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Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Hebdo

UN: Israel Killed 15 Journalists in Summer 2014, “Purposefully” Targeting Many

This article is published in Mondoweiss.

The story of the 7 January 2015 storming of the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical French publication with a history of racist, anti-Muslim caricatures, has inundated the Western media.

The attack, tragically leaving at least 12 dead, has been touted as a “free speech” issue by the first government in the world to ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

(This framing has distorted the fact that it was torture at Abu Ghraib and the US war on Iraq that left 100,000s of civilians dead, not cartoons, that radicalized the impoverished shooters, sons of émigrés from Algeria, a country that was a French colony until the end of a bloody war of independence in 1962.)

The subsequent taking of hostages in a Parisian kosher supermarket by an acquaintance of the shooters was an even more despicable act, leading to the deaths of at least four. Both incidents are horrific tragedies, and deserve harsh condemnation.

Yet they have exponentially overshadowed equally tragic recent attacks on journalists.

In its November 2012 attack on Gaza, “Operation Pillar of Defense,” the Israeli government admitted that it was targeting journalists. This trend was revisited only months ago in Israel’s summer 2014 assault, “Operation Protective Edge,” an incursion that left 2,310 dead—over 1,500 of whom were civilians, including at least 500 children—and 10,626 wounded.

While the Western media has scrupulously tracked the Charlie Hebdo attack and subsequent hostage crisis for the scantest of updates, and while the calamity dominates discussions on social media—and also while the Fourth Estate ceaselessly speaks of ISIS’ heinous killings of Western journalists—both the press and popular culture continue to ignore August 2014 UN documents that inculpate Israel for engaging in very similar acts of terror.

The Press Emblem Campaign (PEC), a Geneva-based independent non-governmental organization aimed “at strengthening the legal protection and safety of journalists in zones of conflict and civil unrest or in dangerous missions,” carries special consultative UN status, conducting investigations on behalf of the body.

In its 28 August report, “90 journalists killed so far in 2014: a new step is required by the UN in order to combat impunity,” it notes that:

Israel and the Occupied Territory of the State of Palestine:

in the context of the operation “Protective Edge” launched by the Israeli forces on 8 July 2014 on the Gaza Strip, 15 journalists have been killed (some of them being purposely targeted), many others have been injured because of the shelling of their homes, 16 Palestinian journalists have lost their homes as a result of Israeli bombing and shelling, 8 media outlets have been destroyed, in addition the Israeli army deliberately disturbed the broadcasting of 7 radio and TV stations and websites (l), many journalists have been arrested by the Israeli forces.

Al-Aqsa radio, Sawt Al-Quds radio, Sawat Al-Sha’eb, Filistin Il-Yom TV and website, Al-Ra’ei website

In a more detailed document from the day before, “15 journalists and media workers killed during operation “Protective Edge”: the responsible have to be held accountable,” the PEC and the UN indicate that the houses of 16 journalists that were destroyed in Israeli attacks were “often purposely targeted.”

They also reveal that, of the eight Gaza media outlets Israel destroyed, five were deliberately bombed. Israeli forces shelled three headquarters of Al-Aqsa TV, where 325 employees worked, and “deliberately disturbed the broadcasting of 7 radio and TV stations and websites, and used these stations to broadcast inciting messages against the Palestinian resistance, as they did in their previous attacks on the Gaza Strip.”

Deliberate Attacks

The PEC states that the “Israeli violations against Palestinian journalists are the most dangerous, life threatening, and the most frequent” and asserts that it “denounces the harassment against journalists and media workers as well as the smear campaign of the Israeli diplomacy against foreign journalists falsely accused to work for Hamas that leads to a sneaky form of self-censorship.”

Most of the murdered journalists were in their twenties, with ages ranging from 21 to 59. All except for one, an Italian, were Palestinian.

The majority worked for local Palestinian media networks, although two Associated Press reporters were killed, including the only foreign reporter killed.

Some were wearing vests clearly marked “Press”; others were in media vehicles with “TV” plainly printed on the hood. In one case, a 21-year-old Palestinian photojournalist was taking pictures in the Al-Jineene neighborhood in Rafah when an Israeli drone shot him.

“The large number of targets and the way in which media organizations and journalists have been attacked by” Israeli forces, the UN statement reads, “suggest that a strategy has been finalized at the highest levels of the State of Israel. Targeting non-combatants is itself a war crime that, as such, must not enjoy impunity.”

The PEC concludes calling upon the UN to investigate “the violation of the fundamental freedoms and rights of journalists and media workers, with a particular attention on the violation of the rights of women journalists” and the UN Human Rights Council’s independent, international commission of inquiry “to investigate and identify those responsible for the crimes committed against media outlet, journalists and media workers.”

“Constant Pressures” on Journalists

In a footnote to this statement, the PEC draws attention to a French-language Algerian Huffington Post article that went completely ignored by the Western media (all translations mine): “TVE [Spanish Television] Journalist Yolanda Alvarez Attacked by Israel, Spanish Journalists Protest.”

The story notes that the “Spanish press is unanimous in supporting Yolanda Alvarez, TVE correspondent in Jerusalem, victim of virulent attacks by the Israeli embassy in Madrid.” It also stated that Alvarez’ Twitter page was “full of tweets of support coming from journalists or associations of journalists that spoke of the intimidation and the threats from the Israeli embassy.”

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said that, according “to the testimonies of other journalists and media, the Israeli embassy in Israel maintains an attitude of permanent intimidation of Spanish journalists.” RSF denounced the “constant pressures” Israel put on journalists, and asked that Israel stop using “its diplomats as agents of pressure and propaganda.”

US media networks also pressured their own journalists not to present Israel’s attack in a negative light.

NBC went so far as to pull Ayman Mohyeldin from Gaza, a veteran reporter who garnered international praise as one of the only two foreign journalists who had been in Gaza during Israel’s 2008-2009 assault on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead, in which Israel barred journalists from entering Gaza as it, in the words of Human Rights Watch, “repeatedly exploded white phosphorus munitions in the air over populated areas, killing and injuring civilians, and damaging civilian structures, including a school, a market, a humanitarian aid warehouse and a hospital.”

Institute for Policy Studies analyst Phyllis Bennis pointed out the irony that, as Israeli tanks rolled into Gaza, NBC “pulled the reporter who has done more than any other to show the human costs of the conflict there.” Because of popular pressure, Mohyeldin was eventually reinstated, yet there were numerous other incidents of the same forms of censorship and pressure occurring.

The Second-Worst Year for Journalists

In its 2014 census on jailed journalists, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) revealed that 2014 was the second-worst year for jailed journalists since it began the annual census in 1990. Internationally, over 220 journalists are imprisoned, 60% of whom are held on anti-state charges of terrorism or subversion.

This comes in a close second to 2012, in which 232 journalists were imprisoned—although the 2014 figure may actually be higher, as the report excludes journalists being detained by nonstate actors such as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

CPJ deputy director Robert Mahoney warned the “targeting of journalists has been increasing to alarming proportions,” indicating that journalists “are now losing the protected observer status that they had, and now they’ve become the story rather than being the witness to the story to some groups.”

Only some of the stories about these persecuted journalists are told, nonetheless. Much of the Western media is speaking of the Charlie Hebdo shooting as a “Free Speech” issue, yet ignores Israel’s persistent .

Explicit violent repression of journalists is not new behavior for Israel. In 2008, Israeli forces killed 23-year-old cameraman Fadel Subhi Shana’a. In the same year, Israel arrested award-winning journalist Mohammed Omer and brutally tortured him—a common practice. In 2004, Israeli occupation forces killed 22-year-old journalist Mohammed Abu Halima.

There are countless more of such stories, of such tragedies. Yet these tragic stories are not told in the Western media. The countless nameless faces of the now forgotten journalists are only nameless and forgotten because they were ignored.

UPDATE, 27 January 2015:

Journalist Dan Cohen tweeted a picture of a poster in Gaza commemorating the journalists killed in Gaza in Israel’s Operation “Protective Edge.” (Some sources have reported that 17 journalists were killed, yet the UN report left it at 15, so I used that figure in this piece.)

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And Boko Haram, extremist Nigerian insurgents?

When will the western coalition turn its attacks on? 

The past week has been one of horror for France. After a 3-day rampage in which terrorists killed 17 people both at the Charlie Hebdo offices and at a Jewish kosher supermarket, one fugitive still remains at large.

An estimated 3.7 million French citizens took to the streets of Paris in a solidarity march as the attack and its aftermath continues to dominate international headlines.

But thousands of miles away, another crisis went largely ignored. Boko Haram insurgents in Nigeria committed a massacre of unbelievable proportions in Borno State.

Over the period of a few days, the terrorist group killed more than 2,000 people in the town of Baga, as well as 16 neighboring towns and villages, burning entire communities to the ground.

Amnesty International described it as the terror group’s “deadliest massacre” to date, and the Guardian reports that local defense groups said they gave up counting the bodies left lying on the streets.

Mikael Owunna posted this Jan. 17, 2015

Mikael “Chuks” Owunna is a Nigerian-American writer, photographer, podcast host and organizer based in Washington D.C. His work focuses on topics of race, identity, gender, sexuality and colonialism.

By every objective measure, Boko Haram’s vicious massacre in Nigeria dwarfs the tragedy in France, so far that the Nigeria bloodshed has been described as one of the worst terrorist attacks in modern history.

There’s only one problem: In all likelihood, you probably didn’t hear about it until just now.

Source: Haruna Umar/AP

Where is the international outcry for these non-Western and predominantly Muslim victims of terrorism? The terrorist attacks in Borno State and Paris unfolded over the same time frame, but the story in France generated more than 50 times more news stories worldwide.

Source: Google Trends

This silence is not accidental. There is a clear double standard when talking about Western vs. non-Western and Muslim vs. non-Muslim victims of terrorism.

Terrorists attacks on the West, and against non-Muslims in particular, are sensationalized in the media while those afflicting non-Westerners and Muslims are normalized and treated as business as usual, generating limited public interest and, in turn, limited outcry from activists and institutions that could actually affect change.

This discrepancy in coverage raises important questions about the way the media talks about terrorism — and whether the Western news outlets that so fiercely dissected the brutal Charle Hebdo massacre will ever see non-Western and Muslim victims of terrorism as “mournable.”

And the result is telling: Reports about non-Western victims of terrorism are generally overlooked or ignored unless they fit particular narrative of freedom and civilization under assault from Islamic extremism.

The last known photo of Tunisian journalists Sofiene Chourabi (right) and Nadhir Ktari (left) who were executed by the Islamic State in Libya this past weekSource: France24

Is the attention on Charlie Hebdo really about the assault on free speech? 

Not necessarily. One day after the 10 white journalists were tragically murdered at Charlie Hebdo and became martyrs for “free speech,” two Tunisian journalists, Sofiene Chourabi and Nadhir Ktari, were beheaded by Islamic State militants in Libya and received almost no coverage for their sacrifice.

Additionally, the Committee to Protect Journalists found that more than half of the journalists killed in 2014 were Muslim, even though the international media dialogue of the past year focused almost exclusively on the Islamic State’s beheadings of white Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff, as well as the deaths of other white journalists like Camille Lepage.

“More than half of 61 journalists killed in 2014 were Muslims, many working in conflict-affected countries such as Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and Somalia,” writes Rafia Zakaria for Al Jazeera America. “But few have received the recognition or commemoration accorded to Western journalists or a handful who worked for Western media outlets.”

If this were solely a question of who is fighting to defend “free speech,” then international media would be honoring the sacrifices of the scores more non-Western and Muslim journalists who have died in the line of duty.

Source: Global Terrorism Index

Most victims of terrorism are Muslim and non-Western, but we rarely pay them as much attention. A conservative estimate by the Combating Terrorism Center at New York’s Military Academy at West Point found that between 2006 and 2008, non-Westerners made up about 98% of al Qaida’s victims. A majority of those victims were Muslim.

An additional report this past year from the Institute for Economics and Peace’s Vision of Humanity Project found that global deaths due to terrorism have spiked over the last decade. They were concentrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria: all non-Western countries with large Muslim populations.

The report also explicitly linked the rise in terrorist attacks in these countries to the U.S.-led war on terror, but the media continues to explicitly omit or gloss over these victims of terrorism (unless their stories can be used to fuel Islamophobia).

Lassana Bathily, the Malian Muslim hero of the Jewish supermarket hostage crisisSource: Le JDM

The media still offers a skewed depiction of Muslims. 

For example, the media narrative about the French attacks gave short shrift to Ahmed Merabet, the 42-year-old Algerian Muslim security guard for Charlie Hebdo who was also killed, and focused instead on many of the white journalists and editors who died.

Moreover, the international media at times explicitly omitted the Muslim identity of Malian Muslim Lassana Bathily, who saved customers during the siege of a Jewish kosher supermarket, while reiterating that the terrorists were “Islamists.” When other outlets focused on this distinction, they treated it as a shocking revelation: A Muslim wanted to save Jews! How novel!

This is in stark contrast to the media narratives about Islam that do dominate international headlines. Western media fixated coverage last year on Malala Yousafzai, a young Muslim female activist from Pakistan who was shot by the Taliban on her way to school. Many media outlets used her story to advance one-sided narratives about Islam, the oppression of Muslim women and Pakistan more broadly, while glossing over her critiques of the U.S. drone program, which did not fit these narratives.

First Lady Michelle Obama holding a “#BringBackOurGirls” sign Source: Twitter @FLOTUS

So what does this have to do with Nigeria?

Boko Haram made international headlines in 2014 for kidnapping 276 girls from a school in Chibok in Borno State. Nigerian activists launched the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag campaign, demanding accountability from the Nigerian government.

But after two weeks of little-to-no coverage, international journalists suddenly swept in and began to describe Boko Haram as Nigeria’s “Taliban,” focusing the story on Islamic fundamentalists’ war on the education of women rather than the structural and bureaucratic shortcomings of the Nigerian government.

The real story about Boko Haram and the Chibok girls could not have been further from the truth. Firstly, the Chibok girls, like the Boko Haram militants, are Muslim, and although the Taliban and Boko Haram are both terrorist groups that invoke “Islamist” rhetoric, the history of Boko Haram could not be more different than that of the Taliban. Moreover, Boko Haram regularly targets boys in its attacks, but this was also left out of the story.

The West and its media misconstrued the narrative and appropriated the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag as a “war on women” to justify an expanded Western military presence in the region.

Months later, and despite dozens of troops from the U.S., France, Canada, Israel and the U.K. being deployed to region, none of the girls have been rescued by the military to date. If the global reaction to this weekend’s slaughter is any indication, we’ve simply moved on from Nigeria’s ongoing battle against militants in favor of more tantalizing topics.

Image still from a Boko Haram video featuring their leader, Abubakar Shekau Source: AFP/Getty Images

Why it matters.

Reports about non-Western victims of terrorism are typically restricted unless they can serve a particular agenda, and we saw that again this past week with the media’s ominous silence around Boko Haram’s massacre of thousands of victims in Borno State.

There are no neat narratives surrounding this “Islamic war on women,” and no Westerners were killed. It was simply terrorist violence on an unprecedented scale perpetrated against Nigerians, many of whom were Muslim.

We are still not sure of the full scale of the violence in Baga and neighboring towns just yet, but what we do know is staggering. Baga, a town of 10,000, is now “virtually non-existent” according to Musa Alhaji Bukar, a senior government official from the region.

Hundreds of corpses are rotting and litter the streets. Entire towns and villages have been burnt down, and thousands of people have had to flee into Lake Chad where they face hunger, dehydration and attacks from wild animals while they await rescue on unstable sand bars. This is one of the worst terrorist attacks in history, and Boko Haram followed up on it by making a 10-year-old girl blow herself up in a market in Maiduguri this Saturday, killing at least 10 more people.

Image from France’s #JeSuisCharlie March on Sunday, January 11, 2015 Source: Peter Dejong/AP

Just as people are now standing in solidarity with the French and decrying the terrorist violence that tragically took 17 lives, we must also stand in solidarity with Nigerians and decry Boko Haram’s slaughter of 2,000. The lives of Muslim and non-Western victims of terrorism also matter, even if the mainstream media’s omission of these stories may indicate otherwise.

Russell Brand: How Bush Jr. and Blair represent Christian terrorism?

Russell Brand has said devout Christians George Bush and Tony Blair represent Christianity no more than the Charlie Hebdo terrorists represent Islam.

In a late blog on the killings in France that killed 17 people and three gunmen over three days, Brand said the “bewildered, pitiable” men who carried out the attacks “do not speak for Islam or Muhammed or Allah”.

Russell Brand Says Charlie Hebdo Killer Represent Islam ‘Like Bush And Blair Represent Christianity’

“These men of murder are the symptom of a creed that lies as far away from God as is possible to conceive and do not represent Islam anymore than George Bush, Tony Blair and Halliburton represented Christianity,” he wrote.

“Or ordinary, secular Europeans and Americans when they profited from the bombing of innocent Iraqis.”

CHARLIE HEBDO

One of the gunmen, who took hostages in a kosher grocery, pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a video released after his death, while the two who attacked the satirical newspaper’s offices claimed to be from Al Qaeda, their rival Islamist extremists.

In his blog, Brand said: “How can any spiritual scripture be used as justification for mass murder?

“How can the tenet that The Prophet ought never be depicted ever override Islam’s most mundane greeting AsSalaam alaikum – “peace and mercy be upon you”? It can’t and it doesn’t.

“The young, bewildered, pitiable men that carry out these atrocities probably at the behest of older, power hungry men do not speak for Islam or Muhammad or Allah.

“This language has nothing to do with the God I believe in or the God any of the Muslims I know believe in.”

Hypocrisy of the Free Speech Fundamentalists: More on the Charlie Hebdo 

Erkki Tuomioja, Finland foreign minister, said lately:

“You caricature and criticize women, you are a chauvinist

You caricature and criticize Jews, you are an anti-semite

You caricature and criticize  Blacks, you are a racist

You caricature and criticize Islam, you are smack into free expression zone

As a Muslim, I’m Fed Up With the Hypocrisy of the Free Speech Fundamentalists

Posted: 13/01/2015 
Dear liberal pundit,You and I didn’t like George W Bush.

Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubya’s slogan: either you are with free speech… or you are against it.

Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo… or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic.

I’m writing to you to make a simple request: please stop.

You think you’re defying the terrorists when, in reality, you’re playing into their bloodstained hands by dividing and demonising. Us and them.

The enlightened and liberal west v the backward, barbaric Muslims. The massacre in Paris on 7 January was, you keep telling us, an attack on free speech. The conservative former French president Nicolas Sarkozy agrees, calling it “a war declared on civilisation“.

So, too, does the liberal-left pin-up Jon Snow, who crassly tweeted about a “clash of civilisations” and referred to “Europe’s belief in freedom of expression”.

In the midst of all the post-Paris grief, hypocrisy and hyperbole abounds. Yes, the attack was an act of unquantifiable evil; an inexcusable and merciless murder of innocents. But was it really is a “bid to assassinate” free speech (ITV’s Mark Austin), to “desecrate” our ideas of “free thought” (Stephen Fry)?

It was a crime – not an act of war – perpetrated by disaffected young men; radicalised not by drawings of the Prophet in Europe in 2006 or 2011, as it turns out, but by images of US torture in Iraq in 2004.

Please get a grip. None of us believes in an untrammelled right to free speech.

We all agree there are always going to be lines that, for the purposes of law and order, cannot be crossed; or for the purposes of taste and decency, should not be crossed. We differ only on where those lines should be drawn.

Has your publication, for example, run cartoons mocking the Holocaust? No? How about caricatures of the 9/11 victims falling from the twin towers? I didn’t think so (and I am glad it hasn’t).

Consider also the “thought experiment” offered by the Oxford philosopher Brian Klug. Imagine, he writes, if a man had joined the “unity rally” in Paris on 11 January “wearing a badge that said ‘Je suis Chérif'” – the first name of one of the Charlie Hebdo gunmen. Suppose, Klug adds, he carried a placard with a cartoon mocking the murdered journalists. “How would the crowd have reacted?… Would they have seen this lone individual as a hero, standing up for liberty and freedom of speech? Or would they have been profoundly offended?” Do you disagree with Klug’s conclusion that the man “would have been lucky to get away with his life”?

Let’s be clear: I agree there is no justification whatsoever for gunning down journalists or cartoonists. I disagree with your seeming view that the right to offend comes with no corresponding responsibility; and I do not believe that a right to offend automatically translates into a duty to offend.

When you say “Je suis Charlie“, is that an endorsement of Charlie Hebdo‘s depiction of the French justice minister, Christiane Taubira, who is black, drawn as a monkey? Of crude caricatures of bulbous-nosed Arabs that must make Edward Said turn in his grave?

Lampooning racism by reproducing brazenly racist imagery is a pretty dubious satirical tactic. Also, as the former Charlie Hebdo journalist Olivier Cyran argued in 2013, an “Islamophobic neurosis gradually took over” the magazine after 9/11, which then effectively endorsed attacks on “members of a minority religion with no influence in the corridors of power”.

It’s for these reasons that I can’t “be”, don’t want to “be”, Charlie – if anything, we should want to be Ahmed, the Muslim policeman who was killed while protecting the magazine’s right to exist. As the novelist Teju Cole has observed, “It is possible to defend the right to obscene… speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech.”

And why have you been so silent on the glaring double standards? Did you not know that Charlie Hebdo sacked the veteran French cartoonist Maurice Sinet in 2008 for making an allegedly anti-Semitic remark?

Were you not aware that Jyllands-Posten, the Danish newspaper that published caricatures of the Prophet in 2005, reportedly rejected cartoons mocking Christ because they would “provoke an outcry” and proudly declared it would “in no circumstances… publish Holocaust cartoons”?

Muslims, I guess, are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren. Context matters, too. You ask us to laugh at a cartoon of the Prophet while ignoring the vilification of Islam across the continent (have you visited Germany lately?) and the widespread discrimination against Muslims in education, employment and public life – especially in France.

You ask Muslims to denounce a handful of extremists as an existential threat to free speech while turning a blind eye to the much bigger threat to it posed by our elected leaders.

Does it not bother you to see Barack Obama – who demanded that Yemen keep the anti-drone journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye behind bars, after he was convicted on “terrorism-related charges” in a kangaroo court – jump on the free speech ban wagon? Weren’t you sickened to see Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of a country that was responsible for the killing of seven journalists in Gaza in 2014, attend the “unity rally” in Paris?

Bibi was joined by Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where Holocaust denial is punishable by up to five years in prison, and David Cameron, who wants to ban non-violent “extremists” committed to the “overthrow of democracy” from appearing on television.

Then there are your readers. Will you have a word with them, please? According to a 2011 YouGov poll, 82% of voters backed the prosecution of protesters who set fire to poppies.

Apparently, it isn’t just Muslims who get offended.

Erkki Tuomioja, Finland foreign minister

Mehdi Hasan is the political director of the Huffington Post UK and a contributing writer for the New Statesman

‎إنهم يعرفون ... ويحرفون ..!!!!‎

Cartoons of Charlie Hebdo:  No one is showing you

Sun Jan 11, 2015

ProgNetFollow this Jan 17, 2014

Below are cartoons drawn over the past several decades by Cabu, one of the most emblematic cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo (if not the most). Cabu was murdered along with his colleagues this past week. He was 75 years old.

Although no media outlet in the US will show you these images, they can all be found online with a simple Google search.

This cartoon by Cabu criticizes racial profiling, specifically discrimination by the French police against immigrants from North Africa and people of African descent.

The caption reads: “No to racist controls [identity checks].”

This cartoon by Cabu depicts and quotes the racist demagogue politician Jean-Marie Le Pen of the Front National party (with the eye patch).

The caption reads: “We want to be able to go out in the evening without being afraid.” The armed thugs in the background are racist skinheads and their ilk. The cartoon leaves little doubt as to who is afraid.

This cartoon by Cabu depicts young people of color looking at a Christmas display of a toy costume for a CRS, the riot control force of the French National police, which has long been accused of brutality and racism.

The critique here is about the normalization of police control and militarization and its negative impact specifically against young people of African descent.

This cartoon by Cabu meant to raise the alarm at the rise in popularity of far-right, anti-immigrant politician Marine Le Pen and her Front National party (founded by her father, the notorious right-wing racist and xenophobic politician Jean-Marie Le Pen).

The captions read on the left “Disappointed by Sarkozysm” [ie. disappointed by the policies of the Center Right politics of former French president Sarkozy] and on the right “Disappointed by Hollandism” [ie. disappointed by the policies of the Center Left politics of current French president Hollande.] Marine Le Pen is cast as the “hostess”.

A rough translation of her caption would be: “Move it you red, white & blue peckerheads!”

This cartoon by Cabu criticizes the size of the military budgets across Europe. The captions read at the top, “Those clowns that suck the blood of Europe,” and at bottom, “Let’s put the military budgets on a diet!”

This cartoon by Cabu ruthlessly criticizes the French military. The caption reads: “14 Juillet [France’s Independence Day], the killers’ holiday.”

This cartoon by Cabu does not require translation.

This cartoon by Cabu was published in 1979 in the antiwar journal of the Pacifist Union. While this specific image might not have been published in Charlie Hebdo (I don’t have access to their archives), it strikingly conveys Cabu’s lifelong antiwar and anticolonialist politics, which always fit right in at Charlie Hebdo (and were shared by the majority of the journalists and cartoonists there).

The caption reads: “France doesn’t have oil, but she has an army!”

1:53 PM PT: Much thanks to everyone who helped put this diary on the Rec List.

Mon Jan 12, 2015 at 6:07 PM PT: Charlie Hebdo just released the cover image for their next issue.  You can see it here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

In many Islamic countries, massive demonstrations lambasted the Prophet cartoon on the cover. In Niger, 7 Christian churches were burned down

Tue Jan 13, 2015 at 8:21 AM PT: One last update from a message sent to me:

“Take it from a French person who verified : bleu-bites (in the cartoon with Marine Le Pen)  simply means rookies, newbies. Un bleu has been a rookie or a new recruit in the army since the 19th century.  Bite derives from a slang word   ‘bitau’ meaning a new student, the word comes from Switzerland (Genève)  ‘bisteau’ for young apprentice.”

Note: Charlie Hebdo had No business dealing with stupid religious icons that are based mostly on fiction and not well documented. Disseminating ignorance and falsehood is not the business of learned cartoonists.

 

 

Why I am Not Charlie Hebdo? Je ne suis pas Charlie

The weekly French cartoon magazine Charlie Hebdo mostly dealt with local French politics and policies.

1. It was against US invasion of Iraq in 2003. How’s your current position on this invasion?

2. It was against French military involvement against Gadhafi of Libya. How’s your current position on this Libyan morass and constant civil war? Many European politicians and security officers believe that it is Libya that will constitute the real menace to Europe’s security.

3. It was mostly pro Zionism/Israel and fired cartoonists who stood fast against retracting their opinions on wrong doing against human rights in Palestine.

‎الحرية والديمقراطية !!!‎

4. People may believe that Charlie Hebdo got carried away by these waves of Islamo-phobia and indulged caricaturing the Prophet Mohammad as a villain just to prove that it is not afraid of the threats and assassinations carried out against these publishers.

Actually, Charlie Hebdo habits were reminiscing of Hollywood movies of depicting “Arabs” as backward villains. Confusion over 350 millions Arabic speaking people with a few thousand Bedouins in a desert setting.

It is a huge stupidity of caricaturing religious icons that are mostly not well known, not based on good documentations and facts. Stick to what is known, factual and current you stupid cartoonists and steer away from disseminating dangerous discriminating opinions.

Aicha, the youngest and most learned wife of the Prophet, spent her life confronting and refuting the misrepresentations and out of context stories describing the behaviour and daily habits of Muhammad. These stories are called the hadith and the Moslems mostly love stories and behave as these stories says and recommend.

There is no “but” about what happened at Charlie Hebdo yesterday. Some people published some cartoons, and some other people killed them for it.

Words and pictures can be beautiful or vile, pleasing or enraging, inspiring or offensive; but they exist on a different plane from physical violence, whether you want to call that plane spirit or imagination or culture, and to meet them with violence is an offense against the spirit and imagination and culture that distinguish humans. Nothing mitigates this monstrosity.

There will be time to analyze why the killers did it, time to parse their backgrounds, their ideologies, their beliefs, time for sociologists and psychologists to add to understanding. There will be explanations, and the explanations will be important, but explanations aren’t the same as excuses. Words don’t kill, they must not be met by killing, and they will not make the killers’ culpability go away.

a paper bird posted this Jan. 9, 2014

To abhor what was done to the victims is not the same as to become them.

This is true on the simplest level: I cannot occupy someone else’s selfhood, share someone else’s death.

This is also true on a moral level: I cannot appropriate the dangers they faced or the suffering they underwent, I cannot colonize their experience, and it is arrogant to make out that I can. It wouldn’t be necessary to say this, except the flood of hashtags and avatars and social-media posturing proclaiming #JeSuisCharlie overwhelms distinctions and elides the point.

“We must all try to be Charlie, not just today but every day,” the New Yorker pontificates.

What the hell does that mean?

In real life, solidarity takes many forms, almost all of them hard. This kind of low-cost, risk-free, E-Z solidarity is only possible in a social-media age, where you can strike a pose and somebody sees it on their timeline for 15 seconds and then they move on and it’s forgotten except for the feeling of accomplishment it gave you.

Solidarity is hard because it isn’t about imaginary fff8 identifications, it’s about struggling across the canyon of not being someone else: it’s about recognizing, for instance, that somebody died because they were different from you, in what they did or believed or were or wore, not because they were the same.

If people who are feeling concrete loss or abstract shock or indignation take comfort in proclaiming a oneness that seems to fill the void, then it serves an emotional end. But these Cartesian credos on Facebook and Twitter — I am Charlie, therefore I am — shouldn’t be mistaken for political acts.

Among the dead at Charlie Hebdo:  Deputy chief editor Bernard Maris and cartoonists Georges Wolinski, Jean Cabut (aka Cabu), Stephane Charbonnier, who was also editor-in-chief, and Bernard Verlhac (aka Tignous)

Erasing differences that actually exist seems to be the purpose here: and it’s perhaps appropriate to the Charlie cartoons, which drew their force from a considered contempt for people with the temerity to be different. For the last 36 hours, everybody’s been quoting Voltaire. The same line is all over my several timelines:

From the twitter feed of @thereaIbanksy, January 7

“Those 21 words circling the globe speak louder than gunfire and represent every pen being wielded by an outstretched arm,” an Australian news site says. (Never mind that Voltaire never wrote them; one of his biographers did.)

But most people who mouth them don’t mean them. Instead, they’re subtly altering the Voltairean clarion cry: the message today is, I have to agree with what you say, in order to defend it. 

Why else the insistence that condemning the killings isn’t enough? No: we all have to endorse the cartoons, and not just that, but republish them ourselves. Thus Index on Censorship, a journal that used to oppose censorship but now is in the business of telling people what they can and cannot say, called for all newspapers to reprint the drawings: 

“We believe that only through solidarity – in showing that we truly defend all those who exercise their right to speak freely – can we defeat those who would use violence to silence free speech.” But is repeating you the same as defending you? And is it really “solidarity” when, instead of engaging across our differences, I just mindlessly parrot what you say?

But no, if you don’t copy the cartoons, you’re colluding with the killers, you’re a coward. Thus the right-wing Daily Caller posted a list of craven media minions of jihad who oppose free speech by not doing as they’re ordered. Punish these censors, till they say what we tell them to!


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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