The Paris Shooting: Barbarism, Terrorism and Hypocrisy
by Jose Mario De Vega
I joined the international community and the world in general in condemning to the highest possible extent and gravest degree the arbitrarily and heartless criminal and terroristic act committed by some bloody bastard freaks against the journalists (and two policemen) of the Paris-based satire publication Charlie Hebdo.
My heart and thoughts goes to all the victims and their grieving families of this horrendous and gruesome act of inhumanity, barbarism, terrorism!
Further, it is my fervent view that the said criminal act is an act of cowardice and idiocy of the highest order!
Needless to state, though those murderers managed to kill some staff and employees of the said magazine, I doubt if their idiotic action has achieved anything at all. They are dead wrong if they thought that their violence, their barbarism, their bullets will stop those satirists from further doing what they are doing.
History has shown that both the sword and the bullet (and the bombs) are useless and powerless in the face of the pen, which according to the saying is the mightiest sword ever invented and used by any protagonist and partisans.
Threats, violence and even death will not stop a free and questioning mind!
The perpetrators of this gruesome attack are evil creatures.
I hold those mindless and heartless killers as bastard freaks and bloody terrorists, not as Muslims or Blacks or foreigners.
Their crime has nothing to do with the so-called religion that they professed to have and fanatically proclaimed.
It is my fervent view that our focus and debate should not be on the religion of these terrorists, but rather on their idiocy, barbarism and inhumanity.
Their religion has nothing to do with their barbaric act.
As a former expatriate, a humanist and an atheist who has lived in Muslim-majority country, I was always treated with respect and open hospitality; that is despite the fact that they perfectly knew of my atheism. It appalled me and I find it so tragic that people or rather creatures with no real exposure to Islam can be so hateful of something they know nothing about. To reiterate, those bastard mass murderers are not Muslims, they are criminals and terrorists. That’s it!
Now, we should unite in our grief to stand against terrorism, otherwise we are letting the terrorists succeed.
Let me explain:
One of the victims, Ahmed Merabet, a policeman who was shot mercilessly by the terrorists, according to the reports is a Muslim of Algerian descent.
But for me, he is not a French police officer of Algerian descent neither he is a Muslim because the truth and the fact is that that brave man is a decent and kind human being.
The same is true of the hero of the Kosher grocery, Lassana Bathily. He is not a black man, he is not from Mali and he is also not a Muslim. For the truth is: he is a good and a courageous human being from the human community.
These two men has shown the world that goodness and being a good human being does not come from race, religion, ethnicity, etc. but from the greatness of their character.
They did the right thing not because they are black or white or because they are French or Algerian or that they have a religion or not, but rather they did what they did because it is the right thing to do regardless of the consequences.
In the words of Kevin Dolgin:
“I am French and American, but today I don’t want to be labeled as anything except human being. Everything else is incidental. This is a central—perhaps the central—tenet of humanism, and it is what caricature so eloquently illuminates. It can seem puerile to show some priest, prophet, or politician farting, but fundamentally what that does is to take the sacred, more-than-human figure and reduce it to what it really is: a human being, no more, no less. Ideologies elevate their leaders and gurus to superhuman status while reducing those outside the fold to subhuman status and so justify violence. Humanism makes this impossible—we are all just members of the same species, equal. It is the basis of our morality.
“As we polemicize and debate, don’t forget that the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo were fighting for humanism in a way that was probably much, much more effective than anything any of us were doing—certainly more than anything I was doing. For years they knew they were in danger of losing their lives, and they did it anyway.
“I suggest the following: Laugh. Make fun of the enemies of humanism and thus the enemies of humanity. And help those who do laugh out loud.”
The marginalization, exploitation and isolation of the Muslims
I agree that majority of the Western powers and societies violate the rights of their Muslim minority, that they suffered discrimination, marginalization, exploitation, isolation, etc.
I also agree that the (continuing) actions of the Western powers, so as their allies, such as the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the drone wars in Pakistan, Yemen, their meddling in the affairs of Syria, their hypocrisy and super double standards with regard to the Palestinian question and their super bias stand when it comes to the defense of bastard Israel, etc. has radicalized some of the Muslims today.
The continuing genocide being committed by Israel everyday against the Palestinian people has made the Muslim and Arab world rage and restless.
To quote the words of Chris Hedges:
“It is dangerous to ignore this rage. But it is even more dangerous to refuse to examine and understand its origins. It did not arise from the Quran or Islam. It arose from mass despair, from palpable conditions of poverty, along with the West’s imperial violence, capitalist exploitation and hubris. As the resources of the world diminish, especially with the onslaught of climate change, the message we send to the unfortunate of the earth is stark and unequivocal: We have everything and if you try to take anything away from us we will kill you. The message the dispossessed send back is also stark and unequivocal. It was delivered in Paris.”
Yet, though I agree with them on their/our hate and disgust of US imperialism and their bastard allies, I disagree with their terroristic act.
Fighting imperialism and discrimination using terrorism is also barbarism!
The Question of Freedom of Expression
As a Humanist and a son of the Enlightenment, it is my firm view that freedom of expression is one of the most basic of all human rights.
The Enlightenment is “a philosophical movement of the 1700s that emphasized the use of reason to scrutinize previously accepted doctrines and traditions and that brought about many humanitarian reforms.”
One of its lasting legacy and principle is the freedom of thought and the freedom of expression.
Though, said freedom was born in the West, it did not stop some Western countries, primordially the US from curtailing the said freedom especially if it blocks or advance their political agenda.
In the critical words of Corey Oakley:
“For the last decade and a half the United States, backed to varying degrees by the governments of other Western countries, has rained violence and destruction on the Arab and Muslim world with a ferocity that has few parallels in the history of modern warfare.
“It was not pencils and pens – let alone ideas – that left Iraq, Gaza and Afghanistan shattered and hundreds of thousands of human beings dead. Not twelve. Hundreds of thousands. All with stories, with lives, with families. Tens of millions who have lost friends, family, homes and watched their country be torn apart.
“To the victims of military occupation; to the people in the houses that bore the brunt of “shock and awe” bombing in Iraq; to those whose bodies were disfigured by white phosphorous and depleted uranium; to the parents of children who disappeared into the torture cells of Abu Ghraib; to all of them – what but cruel mockery is the contention that Western “civilisation” fights its wars with the pen and not the sword?
“And that is only to concern ourselves with the latest round of atrocities. It is not even to consider the century or more of Western colonial policies that through blood and iron have consigned all but a tiny few among the population of the Arab world to poverty and hopelessness.
“It is not to even mention the brutal rule of French colonialism in Algeria, and its preparedness to murder hundreds of thousands of Algerians and even hundreds of French-Algerian citizens in its efforts to maintain the remnants of empire. It is leaving aside the ongoing poverty, ghettoisation and persecution endured by the Muslim population of France, which is mostly of Algerian origin.
“The history of the West’s relationship with the Muslim world – a history of colonialism and imperialism, of occupation, subjugation and war – cries out in protest against the quaint idea that
“Western values” entail a rejection of violence and terror as political tools.
“Of course the pen has played its role as well. The pens that signed the endless Patriot Acts, anti-terror laws and other bills that entrenched police harassment and curtailed civil rights. The pens of the newspaper editorialists who whip up round after round of hysteria, entrenching anti-Muslim prejudice and making people foreigners in their own country. But the pens of newspaper editors were strong not by virtue of their wit or reason, but insofar as they were servants of the powerful and their guns.
“Consideration of this context not only exposes the hypocrisy of those who create the narrative of an enlightened West defending freedom of speech, it also points to the predictability and inevitability of horrific acts of terrorism in response. Of course we will never know what was going through the minds of the three men who carried out this latest atrocity. But it is the height of ahistorical philistinism to ignore the context – both recent and longstanding – in which these attacks took place.”
Let me be clear that what I am defending here is the Enlightenment principle of the freedom of expression of the 17th century, not the so-called freedom of expression of the imperial, decadent West of today.
Hence, it is my view that both the government (whether they belong in the West, the East or anywhere; whether they are democratic or not, de facto or de jure, legitimate or not, monarchial or otherwise, capitalist or socialist, etc.) and the terrorists has no right to attack, to curtain or limit the freedom of expression.
In the same vein, no class or group of persons or race or ethnicity or religious people (whatever or whoever they are) has the right to demand to be free from mockery, satire, criticism, parody, etc.
Freedom of expression simply means the right to offend.
A Call to Humanity
To some Western governments: don’t act as if you are concern in protecting journalists and defending the freedom of speech and expression. The whole world knows your hypocrisy and double standards.
To some of our Muslim brothers and sisters: please don’t be so sensitive and naïve. If your faith to your religious belief is strong and indomitable, then there is no amount of satire and parody that can shake your faith.
I also know that the West are violating your rights and dignity, but don’t act the way they act. Let us fight them in a reasonable manner. It doesn’t mean that because they are terrorizing us, we must also terrorize them. Then, end of the day, we are both terrorists and they will succeed in branding you/us are the terrorists, even though, ironically the whole world knows who the real and ultimate terrorists are!
We must at all cost always assume the moral high ground, no matter how hard it is!
To the bloody bastard terrorists (Some Western governments and the fanatics): your violence, bombs, bullets and guns will not stop the pen from writing against you. Our pen is mightier than your sword!
To Humanity: let us all join together and unite as One to stop this madness, what Gilbert Arhcar called as the “clash of barbarism”.
We must all fight and struggle for All Humanity!
The Hypocrisy of the World Leader’s March
I applaud the people of the world in coming into the open in defense of the freedom of expression and forge solidarity to the whole of Humanity, but I cannot help but wonder, why the hell they allow some bastard immoral and evil men to join the same and hence leads to bastardization a great world event?
What the hell is the moral right of Benjamin Netanhayu to join the world march in Paris? When the whole world knows that that son of a bitch is a mass murderer?
Further, why it is that the picture of the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel was omitted or according to some reports, photo shopped?
Is it because she is a woman and “it is a man’s world”?
This is a shame!
Where the hell is this so-called world leader’s march when Israel is wiping out, destroying to the ground Gaza and the satanic IDF are killing tens of thousands of the Palestinian people?
I weep for all those people that died in Paris, but if I may ask, is the world also crying for those thousands of people who died and still dying in Palestine?
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
Unibersidad de Manila
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