Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The Paris Terror Attackers and America's White Right-wing Christian Domestic Terrorists are Brothers in Arms

Muslim terrorists killed at least 12 people in a brazen daylight attack on the offices of the French satirical newspaper the Charlie Hebdo weekly. 

While the American media and public will inevitably default to a childish and simpleminded frame that deems the Paris terror attackers to be "crazy", the reality is that this group appears to be tactically proficient, well-equipped, and effective. 

Moreover--and this too is anathema to the American media and the approved public discourse--"terrorism" can be a very effective tactic: for example, suicide bombing can advance strategic goals; a small group of terrorists can be highly disruptive, cause the enemy to expend a large amount of resources to neutralize them, and undermine the targeted community's sense of security and safety.

Terrorism is a strategy that uses violence and intimidation to achieve a political goal. Terrorism may, but is not limited to, targeting civilian "non-combatants". Terrorism is not exclusive to the Middle East or other parts of the world. It is part of an American tradition of violence from the white racial pogroms and terrorism of the 19th and 20th centuries against African-Americans and other people of color through to the police violence and thuggery of the post civil rights era against black and brown communities as exemplified by the events in Ferguson and choking on video murder of Eric Garner by the NYPD.

In the age of September 11th and a perpetual American war against "terrorism", Islamic terrorists are a convenient bogeyman and monster upon which the West can fixate. Terrorism is a type of zombie politics, one that survives despite the fact that more Americans have been killed by Right-wing domestic terrorists than by Muslim "jihadists" since the events of September 11th. 

Stereotyped Muslims with bombs on their backs, yelling "Allahu Akbar", beheading white people, and calling for an Islamic caliphate are far more compelling images with which to conjure up fear and anxiety (while also serving the political entertainment complex of movies, video games, and ad revenue for corporate news networks) than are like depictions of white Right-wing conservative Christians who have participated in domestic terrorism against their fellow citizens.

Beckoned on by Fox News and the Right-wing hate media, white Right-wing domestic terrorists have either actively committed or planned numerous acts of terrorist violence in the United States.

Some of these include:

1. The bombing of an NAACP office on Tuesday of this week.

2. Planting an improvised explosive device at the Martin Luther King Jr. parade in Spokane, Washington.

3. The attacks by "sovereign citizens" in Louisiana, Arizona, Texas, and elsewhere against government buildings, police, and firefighters.

4. The attacks by Jared and Amanda Miller against police in Las Vegas, and that of Frazier Glenn Miller on a Jewish community center in Kansas.

While the American news media is fixated on the still developing terrorist event(s) in Paris, a cabal of white Right-wingers recently pleaded guilty to planning a horrific series of attacks in Georgia during 2014:
Yesterday, Terry Peace, Brian Cannon and Cory Williamson pleaded not guilty to a charge of domestic terrorism, as well as charges of conspiring to defraud the government. 
Peace, Cannon and Williamson — all members of a militia in Georgia — participated in online chat discussions between Jan. 23 and Feb. 15, 2014, that were monitored by the FBI. 
During the conversations online, they discussed using guerrilla war tactics and planned to launch attacks against a metro Atlanta police station and several government agencies in February 2014. 
The three men attempted to “recruit other individuals to join them and to carry out similar operations in those individuals’ home states.” 
Peace allegedly told other militia members to choose targets including “road blocks, TSA checkpoints, sheriffs/police conducting operations outside the Constitution” as well as to participate in the “removal of government people who support extra-Constitutional activities.” 
In other words, the men plotted to launch large-scale explosive attacks against local government and police that, if successfully carried out, would have been the largest terror attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11.
Of course, the Republican Party and its media refuse to admit the obvious connections between Right-wing ideologies, white masculinity, gun fetishism, bigotry, and political violence. And given the stranglehold of Christian Reconstruction and Dominionism on American movement conservatism, the role of Christian identity politics and white supremacy in domestic terrorism are de facto removed from any critical intervention or corrective.

Ultimately, the Republican Party and its propaganda machine's choice (with the corporate news media en masse enabling the behavior) to ignore, deflect, and shout down any discussion of the dangers posed by Right-wing domestic terrorism is white privilege as an enabler for violence, treason, and murder. In all and again, white privilege hurts and kills white people--even while too many of them continue to desperately hold onto its perceived (and real) psychological and material benefits.

Violence is a type of politics: this is true for both Islamic terrorists and white Christian Right-wing American domestic terrorists. 

Radicalized and politicized religions kills people. Religious extremism, intolerance, a rejection of pluralism, and a denial of the separation between church and state in modern Western democracies killed people in the streets of Paris today. 

Those same values are shared by the American White Right...and they are just as lethal abroad as they are at home.


KissedByTheSun said...

What a world.

There is so much wrong to unpack in this incident. First the cartoonist who want the right to denigrate people through offensive caricatures. Then the terrorist who kill people over cartoons.

I can't help but see this as white people who want the power to treat "others" however they please meeting a group of "others" powerful enough to punch them in the nose for talking about their mama.

Many are declaring that they will not be terrified and will continue being domineering bigots. Frankly I don't think these terrorists care. They don't need you to be afraid, they just need you to die.
Oh dear!

Camilla Cracchiolo, RN said...

The Southern Poverty Law Center says Stormfront Neo-Nazis have killed 100 people in the last 5 years. Some were domestic violence and one was the mass murder in Norway, but somehow the media has ignored this report. Imagine that.

Char said...

"All of this false 'respect' for religion is silly-talk in my book."

It's not about respect for religion. It's about respect for people. The cartoons betray the White-centric disregard for the sensibilities of other people and cultures. This is a practice seen across the political spectrum. The lewd depictions of Mohammed were not the product of the cartoonists' freedoms simply happening to clash with Muslim sensibilities. The cartoons were done to offend Muslims on the deepest level.

KissedByTheSun is right. This is a clash between White people who want the power to treat Others however they please and two to three of the 1.6 billion people they hoped to offend, who happened to be crazy, frustrated extremists looking for an easy target.

Already, people are questioning why none of the other religious targets of Charlie Hebdo's satire reacted violently. There is a deeper truth beneath the warmed-over narrative of freedom hating Muslims. Muslims have been declared the enemy since 9/11, if not through words, then by actions. Additionally, France, like much of Europe, has displayed xenophobia toward a growing Muslim population it fears will threaten its White dominant culture. It is in this context that the Charlie Hebdo cartoons function as a continuation of the war on Muslims.

One of the alleged murderers, Cherif Kouachi, was arrested in 2008 for funneling fighters into Iraq, having been motivated by pictures from Abu Ghraib. Like the majority of extremists that have expressed a motive to harm Americans since 9/11, Kouachi internalized the "War on Terrorism" as a war on Muslims. Likely unable to successfully attack a hard target, these extremists went after a soft target—one that made itself symbolic of being anti-Muslim.

chauncey devega said...

This is most certainly part of a conversation about identity, culture, religion, etc.

I absolutely agree.

But again, I default to basic training: when in Rome do as the Romans do--within reason.

One doesn't roll over and surrender to a racist or unjust society for example. But, as in the case of this cartoon mess, you organize, march, boycott, and work within the public sphere to change opinion. Guess what? You may not win. But you don't default to empty memes that we have seen with this and other matters regarding Islam in Europe and elsewhere that you must be tolerant of intolerance and try to understand why folks would be moved to murder for daring to practice free speech against a religion.

These are young French Algerians who appear to be enamored, are young people often are, with the fantasy of struggle and political violence.

If the society in which they live is so anathema to their religious and cultural values they should leave and go to a society that is more in keeping with their theocratic values.

Religion is not worthy or respect a priori; nor are the religious and devout worthy of respect either because of some allegiance to a mythological figure. Folks ought to be judged by their deeds period.

For my penny, and he is far from perfect, Chris Matthews cut a damn powerful promo on politicized Islam and those knuckleheads who killed folks that dared to disagree about their religious prophet and godhead.

Char said...

Don't get me wrong, the attackers' response was disproportionate beyond description to the level of the offense, especially considering that the offense likely had less to do with the attack than opportunity. There's certainly a middle ground between violent rampage and leaving the society. Besides, let's be honest, leaving a White-centric society does not guarantee freedom from the imperialistic reach of a White-centric society.

My position isn't that religion or the devout should be respected a priori. My position is that White-centrics have been groomed to disrespect other cultures. The only value in these cartoons was their ability to offend. Does Charlie Hebdo have the right to troll 1.6 billion people by attacking what they hold most sacred? Yes. Does that mean I'm going to join the chorus of "Je suis Charlie"? No. I wish there was as much universal support for the rights of minorities as there is for the rights of Whites to be as offensive as possible to minorities.

To take religion out of it, these cartoons are like the controversy with the Redskins. If it's not offensive to Whites, then it's acceptable.

"But again, I default to basic training: when in Rome do as the Romans do--within reason."

Interesting. The extremists are acting like the Romans (and those the Romans stand-in for in this analogy). Remember, these aren't people that were radicalized over a cartoon. These are people that were radicalized over the violation of Muslims' human rights in the "War on Terror." In many ways they are replicating the same denial of basic human rights, indiscriminate attacks, and suppression of free speech that France and other nations have engaged in with Muslims.

nycplayboy78 said...

Is you crazy??!! Right!!!

Myshkin the Idiot said...

"Like the majority of extremists that have expressed a motive to harm Americans since 9/11, Kouachi internalized the "War on Terrorism" as a war on Muslims."


Jim Wagner said...

Wow, thank you so much for that class bully/gang leader metaphor. I'm sticking that one straight into my back pocket.

Wild Cat said...

SW said...

The stats and links to the SPLC in this post completely unveils the lie, fiercely trafficked by our media outlets, that Islamic terror is THE threat to our domestic safety.

With regards to the police more specifically, the NYPD's conduct towards Mayor DeBlasio and the citizens of NYC are even more startling in light of their apathy to the slew of crimes against the nations police departments and other governmental agencies over the past decade. Their spurious back-turning protests, becomes even more illegitimate in light of the facts you presented.

The nation and our police departments are not outraged by violence against police, our nation is outraged by violence against police by black people.

The mental gymnastics necessary to buy into, and hold true the popular narratives presented to our society must be exhausting.

SW said...

This is a great discussion you two.

"Besides, let's be honest, leaving a White-centric society does not guarantee freedom from the imperialistic reach of a White-centric society."

"In many ways they are replicating the same denial of basic human rights, indiscriminate attacks, and suppression of free speech that France and other nations have engaged in with Muslims."

Very powerful points here.

I had similar thoughts to Chauncey in a discussion I was having regarding the burka issue that France confronted a few years ago. My thinking is along the lines of "when in Rome". But the rebuttal that even outside the confines of Rome, Muslims are not beyond the reach of religious oppression by the Western world is pretty significant.

Char said...

"I think we disagree with how too many 'liberals' and others engage in all sorts of mental gymnastics to try to flip responsibility and make this about the hurt feelings of Muslims en masse as opposed to how there are unfortunately some groups of people who reject standing norms and secular values."

A reason is different than an excuse.I'm not a fan of deluding myself as to the reasons people want to kill me, justifiable or not. Just as we don't make excuses for those of our race that commit crimes, but do seek to address the distinct social inequalities that produce criminals, I make no excuses for these two (three?), but do seek to address the systemic abuses that entice people to extremism.

I think where we differ is I don't believe the killers would "want a theocracy" if not for having already flown over the edge and turning to extremism over significant injustices. No one was really surprised that of all the religious groups Charlie Hebdo targeted, Muslims would be the ones to attack them. But why is that? It's no coincidence that of those groups Muslims are treated worst by the west. As we know, oppression breaks people and pushes them to extreme reasoning and solutions. As I once told some White friends who couldn't understand why I didn't want to trade race jokes, it's funny to Whites on top who can just shrug it off as a joke, but when that humor is indicative of the disrespect and stereotypes I am challenged with on a daily basis, it's not so funny.

Unfortunately, Charlie Hebdo happened to be the low hanging fruit on a tree the extremists couldn't climb much higher on. They recklessly sought to agitate 1.6 billion people, some of whom are violent extremists committed to global jihad, regardless of the lives it would put in danger, from those that were injured or killed with them in the attack to westerners in countries with sizable Muslim populations, simply because they had the "right" to do so. It was a stellar example of White-centric arrogance.

While minorities have to battle for recognition of their basic human rights, many Whites operate as if their "rights" render immune to real-world reactions. Minorities know that "rights" are only as good as someone else's willingness to recognize them. Whites are rarely confronted with that reality and it produces an arrogance which emboldens many to engage those rights merely because they are able. Just as Charlie Hebdo had the right to insult 1.6 billion people in the most offensive way they could imagine, I have the right to hit the streets of my city and insult millions of people in the worst way I can imagine. I'm not going to do it, because not only is it wrong, but I expect a few of those million won't react so kindly to my "right" to offend them to the core.

In the middle of a global war with Islam, Charlie Hebdo arrogantly sought to provoke Muslim extremists. Already, the actions of two (three?) are being used to ratchet up anti-Muslim rhetoric that will fuel the cycle of violence and abuse of human rights. But, hey, as long as Whites have the right to do something, why not?

KissedByTheSun said...

You're welcome.

Coming from a background of gang banging myself I've seen this type of situation dozens of times. The gang leader threatens to shoot the bully if he talks about his mother. Everybody in ear shot looks at the bully like "oh snap homie he put you in your place! You is a straight up punk if you don't say something about his moms now!" And the bully, swelling with pride, cannot conceive of a world in which he cannot make fun of someone without repercussion. Pride! This is what this nonsense all boils down to. That's why I'm not buying the logic that to NOT make fun of the gang leaders mother is to make a concession to gang banging itself. Huh!? How does that work? If we don't make fun of them the gang bangers win? Yeah sure.

Pride comes before a fall.

Char said...

Put this in perspective. Charlie Hebdo chose to offend 1.6 billion people in the worst way they could imagine, numerous times. Of those 1.6 billion, a handful have attacked them. Can you imagine if any of us intentionally tried to offend even 100 people on that level?

KissedByTheSun said...

It's not so much the offense but the capability of those who are offended. I don't think offending people for the sake of it is good to do in general. I especially don't think purposefully offending someone who you know will come looking for that behind suddenly becomes a noble issue worthy of our support. I've seen so many fights and killings that could of been prevented if only somebody would have backed off and played the "punk". Denigrating people does not become a noble cause if the denigrated fight back.

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

Yes, it is why after 9/11 the Hard Right could speak favorably of the attackers; it is why Falwell and Robertson could express their belief that America's depravity caused the attack; it is why the Hard Right, even before 9/11, could make contact with hardline Islamists; and, it is why during the Bush administration that Christian Right delegates could vote with hardline Islamic delegates to restrict reproductive rights and gay rights. The opponents we face at home and abroad are proponents of what Marty Lipset called monism--there is only one version of reality, one version of truth, one true social-political-economic hierarchy--and all those outside that white, Christian, rich male hierarchy are, at best, second-class citizens. The danger here at home from right-wing domestic terrorists is greater than the danger from homegrown Muslim terrorists. But, we (federal, state and local) law enforcement go out of their way to antagonize, undermine, denigrate, and demonize the very first line of defense against any kind criminality in any ethnic/racial mileu--ordinary good folks who know who the criminals are or who know which youths are attending Salafist sermons, or youths which have changed suddenly.

Char said...

So much truth in that. I marvel at the White-centric expectation that people treat this as the ultimate threat to free speech. Please. People reacting violently to someone saying something offensive is nothing new. Whites are just less used to it, and the Muslim boogeyman happens to play the villain. Meanwhile, about that bomb placed outside of the NAACP headquarters... Crickets.

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

The satirists in French who were murdered followed a long tradition dating before the Revolution to speak truth to power. The satirists who were killed ridiculed everyone--Judaism, Catholicism, Christianity in general, Islam, and politicians. I lived in Europe for 18 years and Europe is very different from America. For starters, while America was never a Christian nation, in Europe there was a melding of state power and Christianity; the Europeans stopped an Islamic invasion at the gates to Vienna; and, Europeans do feel like they are being invaded. But, there is a much larger story regarding Europe, colonization and exploitation, and Islam. In some sense, this part of a much longer conflict dating back to the Crusades. But, it is also the failure of social policy to integrate Muslim immigrants.

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

Do not get me wrong, Chauncey. I agree with you. If you emigrate to a country like France, which is militantly secular, you adapt your beliefs and behavior. You don't demand that girls be allowed to wear the chador to cover their faces; and, while you may vigorously protest against what you perceive as slanders against your religion, you must also understand the traditions of the country in which individual freedom of expression trumps collective sensibilities or the right of the state to suppress opinions. Hopefully, as with all such attacks, we must realize that the terrorists represent the smallest percentage of Muslims, but the majority of Muslims have real grievances.

chauncey devega said...

Absolutely. This is a minute number of a large population. If I didn't make that clear in my essay above I need to clarity it there...which is why I use the example of Christian fundies who want much the same thing here and how their overlaps are rarely addressed.

chauncey devega said...

Just a thought, now and not too long ago white society (with a few black and brown enablers) would have said the same thing about the Black Freedom Struggle and the civil rights movement...

"I especially don't think purposefully offending someone who you know will come looking for that behind suddenly becomes a noble issue worthy of our support."

So our inalienable rights and freedoms should have to suffer a litmus test of threats and violence in order to be actualized? Frightening thought my friend. The right to offend, be obnoxious, deride, mock, provoke, and be really ugly within the boundaries of the law is one of the most important rights in a democracy.

chauncey devega said...

Great comment. Gonna have to mediate on that and also borrow from it tomorrow with your permission :)

Char said...

The difference is the Freedom Struggle and civil rights movement were not about "offending people for the sake of it." Why would any decent person set out to offend people in the worse way they could imagine, simply to do it?

chauncey devega said...

There were many opponents of the BFS that would say it was needless provocation. The editors and writers of the Parisian newspaper who were killed by those thugs would likely have said--and someone please look this up--that their work was instrumental and not casual, aimless, or flippant. Again, my point being that we don't surrender our core freedoms to other people's sensibilities or threats.

Jim Wagner said...

Reading the comments here, I don't think anyone is suggesting that anyone's right to "offend" be subject to a litmus test of potential violent responses. I think what folks are trying to get at is that the knee-jerk valorizing of Charlie Hebdo in the wake of this attack is shallow and superficial. Yes, we should all stand up and reaffirm our commitment to Voltaire's dictum about defending Hebdo's right to say what it says. But it's important also not to forget the first part of that famous sentence: "I disapprove of what you say." The fact that the magazine's cartoons have been frequently terrible and racist is a valid and important part of the discussion, even as we condemn those who would murder and maim for being "offended" by them.

Anyway, Charlie Hebdo's free speech rights aren't actually being threatened in any way, are they? Its office was attacked by violent criminals, and those criminals are now being hunted down like dogs and will be prosecuted for their crimes to the fullest extent of the law.

Courtney H. said...

Great essay, Chauncey! Speaking of white extremists, here is a documentary about the KKK:
P.S.: I have enjoyed the discussion here, too.

Char said...

"There were many opponents of the BFS that would say it was needless provocation."

Those people are idiots. All opinions are subjective, but they are not all equally grounded in reality. That's why I converse with the people here, instead of wasting time arguing with people occupying a different reality. I'm all about viewing matters from unorthodox perspectives, but I'm having a difficult time finding any real value in some of those depictions of Mohammed beyond offending Muslims. What did you take away from the cartoons? Why is it so difficult to identify the point of the provocation, if there is a greater one? We knew what it was with the Civil Rights Movement and the Freedom Struggle.

chauncey devega said...

I hear you and welcome the conversation. If I believe that religious groups are subverting my democracy and freedoms by their insistence that I "respect" their godhead and I disagree then satirizing said godhead is fair game. Again, I don't believe that any religion can cry offense and de facto expect free speech to be deflated or denied. That is true across the board. If one's faith is that strong a cartoon by a non-believer such as myself shouldn't take any wind out of your sails.

By the way, I wish that there was such an impassioned conversation in the American and Western media about the offensive images that they circulate in the service of white supremacy.

Char said...

Let's remember that the policeman that was callously executed was a Muslim. (Talk about narratives that shift depending on location and the identities of the people involved.) He literally died for Charlie Hebdo's "right" to offend him on the deepest level they could fathom. It's not just about the sensibilities of violent extremists. There are many more Muslims who aren't insisting that people respect their godhead. That doesn't mean they aren't going to be offended when a publication like Charlie Hebdo deliberately tries to offend, on the deepest level, anyone identifying as Muslim. It all boils down to common courtesy.

A White man walking through a Black neighborhood screaming racial epithets at people might encounter violent resistance to that act of free speech. I wouldn't expect decent people to retroactively canonize said White man, while repeating the offending language as an act of solidarity.

Char said...

"By the way, I wish that there was such an impassioned conversation in the American and Western media about the offensive images that they circulate in the service of white supremacy."

There is. They defend it vigorously and tell us we're too sensitive. It's the same thing happening with these cartoons. White-centrics think an outside culture is silly, so they ridicule said culture, then call out anyone offended as being overly sensitive.

chauncey devega said...

So decent people cannot criticize religion or use satire to comment on what they perceive as a threat to secularism by religious intrusion into the public sphere and democratic life?

Who decides the bounds of "common courtesy?" Some would say it is common courtesy for women to cover their heads and faces and for men who are their husbands to avoid talking to them in public?

What guidelines are to be used? What are the nuts and bolts?

As I say offend, offend, and offend away--and then let the intellectual marketplace decide--but not from fear of threats or violence.

I say that about these cartoons and also Maplethorpe (sp?) and others too. I say that for the creator of Birth of a Nation and Neo Nazis who want to march in public, write screeds, and commit other vulgar acts long as they are acting within the law.

I understand the spirit of respect and decency that motivate your smart comments. But, I think you/we/us need to be very careful of being so generous with those who are not at all generous with a respect for out rights and norms.

Char said...

"So decent people cannot criticize religion or use satire to comment on what they perceive as a threat to secularism by religious intrusion into the public sphere and democratic life?"

That's not what I said, or implied. Decent people don't engage in a xenophobic campaign to offend 1.6 billion people to the core, simply to be edgy and offensive while trying to piss of a small fraction of those people. That's the same excuse Michael Richards used for his racist jokes. He was responding to a particular group of Black hecklers. Too bad he used a general attack on the wider population of Blacks to do so and betrayed his own intolerance.

"What guidelines are to be used?"

I'd start by advising against engaging in a mean-spirited, xenophobic campaign to target what a culture holds most sacred and attack it, merely to distress them. That's a good start, don't you think?

Here's an example. I eat meat. I know a vegetarian. That vegetarian's beliefs aren't going to stop me from eating meat. If we're together and I'm hungry, I get something to eat and it will likely include meat. What I would not do is buy a burger, though I'm not hungry, seek out that vegetarian and tease him as I slowly bite into my juicy dead animal in a bun, just to troll him. Common courtesy.

"As I say offend, offend, and offend away--and then let the intellectual marketplace decide--but not from fear of threats or violence."

None of us have advocated violence. I just don't elevate these cartoons to the level of the Civil Rights Movement or the Freedom struggle, while posthumously canonizing trolls.

"I say that about these cartoons and also Maplethorpe (sp?) and others too. I say that for the creator of Birth of a Nation and Neo Nazis who want to march in public, write screeds, and commit other vulgar acts long as they are acting within the law."

No one here has denied them that right. We just engage ours to question how they use it. Let's be clear, we legally allow xenophobic and hate filled speech and propaganda only because we must accept it to maintain a system which allows for expressions such as the Civil Rights Movement and Freedom Struggle. We must take the good with the bad, but we shouldn't pretend that the bad is the same as the good.

"But, I think you/we/us need to be very careful of being so generous with those who are not at all generous with a respect for out rights and norms."

I don't think any of us, here, have been generous with them. I'm not lending my voice to speak out in support for the minority of violent extremists, whom—let's be honest—are crazy enough to pick up guns and fight for themselves against any perceived slight. I'm speaking up to support showing common courtesy to the vast majority of Muslims whom didn't use violence to threaten free speech.

SW said...

Bravo to this thread.

Char said...

Speech shouldn't be curtailed by acts of violence, though I do find many Whites relative unfamiliarity with having their rights threatened in such a way interesting. I would hope that our individual inner-filters are governed by consideration for others as opposed to consideration of how others will react to our speech.

My hamburger analogy is simply meant to demonstrate the difference between a situation in which a compelling and competing interest trumps another's sensibilities and a situation in which there is no compelling and competing interest to justify offending another's sensibilities.

SW said...

Overall, I cannot disagree that murder is an inappropriate response to satire, no matter how despicable.

However, what's with the need to incessantly prod someone else's beliefs, seemingly with contempt.

I'm reminded of "The Interview" ballyhoo. When I first saw previews for this movie, I thought it seemed unnecessary.

It turns out the movie may have provoked a cyber-attack. Of course society's mainstream narrative raises the free speech banner. But was a movie about the elimination of Un necessary? Was it supposed to be received warmly, and without retaliation by the folks it was meant to provoke? That seems like an unreasonable expectation.

In the case of Charlie Hedbo, murder can never be condoned, but their actions were provocative, and unfortunately there are members of the Islamic community with the will to face that provocation with an AK-47.

appalachiacat said...

This is a thought-provoking, fabulous discussion/thread. Thank you all for the profound and well-written (and civil!) commentary.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

I just don't see any act of bravery in the cartoons' "criticism" of Islam.

Je Suis Charlie Hebdo just sounds like "I am Darren Wilson."

Charlie Hebdo didn't kill anyone, but I get the impression they believe they are living under the threat of violence from Muslims when this is not the case.

James Estrada-Scaminaci III said...

Of course. Please treat all my comments on your website as having permission to quote or use.

Shady Grady said...

Some Muslims are also provoked by alcohol sales or women wearing miniskirts or women who have chosen not to marry their first cousin.

Just because someone is provoked doesn't mean that the other person is in the wrong or needs to change their behavior.

And I am not saying the cartoons were good. I thought many were offensive but more importantly many of them were low quality and just weren't funny. The only "necessary" test for any art is what the artist wants to do.

I am surprised that so many people seem to want some sort of community values test for things that at their basis are all about individual thoughts and POV.

chauncey devega said...

Spot on. Crappy art--as defined by some viewer--is still protected speech. Period.

I worry that some folks who are "progressives" or "liberals" have surrendered to the worst caricatures of "political correctness" by the Right.

chauncey devega said...

"To me that responsibility means that you are prepared to deal with the consequences of your words and actions. Which depending on what you choose to say, or write, or draw may be risky."

"Therefore it seems you must use your freedom wisely and decide if what you are saying is worth the risk of a potentially deadly backlash. Many throughout history have decided that their words, and their cause was worth their life. "

Isn't it frightening that in the 21st century we still have to make that choice. Goodness.

SW said...

Perhaps we are failed by our expectation for a more civil existence.

Pool Party in Gurgaon said...

What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.

akaprofessorchaos said...

I am a million times more frightened by milita types and assorted American gun nuts than I am of any so-called "jihadist"