Quantcast
Connect with us

The smartest and dumbest responses to the Charlie Hebdo massacre so far

Published

on

Every major violent world event elicits a variety of responses, from the thoughtful to the absurd to the embarrassing and ridiculous.

At Raw Story, we have been horrified and saddened to see our media colleagues gunned down simply for having the courage to stand up to religious zealotry and fanaticism. And while we think that Fox News’ allegation that “political correctness” is the real villain in the massacre is pretty darn dumb, our first prize winner thus far for the dumbest response to these attacks goes to Ezra Klein and Vox.com, for the piece, “Don’t let murderers pretend their crimes are about cartoons.”

ADVERTISEMENT

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices and two police on Wednesday, said Klein, “isn’t about Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, any more than a rape is about what the victim is wearing, or a murder is about where the victim was walking.”

The killers in Paris “went on a killing spree,” Klein wrote, and will have will have “some thin rationale. Even the worst villains believe themselves to be heroes. But in truth, it was unprovoked slaughter. The fault lies with no one but them and their accomplices.”

Klein said “(W)e shouldn’t buy into the bullshit narrative of a few madmen that their murders were a response to some cartoons. We shouldn’t buy into it even if we’re saying that murdering in response to cartoons is always wrong.”

“These murders can’t be explained by a close read of an editorial product, and they needn’t be condemned on free speech grounds,” he went on. “They can only be explained by the madness of the perpetrators, who did something horrible and evil that almost no human beings anywhere ever do, and the condemnation doesn’t need to be any more complex than saying unprovoked mass slaughter is wrong.”

“This is a tragedy. It is a crime. It is not a statement, or a controversy,” Klein concluded.

ADVERTISEMENT

The problem here is that this is a controversy, the killings were made as a statement. This is an act of terrorism with a specific goal in mind, not a mindless frenzy that one can discount as meaningless, patternless fanaticism.

Juan Cole, we believe, has the smartest take thus far on what the killings represent and what the best response would be.

Cole wrote Wednesday that al Qaeda in France is suffering from a lack of recruitment. On the whole, European youth from Muslim backgrounds are interested in secular culture, pop music and living like their non-Muslim counterparts.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The horrific murder of the editor, cartoonists and other staff of the irreverent satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, along with two policemen, by terrorists in Paris was in my view a strategic strike, aiming at polarizing the French and European public,” he said.

“The problem for a terrorist group like al-Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam. France is a country of 66 million, of which about 5 million is of Muslim heritage. But in polling, only a third, less than 2 million, say that they are interested in religion. French Muslims may be the most secular Muslim-heritage population in the world,” he wrote.

ADVERTISEMENT

The murders at Charlie Hebdo were not meant by the killers to avenge the Prophet Mohammed, they were intended to enrage and divide the population of France.

“Al-Qaeda wants to mentally colonize French Muslims, but faces a wall of disinterest. But if it can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination,” he explained, making isolated and ostracized Muslims more easily radicalized.

“This horrific murder was not a pious protest against the defamation of a religious icon,” wrote Cole, but a cynical strategy to “provoke European society into pogroms against French Muslims, at which point al-Qaeda recruitment would suddenly exhibit some successes instead of faltering in the face of lively Beur youth culture (French Arabs playfully call themselves by this anagram).”

ADVERTISEMENT

To dismiss the attackers as senseless, religion-crazed madmen, as Klein does, is to radically oversimplify what has happened here and to miss the tactical motivation behind the attack.

Coming from a site — and a man — that has consciously assumed the position as the smartest voice in the room seems, to us, more than a little reductionist to us and frankly, pretty dumb.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Protesters give Donald Trump a one-finger salute as Marine One flies over DC protests

Published

on

President Donald Trump returned to Washington, DC on Saturday as large crowds of protesters fill the city's streets.

Trump had flown to Florida to see the launch of the SpaceX Starship and returned as the sun was going down.

BuzzFeed News reporter Ellie Hall captured a picture of Marine One approaching the White House -- and being welcomed back to town with raised middle fingers.

Trump, in Marine One, just did a flyover of the protest area outside the White House.

Protesters flipped off the president’s helicopter.#dcprotest #MAGANIGHT #GeorgeFloydProtests pic.twitter.com/EMgCaOof1J

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump announces he has unilaterally decided to let Putin back into the G7 Summit: report

Published

on

President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that he intends to let Russia attend the next Group of Seven summit.

Since 2014, Russia's membership in the organization has been suspending in response to Vladimir Putin's annexation of Crimea. That changed the name from the G8 Summit to the G7 Summit.

The announcement came from pool reporter Gabby Orr of Politico, who said Trump will also invite South Korea, Australia and India to the next summit, which he is postponing until September.

More via pooler: “‘I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,’ he said. Alyssa Farah said this is bringing together our traditional allies to talk about how to deal with the future of China.”

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Seattle mayor imposes emergency curfew — set to begin only 14 minutes after her announcement

Published

on

The mayor of Seattle announced on Twitter that she would be signing an executive order imposing a curfew.

"I will soon be signing an emergency order and the city of Seattle will be imposing a 5 pm curfew soon," Durkin tweeted at 4:46 p.m. -- only 14 minutes before the order was set to go into effect.

"Crowds need to disburse from downtown immediately," she ordered.

"While many individuals gathered peaceful, some individuals have started fires and are destroying buildings. There are multiple fires downtown and it is an extremely dangerous situation. @Seattelfire (sic) does not have access to buildings," she continued.

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.
close-image