The shocking murder of twelve people at the Charlie Hebdo magazine office in Paris has generated many displays of sympathy for the victims and their families, and support for freedom of speech over disgusting acts of terror, many by fellow artists and colleagues. It’s possible that the attack was planned by people who considered themselves defenders of their faith in some way, but they were hardly anything of the sort.
The cartoons that were likely the justification the perpetrators will use for their murder spree were often quite shocking, crude, and yes, offensive. This is hardly the point, though. Even crude and offensive speech should be protected—which is not to say it cannot be protested or criticized! But the standard that we have for freedom of speech, that enables the KKK or Westboro Baptist to have their say in public is the same standard that protects people of other, less noxious, but possibly threatened minority positions from being persecuted. It is never acceptable that ideas, words, and images, be responded to with violence. To attempt to silence people in this brutal way is an affront to civilization itself.
But the cartoons aren’t really the reason for an act like this—it’s rage. After all, what mere cartoons imperil the faith of 1.5 billion people? Answer: none. The great majority of people wouldn’t notice them at all and would simply go on with their lives. Is it an offense to God? It seems logical to assume that if one’s deity was truly offended, surely He (it’s almost always a “He”, isn’t it?) could handle the business of vengeance on His own. If one’s deity declines to do anything vengeful (plane accident, lightning strike, etc.), maybe the offended faithful might want to lighten up. What we have with these anti-cartoon jihadists are ambulatory fuses that have made an effort to wave themselves at any passing flame. And done so in fairly klutzy fashion—since not only are these cartoons being more widely distributed but angry and saddened cartoonists will only now make more. And consider the even deeper absurdity—among the offending themes used in such political commentary is often the expectation that extremists are violent barbarians—way to jump at the bait and prove them right!
But wait: the grotesque and twisted logic doesn’t stop there! Because this stupid act of violence, instead of actually defending the faith, it makes things harder for Muslims in Europe and elsewhere who actually aren’t even extremists and had this action done in the name of their faith without their approval and consent. In fact, at least one of the slain was a French Muslim policeman (how often other Muslims end up the targets of these vile actions!). And what can other Muslim organizations and Arab nations do, other than condemn them? (Does it truly need to be said that not all Muslims think this way or do these things?)
Who likes this kind of nonsense? Nobody but the extremists. Who else wants to pit a war between “the West” and some fantasy of a unified Islamic world that doesn’t really seem to exist as such? (There are people who are sufficiently anti-Muslim in “the West” to go right along with this way of thinking, and they can bugger themselves with a sharp quill.)
So on one hand, it’s bosh to say this is necessarily a purely Islamic form of fatwa-ist fuckery, although oh yes, the fuckery she is deep, and flavor is Muslim. But it is also exquisitely backwards to try and blame this on political correctness or the United States’ current foreign policy. There is a huge and gaping divide between the multiculturalists of “the Left” and proto-fascist monoculturalism that seeks to eliminate opposing points of view. We lefty PC SJWs are “nags”. They fucking behead people. We think we can coexist but want boundaries respected. Beheading people does not create a “safe space”. (Seriously—the nanny state fines people for smoking. ISIS beheads.)
Hi, I’m PC for the most part, but fuck people who do this shit. Also—did the people who want to say this is an Obama thing (ahem, FOX News) not notice Obama drones to death people who do this shit and bin Laden is in the cold, cold water? And BTW, this shit isn’t Wednesday, or last week, or since 2009. Salman Rushdie lived under a fatwa since the 1980’s. The Jyllands-Posten mishegas happened at the height of the US war on terror. Educated people on “the Left” have been and continue to be appalled at the rise of a form of extremism that is abhorrent to education, that is poisonous to women, that persecutes LGBT people, that censors criticism or dissent from a theocratic totalitarian rule (believe me, criticism and dissent exist in the Muslim world—even with jokes!) We aren’t down with any of that. (It’s pretty much a lot of the things we hate about the extreme Right Wing here, actually…but nota bene, they almost aren’t beheading people here everyday. Just the pothead loser psycho ones.) And it is not to be missed that yeah, a lot of radicalization can be traced to Abu Ghraib, Bagram, and Gitmo. The quien es mas macho exercise of the Bush Administration didn’t quell shit. But people are still and all responsible for their own actions.
Seriously—the people responsible for the attack and murder of the Charlie Hebdo magazine staff and that policeman are the people who did it. It’s a shitty thing to start playing a partisan blame game over other peoples’ actual dead bodies. Let’s show a little unity and not do that thing?
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)