fear is reinforced by the acquisition
of weapons of mass destruction which they easily deploy in defence of Israel at
the expense of the Muslim world.
Contrary to the popular misconceptions in the West, very few Muslims subscribe
to the warped ideas of Al Qaeda and ISIS. In the same vein, many Muslims
subscribe to Western liberal democracy that seeks to undermine their religion.
What is more, a referendum in Muslim communities would reveal that majority of
Muslims do not subscribe to the idea of wiping Israel off the surface of the
It is the failure on the part of the West to do what it ought to do that fuels
the terror machine of Al-Qa'eda and sundry groups. It may be a bitter pill to
swallow but truth is that the Palestine is central to the problem of terror that
has gripped the world. And doing what the West ought to do is to resolve the
Palestinian question. Otherwise, the world is not about to see the end of more
* Abdulrazaq Magaji is based in Abuja, Nigeria
Algeria Is The Post-colonial Wound That Still Bleeds In France
By Robert Fisk
Algeria. Long before the identity of the murder suspects was revealed by the
French police – even before I heard the names of Cherif and Said Kouachi – I
muttered the word "Algeria" to myself. As soon as I heard the names and saw the
faces, I said the word "Algeria" again. And then the French police said the two
men were of "Algerian origin".
For Algeria remains the most painful wound within the body politic of the
Republic – save, perhaps, for its continuing self-examination of Nazi occupation
– and provides a fearful context for every act of Arab violence against France.
The six-year Algerian war for independence, in which perhaps a million and a
half Arab Muslims and many thousands of French men and women died, remains an
unending and unresolved agony for both peoples. Just over half a century ago, it
almost started a French civil war.
Maybe all newspaper and television reports should carry a "history corner", a
little reminder that nothing – absolutely zilch – happens without a past.
Massacres, bloodletting, fury, sorrow, police hunts ("widening" or "narrowing"
as sub-editors wish) take the headlines. Always it's the "who" and the "how" –
but rarely the "why". Take the crime against humanity in Paris this week – the
words "atrocity" and "barbarity" somehow diminish the savagery of this act – and
its immediate aftermath.
We know the victims: journalists, cartoonists, cops. And how they were killed.
Masked gunmen, Kalashnikov automatic rifles, ruthless, almost professional
nonchalance. And the answer to "why" was helpfully supplied by the murderers.
They wanted to avenge "the Prophet" for Charlie Hebdo's irreverent and (for
Muslims) highly offensive cartoons. And of course, we must all repeat the
rubric: nothing – nothing ever – could justify these cruel acts of mass murder.
And no, the killers cannot call on history to justify their crimes.
But there's an important context that somehow got left out of the story this
week, the "history corner" that many Frenchmen as well as Algerians prefer to
ignore: the bloody 1954-62 struggle of an entire people for freedom against a
brutal imperial regime, a prolonged war which remains the foundational quarrel
of Arabs and French to this day.
The desperate and permanent crisis in Algerian-French relations, like the
refusal of a divorced couple to accept an agreed narrative of their sorrow,
poisons the cohabitation of these two peoples in France. However Cherif and Said
Kouachi excused their actions, they were born at a time when Algeria had been
invisibly mutilated by 132 years of occupation. Perhaps five million of France's
six-and- half million Muslims are Algerian. Most are poor, many regard
themselves as second-class citizens in the land of equality.
Like all tragedies, Algeria's eludes the one-paragraph explanation of news
agency dispatches, even the shorter histories written by both sides after the
French abandoned Algeria in 1962.
For unlike other important French dependencies or colonies, Algeria was regarded
as an integral part of metropolitan France, sending representatives to the
French parliament in Paris, even providing Charles de Gaulle and the Allies with
a French "capital" from which to invade Nazi-occupied north Africa and Sicily.
More than 100 years earlier, France had invaded Algeria itself, subjugating its
native Muslim population, building small French towns and chateaux across the
countryside, even – in an early 19th-century Catholic renaissance which was
supposed to "re-Christianise" northern Africa – converting mosques into
The Algerian response to what today appears to be a monstrous historical
anachronism varied over the decades between lassitude, collaboration and
insurrection. A demonstration for independence in the Muslim-majority and
nationalist town of Sétif on VE Day – when the Allies had liberated the captive
countries of Europe – resulted in the killing of 103 European civilians. French
government revenge was ruthless; up to 700 Muslim civilians – perhaps far more –
were killed by infuriated French "colons" and in bombardment of surrounding
villages by French aircraft and a naval cruiser. The world paid little
But when a full-scale insurrection broke out in 1954 – at first, of course,
ambushes with few French lives lost and then attacks on the French army – the
sombre war of Algerian liberation was almost preordained. Beaten in that classic
post-war anti-colonial battle at Dien Bien Phu, the French army, after its
debacle in 1940, seemed vulnerable to the more romantic Algerian nationalists
who noted France's further humiliation at Suez in 1956.
What the historian Alistair Horne rightly described in his magnificent history
of the Algerian struggle as "a savage war of peace" took the lives of hundreds
of thousands. Bombs, booby traps, massacres by government forces and National
Liberation Front guerrillas in the "bled" – the countryside south of the
Mediterranean – led to the brutal suppression of Muslim sectors of Algiers, the
assassination, torture and execution of guerrilla leaders by French
paratroopers, soldiers, Foreign Legion operatives – including German ex-Nazis –
and paramilitary police. Even white French sympathisers of the Algerians were
"disappeared". Albert Camus spoke out against torture and French civil servants
were sickened by the brutality employed to keep Algeria French.
De Gaulle appeared to support the white population and said as much in Algiers –
"Je vous ai compris," he told them – and then proceeded to negotiate with FLN
representatives in France. Algerians had long provided the majority of France's
Muslim population and in October 1961 up to 30,000 of them staged a banned
independence rally in Paris – in fact, scarcely a mile from the scene of last
week's slaughter – which was attacked by French police units who murdered, it is
now acknowledged, up to 600 of the protesters.
Algerians were beaten to death in police barracks or thrown into the Seine. The
police chief who supervised security operations and who apparently directed the
1961 massacre was none other than Maurice Papon – who was, almost 40 years
later, convicted for crimes against humanity under Petain's Vichy regime during
the Nazi occupation.
The Algerian conflict finished in a bloodbath. White "pied noir" French
colonists refused to accept France's withdrawal, supported the secret OAS in
attacking Algerian Muslims and encouraged French military units to mutiny. At
one point, De Gaulle feared that French paratroopers would try to take over
When the end came, despite FLN promises to protect French citizens who chose to
stay in Algeria, there were mass killings in Oran. Up to a million and a half
white French men, women and children – faced with a choice of "the coffin or the
suitcase" – left for France, along with thousands of loyal Algerian "harki"
fighters who fought with the army but were then largely abandoned to their
terrible fate by De Gaulle. Some were forced to swallow their own French
military medals and thrown into mass graves.
But the former French colonists, who still regarded Algeria as French – along
with an exhausted FLN dictatorship which took over the independent country –
instituted a cold peace in which Algeria's residual anger, in France as well as
in the homeland, settled into long-standing resentment. In Algeria, the new
nationalist elite embarked on a hopeless Soviet-style industrialisation of their
country. Former French citizens demanded massive reparations; indeed, for
decades, the French kept all the drainage maps of major Algerian cities so that
the new owners of Algeria had to dig up square miles of city streets every time
a water main burst.
And when the Algerian civil war of the 1980s commenced – after the Algerian army
cancelled a second round of elections which Islamists were sure to win – the
corrupt FLN "pouvoir" and the Muslim rebels embarked on a conflict every bit as
gruesome as the Franco-Algerian war of the 1950s and 1960s. Torture,
disappearances, village massacres all resumed. France discreetly supported a
dictatorship whose military leaders salted away millions of dollars in Swiss
Algerian Muslims returning from the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan joined the
Islamists in the mountains, killing some of the few remaining French citizens in
Algeria. And many subsequently left to fight in the Islamist wars, in Iraq and
Enter here the Kouachi brothers, especially Chérif, who was imprisoned for
taking Frenchmen to fight against the Americans in Iraq. And the United States,
with French support, now backs the FLN regime in its continuing battle against
Islamists in Algeria's deserts and mountain forests, arming a military which
tortured and murdered thousands of men in the 1990s.
As an American diplomat said just before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United
States "has much to learn" from the Algerian authorities. You can see why some
Algerians went to fight for the Iraqi resistance. And found a new cause…
* Robert Fisk is an English writer and journalist from Maidstone, Kent. He
has been Middle East correspondent of The Independent for more than twenty
years, primarily based in Beirut. This article was originally published by The
South Africa: Islamic Unity
Convention's Comment On French Terror Attacks
By Islamic Unity Convention
Nobody will condone killings of any sort, anywhere in
the world. It is, however, interesting how there is an
almost immediate expectation that Muslims should
apologize and take responsibility for the horrible
attack on satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But the
international community does not expect the same kind
of response when, for example, Al-Jazeera staff were
killed by US forces in Iraq along with their other
Arab colleagues; or for that matter, the killing of
tens of Palestinian journalists by the Zionist forces
over the past decade.
Incidentally, the same day of the Charlie attack, a
car bomb was detonated in the Yemeni capital city of
Sana'a, killing at least 38 people. In Afghanistan,
nine people, including two children were killed in yet
another senseless attack in the war-ravaged country;
while the violence continues in Iraq and Syria. Where
is the media coverage of this? Where are the hash-tag
Soon after the attack on the French satirical magazine
staff, two mosques were attacked in Paris, as well as
a Muslim-run Kebab shop. Are churches attacked when a
Christian teenager decides to open fire on a youth
The demonization of Muslims and Arabs has increased,
particularly with the constant fuel provided by the
United States and its allies. And in order to live a
relatively unmolested life, the Muslim refrain has
predominantly been that of an apologist, 'good Muslim'
who doesn't want to ruffle any feathers – even when
Islam is being attacked from all quarters. So if
individuals claiming to be acting in the name of Islam
violate its prescripts, it is Islam that bears the
wrath of the international community, and not the
misguided individuals. So are all Muslims put on
trial? Why are Muslim leaders apologizing on behalf of
all? Are they admitting responsibility for these
But the assault on Muslims and Islam has the
assistance of mainstream media, which is used to
create an environment which gives legitimacy to the
witch-hunt in Paris, and the 'peace-keeping' military
bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, and several African
countries. It's also used to create an anti-Islamic
perception, which is already being seen in our local
newspapers and social media.
As for France and Europe these could very well be the
stepping stones to new and further anti- Islamic
legislation, which under normal circumstances would
have been rather difficult to justify. This is more
evidence of how the media is deployed to whip up a
frenzy just as it did with the toppling of the Twin
Towers in the US, even using the same type of rhetoric
e.g., "it's an attack on our sensibilities" and "it's
an attack on our freedoms".
To bring it closer to home we need to ask ourselves
whether a life taken in France is more valuable than
the many lives taken on a daily basis right here in
our backyards. Tens of lives are lost daily in the
townships in South Africa, in Cape Town in particular.
How does one measure the outcry by religious leaders
and others to the lives lost in France versus the
silence on the slaughter in our home country?
Do we bother to find out why these domestic murders
are taking place? Do we bug the police to do their
job? Do we partake in a major manhunt as is underway
in Europe? What is the difference in the value of
these human lives?
What we as responsible Muslims in South Africa should
be asking is what really happened in Paris on January
7? Al Quran is clear on how we ascertain facts
therefore we should not be so quick to judge without
the facts. What did we learn from 9/11 and the
subsequent witch-hunt on Muslims and Muslim
organisations, let alone the wholesale destruction of
entire countries because of a 'war on terror'?
How long did it take for the truth to emerge? The tide
of the consequences however cannot be turned back. We
need to understand context. We need to understand
history. We need to understand power dynamics and
Muslims must not be made to feel so guilty and
responsible that they allow more to be chipped away
from their Code of Life, thus resulting in more and
Aftermath: War on Civil Liberties
By Stephen Lendman
Civil liberties in America, Britain, France, and other
Western societies are gravely threatened. Already
Expect more assaults on fundamental freedoms ahead.
Based on the usual canards.
Protecting national security. Defending free society
rights. How by enacting police state laws against
According to a July 2010 ACLU report titled
"Establishing a New Normal," Obama administration
officials waged unprecedented war on civil liberties.
Continuing the worst Bush era practices. Adding more
extreme ones. The ACLU discussed the following top 10
post-9/11 abuses of power:
(1) Warrantless Wiretapping
Candidate Obama promised to end the practice.
President Obama institutionalized it more than ever.
Mass surveillance is pervasive. Big Brother watches
Secretly with virtually no congressional or judicial
oversight. No public say over their own lives, rights
and welfare. No concern about breaching fundamental
rule of law principles.
(2) Torture, Kidnapping and Detention
Obama continues what Bush began. Anyone can be
declared an enemy of the state for any reason or none
Lawless arrests, detentions, torture, and at times
cold-blooded murder follow. Targeted individuals can
be held indefinitely without charge.
Innocence is no defense. Guilt by accusation suffices.
Rule of law protections don't apply.
(3) The Growing Surveillance Society
Personal data on virtually everyone is collected and
stored. Mass surveillance is more pervasive than ever.
America's intelligence apparatus, the military, state
and local police, even private companies are involved.
Terrorism is the pretext. Unchallenged control the
objective. Everyone targeted.
(4) Abuse of the Patriot Act.
Enactment eviscerated fundamental Bill of Rights
freedoms. Federal investigators continue
unconstitutional surveillance tactics against
Lawful advocacy groups are monitored. War on Islam
targets Muslims for their faith and ethnicity. At
times their activism, prominence and charity.
(5) Government Secrecy
Candidate Obama promised transparency, accountability
and reform. President Obama presides over the most
secretive, unaccountable administration in US history.
Wanting free flowing information stifled. Total
control over what's made public. Unprecedented amounts
of government information classified to conceal what's
vital for everyone to know.
Journalists are monitored. Their phone records
accessed. Emails read. Personal movements tracked.
Independent journalism is threatened. Government
wrongdoing suppressed. Whistleblowers criminalized for
Police state extremism threatens everyone. "It's time
to drastically" change what's ongoing," said ACLU
Washington Legislative Office director Laura Murphy.
(6) Real ID
"Rammed through Congress in 2005." Attached to an
unrelated "must pass" bill. Establishes the foundation
for a national ID card.
Makes it harder for persecuted people to receive
asylum. States must standardized driver's licenses.
According to yet to be established guidelines.
Gives Washington access to state and local databases.
Permits secret deportations. Makes non-citizens
vulnerable to deportation for lawful speech or
(7) No Fly and Selectee Lists
Targeting anyone for any reason labeled as security
risks. Whether true or false. As of 2010, included
about 720,000 names.
All with "mysterious or ill-defined criteria" for why
designated. Lists are all-sweeping. Rife with errors.
Even the late Senator Ted Kennedy was flagged.
Law Professor Francis Boyle was placed on a terrorism
watch list. He's been stopped, searched and questioned
when traveling abroad.
(8) Political Spying
NSA, FBI, DOD and other government agencies routinely
spy extrajudicially. Through FOIA requests, ACLU
learned about monitoring Quakers.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Greenpeace. The Arab American Anti-Defamation
Committee. The ACLU itself. Other civil and human
rights organizations. Their officials.
(9) Abuse of Material Witness Statute
So-called "material witnesses" can be arrested and
detained. Especially Muslims. Most targeted
individuals committed no crimes. Or have knowledge
about what authorities seek.
Innocent victims are detained indefinitely uncharged.
At times because US officials "believe (they) might do
something in the future," said ACLU.
Racial and religious profiling is rife. Activists are
targeted on unfounded suspicions of providing
"material support" for terrorism
(10) Attacks on Academic Freedom
"Censorship at the border" prevents scholars opposed
to lawless US policies from entering the country. "(O)utright
censorship and prescreening of scientific (and other
articles) occur before publication."
Western free societies are threatened. Civil liberties
in America are fast disappearing. Europeans are losing
Expect authorities to take full advantage of Paris
killings. Instituting harsher than ever measures in
On January 11, The New York Times headlined "FBI Is
Broadening Surveillance Role, Report Shows."
Saying the agency collects and "retain(s) unprocessed
communications gathered without a warrant to analyze
for its own purposes."
Allegedly on non-citizens. Heavily redacted FOIA
information obtained conceals likely targeting
FBI director James Comey warned about radicalized
Islamists in Syria planning to attack America and/or
its allies. "(V)ery, very soon," he said.
"Given our visibility, we know they're serious people,
bent on destruction." CIA operatives and US special
forces arm, train, fund and direct radicalized
Death squads used as proxies. Against US enemies.
Ravaging Syria. Comey didn't explain.
Britain's MI5 warned of Paris-style killings on UK
soil. General Director of the Security Service Andrew
Parker hyped a likely "mass casualty attack" coming.
So-called intelligence indicates "specific plots," he
said. Including blowing up a passenger jet. Mass
Hit-and-run attacks using vehicles. Deadly threats are
increasing, he said. So-called "terrorists" may be
able "to operate beyond our reach."
Threats are "unlikely to abate for some time."
Describing what he called the "phenomenon of the
Wants stepped up police and security services ability
to act more forcefully against whatever are called
If past is prologue, expect future attacks. False
flags like previous ones. Blamed on the usual
suspects. Islamic extremists.
Used as pretexts for waging imperial wars. More
repressive legislation. Targeting civil liberties for
elimination altogether. In Britain. America. France.
Incidents like Paris killings aren't random. French
authorities closely monitored individuals involved for
In 2005, Cherif Kouarchi was sentenced to three years
in prison for "association with wrongdoers with the
intention of committing a terrorist act."
His sentence was later suspended. He and brother Said
reportedly got Al Qaeda training. Fought against in
Returned home. Were on a French intelligence watch
list. Yet managed to pull off Charlie Hebdo killings
with military precision.
Then get away easily despite heavily policed Paris.
Before tracked down and killed. Along with grocery
store hostage-taker Amedy Coulibaly.
Eliminated to silence them. Dead men tell no tales. UK
Prime Minister David Cameron signaled what's likely
Citing "a challenge to our security." Saying "we have
to fight this terrorism with everything we have…(D)efending
the values we all hold dear."
Forget about Islamist extremists. State-terrorism
alone matters. Threatening fundamental freedoms.
Committing false flag attacks. Blamed on the usual
suspects. So-called radicalized Islamists. Targets of
Using the Kouarchi brothers and Coulibaly as
convenient patsies. Heavily armed with an arsenal of
weapons and munitions, reports said.
How gotten not explained. Murdering them to silence
them. Denying them due process.
Wanting the official narrative left unchallenged.
Wanting Paris killings used as pretexts for likely
harder than ever hardline policies to follow.
On January 11, Reuters headlined "White House to hold
global security summit Feb. 18: US official." On
"countering violent extremism."
Saying Obama invited allies to discuss ways to prevent
terrorism. In Paris, Attorney General Eric Holder
"We will bring together all of our allies to discuss
ways in which we can counteract this violent extremism
that exists around the world."
White House press secretary Josh Earnest issued a
"On February 18, 2015, the White House will host a
Summit on Countering Violent Extremism to highlight
domestic and international efforts to prevent violent
extremists and their supporters from radicalizing,
recruiting, or inspiring individuals or groups in the
United States and abroad to commit acts of violence,
efforts made even more imperative in light of recent,
tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris."
"This summit will build on the strategy the White
House released in August of 2011, Empowering Local
Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United
States, the first national strategy to prevent violent
In September, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson
first announced it. Citing a growing threat from
Islamic State militants.
Saying an October summit would be held. Why postponed
"Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) efforts rely
heavily on well-informed and resilient local
communities," said Earnest.
"(O)ur partners around the world are actively
implementing programs to prevent violent extremism and
foreign terrorist fighter recruitment."
"The summit will include representatives from a number
of partner nations, focusing on the themes of
community engagement, religious leader engagement, and
the role of the private sector and tech community."
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said his
European counterparts agreed to increase cooperative
efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks.
Including more inclusive watch lists. Travel
restrictions. Preventing online use for whatever
authorities call terrorism or terrorist related
"We need to work more closely with Internet companies
to guarantee the reporting and if possible removal of
all content that amounts to an apology of terrorism or
calls for violence and hatred," he said.
An upcoming EU interior justice meeting is planned to
discuss further action. Perhaps repressive legislation
is already drafted.
In France. Britain. America. Elsewhere. Ready to be
enacted. Hundreds of pages of detailed Patriot Act
provisions became US law six weeks after 9/11.
Months are needed to draft legislation this complex
and inclusive. Including agreeing on measures wanted.
At the time, congressional members said they had no
time to review the measure in advance. Bipartisan
House members passed it 357 - 66.
Former Senator Russ Feingold was the sole Senate no
vote. Not another profile in courage joined him. The
measure passed 98 to 1.
It bears repeating. Expect likely further attacks on
civil liberties ahead. En route to eliminating them
Police states operate this way. America is most
threatening of all.
A Final Comment
Police Commissioner Helric Fredou investigating
Charlie Hebdo killings died mysteriously. A near-total
media blackout followed.
An exception was France 3 Limousin Poitou Charentes. A
regional television service. Part of France 3's
Headlining "Limoges: suicide d'un commissaire de
police." Needing no translation. Providing little
information. Suggesting depression from burnout.
21st Century Wire headlined "New Twist: Charlie Hebdo
Police Investigator Turns Up Dead, 'Suicided.' "
Saying "this latest bizarre bombshell…fuel(s)
speculation as to the covert nature of the Charlie
Hebdo false flag affair."
Lots of people are depressed. Few commit suicide. Did
Fredou take his own life? Or was he killed? If so,
Was he about to reveal what French authorities want
suppressed? Perhaps refuting key parts of the official
Maybe suggesting what this writer and others believe.
Paris killings were less about terrorism and more
about state-sponsored false flag deception.
Why is there a near-total media blackout? Why no
reporting on something demanding headlines. Nothing
from all major Western news sources.
Silence suggests coverup. What little information came
out said Fredou shot himself in his office for
An almost identical incident occurred in November
2013. In Limoges. In west/central France.
At the time, Le Parisien headlined "Limoges: un
commissaire de police se suicide avec son arme
He was third-ranked SRPJ officer (Service regional de
police judicaire). Shot himself with his own gun in a
Following Ferdou's death, Le Parisien headlined "Deux
suicides de commissaire en deux ans." Two commissioner
suicides in two years.
Explaining little. No likely connection between
Ferdou's death and his ongoing Charlie Hebdo
Little more is known at this time. Coverup is rife. It
bears repeating. Ferdou perhaps had information French
authorities want suppressed.
Contradicting the official narrative. Exposing false
flag deception. Ferdou can't explain. Dead men tell no
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached
at email@example.com. His new book as
editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in
Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. Listen
to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests
on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive
Radio Network. It airs three times weekly: live on
Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded
Charlie Hebdo: Netanyahu's Policies Are
I am no longer surprised by what Israel's Prime
Minister Netanyahu says or does. No leader with any
pride and sensitivity would have tried to exploit for
political gain the tragic deaths of four French Jews
who were assassinated in a kosher supermarket in
Paris. It is one thing to travel to France and
demonstrate solidarity with the French people after
the horrific execution of 12 journalists at the
satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo; it is an entirely
different matter to use the occasion to call on French
Jews to immigrate to Israel to avoid anti-Semitism and
"live secure and peaceful lives."
At this moment, when France has a good deal of
soul-searching to do, we may do well to recall the
thoughts of Jean-Paul Sartre, whose Anti-Semite and
Jew, though written over seventy years ago, contains
observations that are no less true today, such as his
diagnosis of anti-Semitism as an all-consuming
passion, a "total choice" that transforms hatred into
Sartre understood that the answer to anti-Semitism did
not lie in the Jews of France leaving their
country—"their original fatherland"—to live in
Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, as Netanyahu recently proposed.
Any solution to the problem of anti-Semitism (which is
on the rise all over Europe) will involve recognizing,
in Sartre's closing words, that "[n]ot one Frenchman
will be secure so long as a single Jew – in France or
in the world at large – can fear for his life."
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls recognized this
fact when he expressed deep concerns about the
prospect, however remote, that a large segment of
French Jews may leave France because of the rise of
anti-Israel and anti-Jewish sentiments.
For Valls, the recognition of Jews as full citizens is
a founding principle of the 1789 French Revolution and
remains one of the central pillars of French
By calling on French Jews to immigrate to Israel while
still on French soil, Netanyahu was rudely suggesting
that they are no longer safe in France and only Israel
can provide a safe haven where they can live without
fear and with security.
Netanyahu conveniently forgets that 80 times more
Israelis were killed in Israel by suicide bombers and
random acts of violence in the past 20 years than all
Jews killed in Europe by terrorists in the same time
French, British, and American Jews do not see Israel
as the exclusive home for the Jews; they are proud to
be citizens of their respective countries. Netanyahu's
scare tactics to prompt the Jews to leave their places
of birth is an affront to France and to Jews as well.
Yes, the majority of these Jews have a special
affinity to Israel, but they do not feel torn between
their loyalty to their country of birth and their
kinship with Israel.
Although a greater number of Jews left France to live
in Israel in 2014 than the previous year, many more
immigrated to the US and Canada, among other
countries. It should be noted that the overall number
of young Western Jews immigrating to Israel has
declined over the past ten years.
They no longer view Israel as a pioneering, free, and
democratic state the way they envisioned it before.
They do not accept the occupation as if it were a way
of life; they vilify discrimination against Israeli
Arabs and loathe the endemic corruption of Israel's
While Netanyahu calls for Jews to immigrate to Israel,
he has done next to nothing to stem the flow of
Israeli Jews emigrating from Israel; nearly one
million left in the past 20 years. Ironically, many
are leaving because they fear for their security and
do not wish to have their children enlisted in the
army, as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict grinds on.
Anti-Semitism has existed from time immemorial. There
is probably little the Jews can do to change that sad
reality, just as African-Americans can hardly change
the racism of many white Americans.
Even after the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation, the
passage of the 13th Amendment outlawing slavery two
years later, after decades of struggle for civil
rights, and the election of a black President in 2008,
racial profiling remains a source of deep resentment
for African Americans.
Whether anti-Semitism is instigated by envy, enmity,
or is culturally espoused, escaping to Israel would
simply hand a victory to the anti-Semites. There will
always be Jews living throughout the world (perhaps
it's the secret behind their survival) and the
anti-Semite will still lurk in the shadows.
The question is, since anti-Semitism cannot be
expunged and the Jews will have to live with it, what
can they, and particularly Israel, do to allay the
disease of anti-Semitism?
Regardless of where they may live, the Jews need not
bend backwards to please their enemies, but the onus
falls especially on Israel to do the right thing and
stop feeding fuel to the fire.
It is not by sheer accident that the whole world,
including Israel's closest friend and ally—the
US—rejects the settlement enterprise and the continued
occupation, and it is not accidental that there is a
spike in global anti-Semitic incidents every time the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict flares up.
Netanyahu must accept the fact that the occupation is
one of the main causes (but not the source) behind the
recent rise of anti-Semitism. Instead of focusing on
ending it, he is calling on French Jews to immigrate
to Israel only to 'become oppressors' of the
Reaching an equitable peace agreement with the
Palestinians will not eliminate anti-Semitism, as
Sartre observed, "If the Jew did not exist, the
anti-Semite would invent him." But it will, at a
minimum, regress anti-Semitic fervor.
No, if Netanyahu cannot find his soul, the hour is
calling for another Israeli leader to rise and have
the courage to answer the call.
Sharia Judge Warns France Of New
By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun
One of the leaders of Tanẓim al-Qa'idah
fi Jazirat al-Arab/Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP),
Sharia head of al-Qaeda in Yemen, Sheikh Harith bin
Ghazi an-Nadhari, reacted on the January 7 attack on
Paris blasphemers who molested Islam and Christianity
in their newspaper, reports DW-World.
A big article on the role of AQAP in the Paris attack
has been published by АР.
The video with the statement of Sheikh Harith bin
Ghazi an-Nadhari is now being removed from the YouTube
(at this link it is not yet deleted). Meanwhile, an
English translation of his statement has been posted
online. The factual part of the statement reads:
"Some of the sons of France showed a lack of manners
with Allah's messengers, so a band of Allah's
believing army rose against them, and they taught them
the proper manners, and the limits of freedom of
France today are from the leaders of disbelief; they
curse the Prophets, and attack the Religion, and fight
against the Believers, so there's nothing else for
them except what Allah judged for her
O people of France, that which should be a priority
with you is that you cease from your aggression
against the Muslims, so that you might live in
security, but if you refuse anything except war, then
glad tidings; For by Allah you will not have any
security as long as you wage war against Allah and His
Messenger and you fight against the believers".
''In Poland, the executed main
Paris daubster would serve a prison term for insulting
mainstream Polish daily, Gazeta Wyborcza, reported on
further developments in Paris execution of 12 scoffer
"humorists" by city guerillas. The newspaper writes in
"Not only Muslims had reason to hate Charlie Hebdo. An
special anti-Christian issue of this newspaper
entitled "True Story of Little Jesus" with a
blasphemous picture of Jesus Chhrist on the cover
appeared in newsstands on Christmas (December 25 -
In Poland, such a cover would immediately cause
criminal proceedings for insulting religious feelings.
The chief dubster would serve a prison term of 2 years
behind bars. But there are no such laws in France.
This was enjoyed so far with impunity by Charlie Hebdo.
They had always concocted cartoons on subjects related
to body parts which are below the waist.
Therefore Charlie Hebdo had to die.
In recent years, the Paris paper business went bad. A
decrease in the number of readers was not compensated
by ads, and it did not receive state subsidies. IThe
paper appealed for support to its main readers. Under
the motto "Raging anti-Semitism", it wrote: "Jews, we
need your money".
AQAP's Speech Regarding The Blessed
Raid In Paris: The Faces Have Been Brightened
By Al-Ikhwah Al-Mujahidun
Muwahideen Media published an English translation of
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP)'s speech
regarding the blessed raid on an anti-Islamist
newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, in France. The speech that
released by Al Malahim Media is presented by Syaikh
'THE FACES HAVE BEEN
A SPEECH REGARDING THE BLESSED RAID IN PARIS
PRESENTED BY: SHEIKH HARITH AL NITHARI (MAY ALLAH
Praise be to Allah, once more Praise be to Allah. Oh
Allah for you is the Praise, you have sufficed your
Prophet from those that mocked him, verily for You is
Praise. And you have granted victory to your servants
the Mujahideen, verily for You is Praise. Oh Allah
send Peace and Blessings upon the one who You have
sent ahead of the Hour with the sword until You are
worshipped alone, he who You have elevated his status,
expounded his heart and gave him protection from the
people and have made his enemy the one cut off (from
prosperity and every good thing in this world and the
Hereafter). Oh Allah send Peace and Blessings upon
Your servant and Prophet Muhammed the son of Abdullah,
the son of Abdul Mutalib, the son of Hashim. He who
You have sent as a witness, a bringer of glad tidings
and a warner, a caller to Allah by His permission and
an illuminating lamp, Peace and blessings be upon him
and his family.
Henceforth, the enemies of the Messenger of Allah
thought, those that have disbelieved, belied and
abused him, the filths from the sons of France; they
thought that Allah will not come to the aide of His
Messenger. And they thought they were safe from the
Power of Allah over them. So they waited, and stayed
in wait, thus (the decree of) Allah came upon them
from where they had not expected. And Allah empowered
(the believers) over them, and punished them through
the hands of the believers. 'Say, "Do you await for us
except one of the two best things while we wait for
you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from
Himself or at our hands? So wait; indeed we, along
with you, are waiting.'
Some of the sons of France have displayed evil conduct
towards the Anbiyaa (Prophets) of Allah. A group of
the army of Allah rose against them, and taught them
(what is) good conduct and the limits of freedom of
speech. An army came to you that loves Allah and His
Messenger; they do not fear death and are desirous of
Martyrdom in the Path of Allah.
For Allah there are men after the Sahabah (Companions
of the Prophet), that avenge and give victory to Allah
and His Messenger. Indeed by Allah we shall compete
with the Sahabah in the defense of Rasoolullah (S.A.W),
and we shall follow their example in defending him.
And for us in Muhammed Ibn Maslamah (R.A) is a good
example, and if the history of Aus and Khazraj is
known, then for Allah is another Aus and Khazraj.
Oh heroic Mujahideen, the faces have been brightened,
and the hands have been freed, oh how I wish I was
among you. Oh Muslims, verily in Jihad against the
Kufaar (disbeliever s) is honor in this world and
bliss in the Hereafter. How can we not fight those
that have wronged the Nabi, have criticized the
Religion, and have fought the Believers? Allah says:
'And if they violate their oaths after their covenant,
and attack your religion with disapproval and
criticism, then fight (you) the leaders of disbelief
for surely their oaths are nothing to them –so that
they may stop (evil actions).'
France today are among the leaders of disbelief, they
insult the Anbiyaa (Prophets), defame the Religion and
are fighting the Believers. There is no deterrent for
them except that which Allah has decreed; 'Smite
(their) necks till when you have killed and wounded
many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them i.e.
take them as captives) …'
Oh people of France, until when will you continue to
fight Allah and His Messenger, if you submit it shall
be better for you. 'Oh mankind! Verily, there has come
to you the Messenger (Muhammed S.A.W) with the truth
from your Lord. So believe in him, it is better for
you. But if you disbelieve, then certainly to Allah
belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. And
Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.'
Oh people of France, it is better for you that you
cease your aggression against the Muslims, perhaps you
may then live in safety. But if you refuse except to
be at war, then take glad tidings, for By Allah you
will never have the pleasure of safety for as long as
you wage war against Allah and His Messenger and
continue fighting the Believers. 'Say to those who
have disbelieved, if they cease (from disbelief),
there past will be forgiven. But if they return
(thereto), then the examples of those (punished)
before them have already preceded (as a warning).
And All Praise is for Allah, Lord of the Worlds.