The year 2015 is two weeks old and France, Europe and the wider world of free speech have already witnessed the atrocity of the decade. France has received the dubious honour of having her own 9/11 (US), 7/7 (UK) or 11/3 (Spain), as two or three gunmen entered the premises of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo and shot dead 12 people, including leading cartoonists and two police officers. Everyone and his dog, from shifty world ‘leaders’ to self-conscious social media posters, stumbled over their own over-keenness to condemn the attacks in Paris. Apparently the gun men executed their ‘exercise’ with military precision, threw a few “Allahu akbars” in the mix for good measure and just before speeding away in a car shouted that they “have avenged those who dared to ridicule the prophet (Mohammed)”, just in case one wasn’t quite sure what these fighter-people were doing there. People in France and beyond were shocked, angry, scared and heart-broken. This was an attack on the freedom of speech and freedom of art, or so it seems. After the initial shock, anger and fear came the solidarity and the defiance with the march in Paris and several marches held across the world. The march in Paris including French people from across the cultural, social and religious spectrum and world ‘leaders’ was both heart-warming and sickening at the same time. Those world ‘leaders’ were not in Paris to lead a march that was just a not-so-slick PR stunt, as many of those world ‘leaders’ don’t always allow the exercise of free speech in their own countries. The real reason those world ‘leaders’ were in Paris was to hold an urgent ‘security summit’ where it has been decided that to keep us, the people safe, we the people have to give up even more of our civil rights to ‘prevent these atrocities’ in the future. It has been decided that there should be access to flight data of all passengers at all times and that these data should be shared by the different national and international ‘security’ agencies.
Due to Charlie Hebdo’s sharp cartoons ridiculing islam and other religions, including depicting the prophet Mohammed, which is strictly forbidden in islam, the blame has automatically been laid at the feet of muslim fundamentalists. Within 36 hours of the shooting at Charlie Hebdo the headshots of the two alleged gunmen were released for these gunmen to be shot dead by police during a raid a day later. It seems a bit of a pattern with these attacks, including 9/11 and 7/7 and more recent attacks like the Boston bombing and Canada’s Parliament Hill shooting, that the alleged killers die during the attack or get shot by police rather than being captured alive for them to stand trial. Just like with all the other attacks the alleged killers were known to secret service agencies. Since 9/11 civil liberties in the US and Europe have slowly but surely been eroded and surveillance increased, yet these attacks are still happening. The incompetence of the different secret service agencies is mind-boggling to the extent that it is almost suspicious.
In whichever way islamic fundamentalism came into being, because fundamentalism is part of islam as some argue, due to the foreign policies of western powers or just because the CIA needed a new project and the ‘free’ world a new enemy after the fall of communism, those who are supposed to keep us, the people, safe from fundamentalist terror seem unable or perhaps even unwilling to do so. And now after the whole world declared they are Charlie Hebdo it is argued that the only way to keep us safe and free is to subject us to more scaremongering and take more of our liberties away.
Curtailing civil liberties, however small the step might seem every time massive terror shit hits the fan of the ‘free’ world, seems only to have led to more atrocities, not less.
The coming together of the people of Paris, the people of France and the people of the world in defiance of fear and in favour of free speech and free art is truly heart-warming. That this then is being hijacked by world ‘leaders’ to sell us some more fear-mongering, tighter surveillance and more retarded rules to comply with when using public air transport is backward, infuriating and far more dangerous than any Islamic fundamentalism. Don’t be a sheep, don’t buy the ‘PR’ and know thy enemy.