Thursday, January 8, 2015
Je Suis Charlie
“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” – Thomas Jefferson (1787)
Je Suis Charlie
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
January 8, 2015
It was not just a massacre at a French satirical periodical, but an overall assault on the freedom of speech, press, and the journalistic community as a whole – a community of which I have long been a member.
Ten members of the magazine Charlie Hebdo and two police officers were gunned down in a terrorist attack in the Paris area Wednesday, January 7 by gunmen shouting Allah Akbar while carrying out their planned slaughter. Additionally, there were 11 other people injured, four critically.
Barack Obama called the murders a “cowardly and evil attack on free expression,” but neglected, once again, to properly place blame where it belongs – squarely on the shoulders of radical Muslims who resort to violence, murder, and mayhem as a first option whenever they feel the need to curtail the rights of those with whom they disagree.
These methodical murderers are jihadists hell bent on violence due to their adherence to Sharia Law which they attempt to foist upon the communities which they have invaded, not just in recent years, but for the greater part of the last millennia and a half. These are patient, yet cowardly, terrorists with long memories. Knowing these Muslim extremists can’t obligate governments to shut down genres of communication, they resort to terrorist acts in an effort to intimidate the various newspapers, magazines, publishers, movie theaters, to self-censor. Without a free and open press, and under an opaque shield, these nihilistic thugs would succeed.
This was a “military style attack on innocent civilians. If it can happen in Paris, it can happen in Washington. [We are] still engaged in a war on terrorism,” said former United States Ambassador John Bolton.
“I’d rather die standing than live on my knees,” said Stephane Charbonnier, the publishing director of Charlie Hebdo, who did just that as one of the victims of the radical Muslim slaughter. The 47 year old was also an artist with the publication.
The other victims of the slaughter include Charlie Hebdo staffers:
Jean “Cabu” Cabut, 76, lead cartoonist;
Georges Wolinski, 80, artist and cartoonist since the 1960s;
Bernard “Tignous” Verlhac, 57, member of Cartoonists for Peace;
Bernard “Uncle Bernard” Maris, 68, economist and columnist;
Philippe Honore, 73, artist who drew the last tweeted cartoon by the magazine;
Mustapha Ourrad, copy editor;
Elsa Cayat, columnist and analyst;
Frederic Boisseau, building maintenance worker;
Michel Renaud, former journalist visiting the Charlie Hebdo offices.
Police officers Franck Brinsolaro, 49, and Ahmed Merabet, 42, were both murdered in the line of duty. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/11332671/Charlie-Hebdo-attack-The-12-victims-of-Paris-shooting.html)
Charlie Hebdo, as a satirical publication, often poked fun, mocked, and/or chided Christianity and Judaism, speech protected by law, without violent recriminations. In fact, more egregious attacks on those two faiths did not elicit terrorist attacks by Jews or Christians. Take for example the “Piss Christ,” a disgusting, completely offensive so-called work of art depicting a 1987 photograph of a crucifix immersed in the urine of the artist whose name will not be mentioned here. Or the many volumes and interpretations of the categorically false, anti-Semitic tome, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, first published in 1903, which detailed a Jewish conspiracy of global domination. Hitler and the Nazis used this text as valid even after it had been disproven as a fraud perpetrated against the Jewish people. Neither of these examples, each more deleterious than the cartoons that cost 12 Frenchmen their lives, drove Christians or Jews to violence.
French police are searching for two brothers Said Kouachi, 34 and Cherif Kouachi, 32, both French nationals who perpetrated the heinous slaughter. Hamyd Mourad, 18, is also being sought. They are allegedly attached to Iraqi and Yemeni al-Qaeda terror groups.
While blame will not be assigned to the victims, it will be charged to the French government for the continuing allowance of unfettered immigration of Muslims, many running amok demanding, and in some cases, establishing Sharia Law in “their” communities, unchecked by the host country. This is a pattern that has been allowed to perpetuate itself in Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Spain.
The behavior by these terrorists is typical, not atypical, yet the Obama administration has yet to refer once to radical Islam as the root cause or perpetrators of such continued acts of terror. Since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States destroying the World Trade Center, damaging the Pentagon, as well as causing a diverted plane to crash into a field in Shanksville, PA, Muslim extremists have managed to carry out over 80 known terror attacks around the world from Bali and China, to Moscow and Turkey, as well as India and Sweden.
October 12, 2002 Muslim extremists set off bombs in the tourist district of Kuta on Bali, murdering 202 people and injuring 240 more.
March 11, 2004 Muslim extremists detonate bombs on the Madrid commuter train system murdering 191 people and injuring 1,800 more.
July 7, 2005 Muslim extremists explode four suicide bombs on London Underground trains murdering 52 people and injuring 700 more.
July 11, 2006 Muslim extremists bomb trains in Mumbai, India murdering 209 people and injuring more than 700. There would be another eight such terrorist attacks on India during this time period following September 11, 2001.
November 5, 2009 a Muslim extremist goes on a terrorist shooting rampage at Fort Hood, TX murdering 13 people and injuring 33 more.
May 22, 2013 Muslim extremists murder British Army soldier Lee Rigby in broad daylight on London streets.
It is high time for the world as a whole to be on guard for Muslim extremists and for the Obama administration to call them for what they are – Muslim extremists committing wholesale terror against a cowering and weakening globe.
The answer to hate speech, and the slaughter of innocent journalists is certainly an act of hatred, is never less speech, but in fact more, much more speech. It is up to those of us who believe in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (1791) and other documents guaranteeing the freedom of expression such as the English Bill of Rights (1689), and the French Declaration of the Rights of Man (1789) to stand up, defend the rights of all people to enjoy the freedom of speech, expression, press, and religion. We must fight the ongoing threat to the availability of information on a global scale.
There is not just a war on terrorism, but on freedom of the press and free expression – each perpetrated by Muslim extremists. We must continue to fight for these freedoms by speaking out, writing editorials, ensuring books are published, movies are screened, and that churches and synagogues remain open, vibrant, voices of reason. To do otherwise is to surrender to evil and if our voices go silent, the world as we used to know it ceases to exist.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.