Category Archives: Hebdo

About That Paris March…

HEADSOkay, I’m feeling dense here. The massacre at Charlie Hebdo was an act of fundamentalist religious madness with an undeniable political dimension that makes it all the more horrendous as a potential goad to other criminal and/or deranged extremists who see it as an acceptable act of revenge for insults to Islam

The simultaneous attack on the kosher market was another facet of religio-fascist Islamic fanaticism that considers Jews a particularly heinous subset of infidels.

I understand the spontaneous gatherings of the thousands who poured out into the streets of Paris. My older son was among them. In the midst of such trauma and uncertainty (the killers were still on the loose; the shoppers in the market were being held hostage) such an act of community, solidarity, and mourning is a good, positive response.

I understand the immediate messages to the French nation of concern and condolence from world leaders and prominent international figures.

What I don’t really get, as I think about it, is the meaning of all those dignitaries and heads of state, many of of them, as has been pointed out, among the cruelest dictators on the planet, some of the most repressive national leaders, who, even as they march in Paris, hold journalists, dissenters, political rivals, etc. in brutal captivity. Who torture, exile, spy on, and silence their own people on merely the suspicion of dissenting ideas.

What, exactly, is the message of this outpouring of the notable and the just plain folk? Why do I feel this is one big anti-Islamic gesture that will further marginalize millions of men, women, and children resident in western nations, and give license to the demonization of Muslims worldwide? I just don’t see this cadre of “world leaders” dropping everything to go stand up and be counted for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, or for freedom of the press, or for… what, exactly?

https://storify.com/tometty/staunch-defenders-of-free-press-attend-solidarity

a-muslim-girl-joins-in-solidarity-with-the-crowds-at-the-march

HEBDO

tintin-in-the-congoNot going all up into it just now. Murder is murder, and we owe respect and a decent interval to the deceased.

However, I’m saying that I have long had issues with French, and some other European, free- for-all-let-it-rip racist humor. I assume the black and Arab caricatures are rooted in colonialism. The anti-Semitism is home-grown.

The steady background presence of casual racism from Tintin (ok, Belgian, but big in French nurseries) to all sorts of ads (Y’a Bon, of my youth, hung in until 2006, I see) and cartoons, political and otherwise, is too easily dismissed as freedom of whatever with no accountability for content. 004990396

Of course they should be free to publish whatever they want, but don’t pretend that repetitious racist schlock is sharp-edged political discourse or subversive satire.

Charlie Hebdo should keep going as a matter of free speech; once in a while they even make a clever point (“It’s so depressing to be worshiped by idiots” says Mohammad). But look at those same graphics and imagine them from the LePen camp. Maybe some of the anti-Catholic stuff wouldn’t fly there, but much of the rest would be right at home. How is all that racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic juvenilia supposedly brimming with political or social insight? Yes, there’s really vicious stuff from right wing publications, but it’s not always easy to tell the difference…  FEMEN charlie hebdo

So Josephine Baker’s bananas make me wince, but she made up for it by risking her life during the War.

BlackPurpleSmurf-1