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PostDangerous Times; "Je Suis Ahmed" (Yusuf Kanli, Turkey, 01/11/15 4:00 am)
Perhaps the world was never so close to a confrontation of civilizations since the time of the Crusades? Probably the situation is far worse than even during medieval times. The issue is not about insulting the Prophet Muhammad or blasphemy against Islam. Such developments are just tips of the iceberg. The cold-blooded and premeditated murder of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo offices is just an alarm bell for what's in the pipeline.
All through Muslim societies there is uneasiness. There is a feeling of being ignored, neglected and looked down upon, if not hated. From the torture in the dungeons of Abu Ghraib prison to Guantánamo, secret prisons in Afghanistan, Poland and elsewhere, to the rape of women and blasphemous attitudes against Islam and Islamic values, coupled with some grave mistakes by the "occupation" mentality on land--all this aggravated the "evil other" obsession. With Palestinians suffering day and night from indiscriminate Israeli bombing several times every year, the "democratization" efforts of the Christian West wreaked havoc through northern Africa and in the Middle East to varying degrees. After so many years, Iraq remains an insecure and unstable country, while Afghanis were saved so effectively that they no longer remember what functioning governance, security, or wellbeing are. Worse, for the past many years with various forms of direct and indirect support, as well as assistance through local proxies such as Turkey, Qatar and the Saudis, a merciless beast was created in Syria to fight another beast, a ruthless dictator.
All this is nothing compared to the real and devastating impact the region and the world will inherit from this calamity. Over the decades young recruits from all over the world were allowed to join Islamist, non-Islamist or even Marxist-Leninist gangs operating in the region. Why? Everyone had an account to settle with somebody else. Some used the Kurdish card, some preferred to use something more appealing to our ears: bringing democracy. The end result, gangs operating in the region, from Yemen to Afghanistan, trained thousands of Turks, British, French, Germans and who knows what other nationalities as well, in guerrilla warfare.
Who were those terrorists captured in Istanbul as they were planting explosives at a shopping mall? Who was that girl suicide killer? Who were those who carried out the Paris massacre in cold blood? Were these people involved in Middle East or North African terrorism networks during recent times? Had they been to Iraq? The answers may shock everyone and underline the real dimension of the threat.
Being the first country to bombard Tripoli to "save" Libya from dictator Gaddafi has come at a price, as well as insisting on its obsession to have a Syria without Assad and the Baathists and going to bed with "moderate Islamists." Who are those moderate Islamists? Or, can there be moderate Islam?
Of course Islam cannot be held responsible for the bloodshed even if those shedding blood might claim they do it for Islam. Yet, is it not a reality that as a by-product of the three-monkeys role the Christian West has been insisting on playing as regards continued sufferings of the Palestinians on the one hand while with the romantic dream of transferring the entire geography into a democracy overnight with a "spring revolution," the area has been converted into an inferno? Wouldn't this calamity produce a bill, and an expensive one at that? With the atmosphere already fertilized so well with ignorance, would it make much difference whether terrorists went berserk because of a blasphemous cartoon, an indecent film, or an unfortunate statement by a trivial politician?
Of course there can be no excuse for the cold-blooded carnage. Even if Islamic tradition bars any depiction of its Prophet Muhammad to prevent idolatry, all through the ages there have been examples to the contrary. Could a cartoonist, filmmaker or painter test the limits of "free expression" through provocative works that might be considered religiously blasphemous? While there ought to be a limit at some point, in a free society, people have the right to express views even when they are offensive and wrong. It is the individual exercise of freedom of expression for a writer, painter, cartoonist, filmmaker or whoever to produce an intellectual product to his liking. Others may appreciate and give that intellectual product a standing ovation, others may not approve of it, and others may even consider it disgusting. But finding it disgusting or even abhorrent cannot be a reason for carrying out slaughter.
In an expression of condemnation and solidarity, journalists all through the world have been declaring "Je suis Charlie" since the Paris massacre. Shouldn't we particularly remember the policeman Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim, who lost his life trying to save the Charlie Hebdo staff? Should not we also say "Je suis Ahmed"?
JE comments: I came across one Tweet in news reports: "I am not Charlie, I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture, and I died defending his right to do so."
A martyr for the cause of civility and tolerance.
Paris Solidarity March, 11 January 2015
(Carmen Negrin, France
01/11/15 12:34 PM)
Adding to Yusuf Kanli's questions (11 January), how does one explain how a simple son of a traditional French family of farmers from Normandy, finds himself in some Islamic country cutting off the heads of hostages?
A large part of the blame can be attributed to Bush, but education, the media and probably many other things and people are also responsible.
In the meantime, today's march in Paris was very moving. A tremendous amount of people, they are talking about over 1.5 million in Paris alone.
JE comments: A number of WAISers won't let Carmen's "it's Bush's fault" remark go unchallenged. But I'd like to focus today on the positive. David Pike has called the solidarity rally "unprecedented," surpassing even the celebration of the 1944 Liberation. David's comment is next.
Paris Solidarity March
(David Pike, France
01/11/15 2:33 PM)
In an off-Forum e-mail to John E earlier today, I described today's march in Paris as "an event without precedent, even counting the Liberation." Not more important, obviously, than August 1944, nor more significant, and not really grave at all. It began in sadness, and ended in a fervor bordering on joy. It was a vast outpouring of emotion, of common purpose, of human solidarity, phrases that we hear all the time, but here in the street there was the feeling of never before like this.
Speaking of the Liberation, our quarterly Guerres mondiales went to press last week with an article of mine which is the first to challenge its most famous myth. I will send it to John when it appears in March, and offer it to any WAISer who would like it.
JE comments: David Pike really whets our appetite with his myth-busting essay! I look forward to March--and let's hope March turns out to be more peaceful than January has been so far. Today's rally in Paris offers a glimmer of brighter times ahead.
- Je Suis Ahmed (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 01/16/15 2:00 AM)
Yusuf Kanli asked on 10 January:
"Shouldn't we particularly remember the policeman Ahmed Merabet, a Muslim, who lost his life trying to save the Charlie Hebdo staff? Should not we also say ‘Je suis Ahmed'?"
I think we do! "Je Suis Ahmed" is widely declared, particularly, but not exclusively, by European Muslims who identify themselves with the policeman who died defending freedom of expression according to the law of the nation of which he was a citizen. As Ahmed was buried, the French President stood by and put a Legion d'Honneur medal in his casket. Hollande said:
"Ahmed Merabet knew better than anyone that radical Islam has nothing to do with Islam and that fanaticism kills Muslims. Madness has no religion. It has the face of hate, a hatred for all that France represents."
Ahmed's eulogy, by his brother Malek, has been declared by one journal to be "the most important thing you'll read on Charlie Hedbo":
JE comments: Ahmed is the true martyr of peace and multiculturalism. Can anyone tell us what they are saying about him in Algeria, the land of his parents' birth?
(Randy Black, USA
01/16/15 1:22 PM)
Yusuf Kanli asked on 10 January if we should not be saying "Je suis Ahmed," whom he said "lost his life trying to save Charlie Hebdo staff." I believe that Yusuf should have included some additional details.
According to news reports, Ahmed was a street cop, unarmed, and was simply patrolling the area near the Charlie Hebdo offices, as he had done for the past eight years. As I said, he was not armed and was shot down in cold blood after the murders in the nearby offices of Charlie Hebdo. Finally, the world is saying "Je suis Ahmed," as this photo from Berlin demonstrates.
The murderous Muslim radicals simply murdered Ahmed because he had on the police uniform.
JE comments: Here's the photo. One wonders if the assassins realized that Ahmed was a Muslim--or if they cared.
The French Municipal Police are generally unarmed. The (National) Gendarmes, as their name suggests, carry sidearms. If I'm wrong here, let me know.
- Je Suis Ahmed (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 01/16/15 2:00 AM)
- Paris Solidarity March (David Pike, France 01/11/15 2:33 PM)