It is always sad to witness the murder of journalists. Killing the messenger is never a solution if you don’t like the message.
The murder of 10 Charlie Hebdo journalists and cartoonists by Islamic extremists was a violent hate crime with no justification.
The perpetrators of this outrage seek to clothe themselves in the garb of Islam and claimed to carry out the murders in the cause of defending the Prophet.
They failed in that aim.
Instead, all that the murderers have achieved is to strengthen the resolve of Western powers to prosecute their own war on the people of Aghanistan, Syria and Iraq.
Intensifying the US-led bombing raids (in which Australia is a willing participant) against Da’esh or pouring more Western military aid into the hands of illegitimate governments in Yemen and the Arabian peninsula, will not reduce the threat of further attacks like that against the French satirical magazine.
Only three things are certain as a result of the Charlie Hebdo incident:
1. Western governments will use it as an excuse to continue prosecuting the so-called “War on Terror”, which, by all reasonable accounts is an abject failure and the major cause of increased terrorist attacks inside Western nations
2. Despite all the moralistic outrage gushing from the pages of Western newspapers and dripping from the lips of Western politicians our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly and our freedom of thought will be further curtailed by the so-called guardians of liberty.
3. The hypocrisy of those in the West now calling for the re-publication of some of Charlie Hebdo’s more racist and vilifying cartoon front pages will know no boundaries; but they will pretend it doesn’t exist.
I will attempt to explain these three points quickly and then link to some of the better commentary on the issue.
It is the war on terror that means we are not safe
The Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, despite being a Rhodes scholar, is not renowned for his grasp of subtlety, nor his vast intellect.
As a general rule he knows to reduce everything to a lowest common denominator sound-bite and when an event as complex as Charlie Hebdo comes along, that is exactly what he can be relied on to do.
According to Abbott, terrorists attack because they do not like “our way of life”; this plays nicely into the narrative that terrorism is an “existential” threat to the West and it deliberately ignores the long-recognised truth that the threat of terror attacks is directly linked to the 15 year war that started with the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and that was extended in 2003 to an occupation of Iraq that has killed an estimated 500,000 Iraqis.
Since the middle of 2014 the Western war in the Middle East has again been extended into western Syria. Western troops have been on the ground continuously in Afghanistan since 2001 and Iraq since 2003. Western forces from many nations have committed war crimes–far more than the handful that have been reported and punished. Hundreds have been locked up in Guantanamo Bay without trial; hundreds have been subject to torture–not just Abu Ghraib, but in renditions to all parts of the world.
Men, women and children have died in their thousands from gunshot wounds, airiel bombardment and from preventable diseases that have resurfaced in the wake of poverty; a lack of clean drinking water and basic shelter. Hundreds of thousands of children have had their development disrupted by these various military adventures as schools, hospitals and homes are systematically destroyed.
Now, we send drones after them and indiscriminately kill more civilians in the name of defending them from terrorism. Is it any wonder that millions in the region think we are the terrorists?
We are, in all probability these drone attacks are illegal and constitute war crimes, ie they are ACTS OF TERRORISM
Now we need more vigilant!
You’ve seen the pictures and video of hundreds of heavily armed cops and soldiers on the streets of Paris. Get used to it. Life in most big Western cities is going to become even more militarised in coming weeks and months.
There will be more body searches at airports, more CCTV cameras on every street corner and more general surveillance of our lives, phones and social media presence.
Every terrorist attack–no matter where and no matter how trivial–leads automatically to calls for more power to be given to the security state as fear is ramped up by the alarmist tabloids and by the well-paid liberal shills in the so-called quality press too.
These people know that they don’t have anything to fear. Their comfortable bourgeois lives will not be too harshly interrupted, but for anyone who works and travels around the city for a living will be affected.
Make no mistake. You are being monitored.
Don’t laugh, we’re Jewish
Then, of course there is the ongoing illegal occupation of Palestinian territory by Israel and most recently Israel’s deliberate destruction of Gaza.
Israel’s attacks on Gaza were a genocide that did not generate the same moral discomfort among those who now shout the loudest about the Charlie Hebdo outrage.
Israeli forces killed at least 15 journalists during their 2014 incursion into Gaza. I don’t remember the outrage last time. One of the few organisations to protest was Index on Censorship.
The pumped up little Hitlers at The Australian didn’t give a toss at the time and that newspaper’s chief op-ed cartoonist Bill Leak was feted for his racist anti-Arab cartoons too.
Oh how we laughed at his keen sense of satire. Do you remember this one?
Apparently, this is just funny, no racial stereotyping going on here.
But, do you also remember the outrage when this cartoon was published?
But compare this to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons and then try to explain to me why they are OK and “satire” while this one by Glen Le Lievre is racist, anti-Semitic and NOT FUNNY.
Now, the exact same champions of the double standard are calling for the republication of cartoons offensive to Muslims on the grounds that blasphemy is important and a cornerstone of free speech.
At least we know where the NewsCorpse zombies get their ideas from:
Here’s some news — get the f–k over your self-important “my s–t don’t stink” hubris and admit that either:
a) you were wrong to complain about the Le Lievre cartoon, or
b) you are a hypocrite, or
c) most likely both.
Still not sure how you should respond to this? Well, let me introduce you to Glenn Greenwald, he has made it quite clear.
I Like what Greenwald writes on The Intercept and he’s also published lots more blasphemous cartoons for your viewing pleasure (or to further your outrage if that’s the path you choose).
Here’s a taster:
Is it time for me to be celebrated for my brave and noble defense of free speech rights? Have I struck a potent blow for political liberty and demonstrated solidarity with free journalism by publishing blasphemous cartoons? If, as Salman Rushdie said, it’s vital that all religions be subjected to “fearless disrespect,” have I done my part to uphold western values?
When I first began to see these demands to publish these anti-Muslim cartoons, the cynic in me thought perhaps this was really just about sanctioning some types of offensive speech against some religions and their adherents, while shielding more favored groups. In particular, the west has spent years bombing, invading and occupying Muslim countries and killing, torturing and lawlessly imprisoning innocent Muslims, and anti-Muslim speech has been a vital driver in sustaining support for those policies.
So it’s the opposite of surprising to see large numbers of westerners celebrating anti-Muslim cartoons – not on free speech grounds but due to approval of the content. Defending free speech is always easy when you like the content of the ideas being targeted, or aren’t part of (or actively dislike) the group being maligned.
And if you are genuinely concerned about freedom of speech and want to protest against barbarism in the Arab world, then do something about this little problem.
That hurts doesn’t it. Go on, go to Get Up right now and start a petition to save this man’s life.
Tweet your life away with the hashtag #jesuisraifbadawi
Feel better? I don’t care!
You think that Islamic extremists kill cartoonists because they hate the Enlightenment and the fact that McDonald’s is not Halal?
Don’t be so stupid. Don’t fall for the lies of your government and its paid shills in the mainstream media and the halls of academe.
Pick up a history book and learn something of political economy.
And, in particular understand the bloody history of imperialism.