[ Editor’s note: VT is practicing freedom of speech here. Whatever really happened, I do know this, Muslims that fought for an Israeli backed criminal organization were seen pretending to shoot people in videos where their weapons clearly were loaded with blanks. Our Paris bureau will be at the funeral and will make sure there are actually corpses there. Yes, we don’t trust anyone whatsoever.]
Olga Ravassi, PhD … for Veterans Today
In the aftermath of the tragic and extremely saddening Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris the world leaders have congregated in Paris, with a notable absence of the US leadership. There are more pressing and politically corrects issues to handle elsewhere I presume.
Many commentators and analysts have come forth with a well prepared and already established narratives and opinions. Certainly, based on the political ideology they subscribe to, the array of experts argue the reasons for the attack and its context continues to drive their polished and prepackaged agenda.
Some claim that the Muslims hate us for our freedoms and yet they flock to our free countries. Others suggest that if the Muslim immigrants cannot handle the rights, they should not enjoy the freedoms given. Some are continuing politically correct appeasement policies, in fear of tackling the deep and polarizing historical, religious and geopolitical issues, some scream blowback and others live in the isolated vacuum of the free speech debate. So let us look at few elements.
How free is the free speech, where is its boundary and who draws the line?
The media is a powerful tool of influence. It has the ability to drive a political agenda and sway the coveted public opinion regardless of the truth. In the past decades much of the mainstream journalistic integrity and decency has been left in a sewer, some very recently down the Sochi toilets that reporters were all so fascinated by.
Pen is a weapon almost just as mighty as an AK-47, it’s a matter of usage and responsibility. Did Charlie Hebdo cross the lines of poor taste, vulgarity, sensibility and morality? Absolutely! As a satirical magazine, that was mainly in its job description. It is also important to place it in the historical context of France, its deeply rooted blasphemy laws and the French Revolution.
Is it all worthy of a death sentence? The answer is categorically NO. For if we are to live in a world that upholds the true meaning of freedom and liberty, we ought to uphold the freedom of speech and expression as the shining light on that liberty path, precisely for the unpopular speech.
Even if I am offended by what Charlie had to say, and many times I was, I will defend their right of expression, because that will give me the freedom and justification to offend back just as hard. Or will it? The cartoonist’s tragic death gives me precisely the right to also say that I am not Charlie, which is ironically the point.
With their tragic and untimely death, Charlie Hebdo cartoonists pushed the additional boundary of expression confirming what Larry Flint once said: “free speech is absolute”. On the other hand a prominent catholic leader Bill Donohue argued that Charlie cartoonists provoked the attack, as they may have the legal right to insult something sacred, but they do not have a moral right. Is free speech a legality vs. morality issue?
Essentially, Charlie is and was an “equal opportunity discriminator” until it drew the line and fired one of its own for anti-Semitism. So Charlie has its boundaries as well, and rightfully so. We all have them. But they should not be regulated by any law, or prescribed by bureaucrats and political ideologues who drive the narrative through all media, including Charlie.
The boundary should strictly be driven by respect for all life, common human sensibility, decency and humility. For if our freedom does not come from our humility we may as well not be worthy or deserving of it.
Within the marketplace of ideas one should not literally kill, terrorize and massacre, no matter how good or bad the idea is, as someone’s offence is another’s free speech. Out of pure respect for human life I strongly condemn the attacks and raise my pen, but out of a sense of humility to others, I cannot be Charlie.
Why? Because Charlie has to venture out of the free speech debate into even harsher reality of a wider geopolitical realm.
In the post 9/11 world we have been told that we are at war with terror. The rules of war tend to change depending on who the enemy is. One thing I found particularly interesting, looking back at the US led NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999; NATO declared that the Serbian National Television was a legitimate military target, and in its bombing 16 journalists and technical staff lost their lives.
Ever since then we have been conditioned to accept the term “collateral damage”. So one must wonder, given that the same rules should apply, and we are technically at war, do we consider the victims of the Paris massacre and Charlie Hebdo “collateral damage”, and are journalists a fair game in a war?
In a global political context France continues to play a very significant role, as it historically always has. Unfortunately France has abandoned its sovereignty within the EU and NATO realm, and does not lead an independent political life, but is a mere follower in an Empire of Chaos.
Although, just the day before the attacks, President Hollande has called for lifting of the Russian sanctions as their arms deal goes forward, and for Palestinian statehood. Grave mistake according to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu. Also very interesting notion is that NATO leaders called on Russia as an ally, in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, which has been a point I often argued.
Existentially, we do have a common interest and share a common enemy, however, the bottom line for Russia and the West is not the same. Is there a covert message here for France, and a potential for a political shift we are left to see.
It could be an overture for something bigger and far more dangerous.
Recognizing that France as a NATO member has been involved in a meddling foreign policy operations in the Middle East and North Africa, so called blowback is something many experts have been warning about for many years. Former US Congressman and presidential candidate Dr. Ron Paul as well as former CIA operative Michael Scheuer, among others, have categorically spoken against foreign interventionism that directly leads to blowback.
Through the irresponsible and highly flawed foreign policy our leaders have created a jihadist Disneyland in the Middle East, midwifing, nurturing and financing a proxy army in the form of Al-Qaida and ISIS, used to destabilize the secular governments around the globe. The Paris attackers themselves came back from Syria where they fought against Bashar Al Assad, with the weapons provided most likely by France itself. They finally bit the hand that fed them, as often is the case.
Finally, it was to be expected that many commentators would start reevaluating Islam, rather than the flawed foreign policy. However, Islam does need to be reexamined, not in terms of faith of almost 1.8 billion followers, but as a radical political ideology far removed from reason, and way more vulnerable than other religions.
What is it about Islam and some of its followers that makes it a fertile ground for misinterpretation, radicalization, manipulation and violence? Some answers may be found in a book “Closing of the Muslim Mind: How Intellectual Suicide Created a Modern Islamic Crises” by Robert Reilly.
The Paris attackers claimed that they avenged the Prophet, but why would any prophet need avenging in this manner? Critics of Islam will say that violence is engraved in the Quran and the Islamic traditions, or Hadiths.
Truthfully, its 1400 year long history stands as a testament to much violence around the world according to Dr. Bill Warner and the Institute for Political Islam. Sadly, it is also that majority of the victims of the radical jihadists are Muslims themselves. Ironically, the very first victim of the Paris attack, the police officer, was a Muslim.
There is something to be said about Islam that has not gone through its timely evolutionary cycle, unlike the other monotheistic religions. Leaders of the Muslim world themselves are calling for a sort of a religious revolution. That was the case with the Egyptian President Sisi, who encouraged all Islamic leaders to reject radicalization.
A Bosnian imam was physically attacked and stabbed for speaking against radical teachings. But the radical terrorist in Paris are the same “freedom fighters” of Syria. The label just changes depending on who the target is. That again comes down to the deeply flawed foreign policy, where even our so called allies are silent in condemnation of the terror attacks.
According to intelligence data, quoted by a journalist and activist Brigitte Gabrielle, radical Islamist are around 15-25% of all Muslims around the world. That makes it roughly around 300 million people who are set on destroying the Western civilization. An impressive number.
Reza Aslan, a religious scholar has mentioned in a CNN interview that it would be encouraging to hear the leaders of Islamic countries, including Saudi Arabia and other allies of the West speaking against violence, terror and radicalism. But unfortunately, we should not hold our breath for that.
After 9/11 the whole world has been subjected to a massive global surveillance, but the direct byproduct of that is less safety and less freedom. Violence is rampant, and it happens so in the cities with very strict gun laws. Paris has even stricter gun laws than Chicago for instance, and we see how well that is working out for both Chicago and Paris. Criminals are armed to the teeth and no-go zones exist in major European cities such as Paris, ruled by Sharia Law.
A question on the status of Muslims in Europe and elsewhere outside of their native lands is existential and civilizational clash. Europeans have no identity as of late, and instead of assimilating its immigrants and offering them its cherished traditions, culture and history, jobs and prosperity, they have been living in the globalist, multicultural, politically correct la-la land project, offering us bearded women and nonsensical social engineering as a cultural and civilizational norm.
They have lost a sense of who they are, and therefore they have nothing to defend. Now, I fear they will look for the lost identity through the dark pages of history, and all nations have a few. European problem is that they have been dragged into an unwanted war by the Empire of Chaos which is a self-serving and destructive beast.
Much blood has been spilled in its name globally. I am not Charlie today, but I am France, I am the massacred people of Nigeria, and the people of East Ukraine. I am Serbia, I am Israel and Palestine, I am Libya, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan. I am the world. Are you?
Olga Ravassi, PhD