The heinous nature of the crime against the journalists and cartoonists from
Charlie Hebdo makes it extremely difficult to offer a cool-headed analysis of what is entailed in this barbaric act, its context and precedents, as well as its impact and future repercussions. Still an analysis is urgently needed, lest we fan the flames of a fire that one of these days may well hit our children’s schools, our homes, our institutions and our consciences. Here are some thoughts towards that analysis.
The fight against terrorism; torture and democracy. One cannot draw a direct connection between the Charlie Hebdo tragedy and the fight against terrorism waged by the US and its allies since September 11, 2001. It is a known fact, however, that
the West’s extreme aggressiveness has caused the death of many thousands of innocent civilians (mostly Muslims) and inflicted astounding levels of violence and torture on young Muslims against whom all suspicions of wrongdoing are speculative at best, as attested to by the report recently submitted to the US Congress. It is also well known that many young Islamic radicals claim that their radicalisation stems from their anger at all that unredressed violence. In view of this, we must stop and consider whether the best way to bring the spiral of violence to a halt is to pursue the same policies that have driven it so far, as has now become all too evident. The French response to the attack shows that democratic, constitutional normalcy is now suspended and an undeclared state of siege is in place, that this type of criminal should be shot dead rather than incarcerated and brought to justice, and that such behaviour in no way seems to contradict Western values. We have entered a phase of low-intensity civil war. Who in Europe stands to gain from it? Certainly not the Podemos party in Spain, nor Greece’s Syriza...