… by Sami Jamil Jadallah
Hypocrisy was all over the front line leading the march in last Sunday’s big event in Paris. Bibi Netanyahu decision to push his way to the front line in Sunday’s march against terrorism was not only “Chutzpa” but also hypocrisy at its best.
The man who killed and murdered 17 journalists, killed 500 babies, killed over 1500 civilians should not be marching in Paris, but should be marching to jail for crimes he committed and continues to commit in Palestine specifically in Gaza.
One should not have any objections if those leading the front line believed in Free Speech and practice it freely it at home. Most of the participants have little tolerance if any for free speech and dissent, with hardly any authorizations granted to citizens to assemble in public and demonstrate, or for free editorial that critical heads of state or government ministers or officials.
Many of those leaders are responsible for the jailing of dissident, those expressing their public opinions speaking up on issues such as human rights, corruption, failings, incompetency, lacks of transparency and mismanagement in their countries.
One must not be surprised that some of leaders in the front and second line represent the most repressive regimes in the world, governing without public mandate, without open free elections and some who made it a policy to loot the nation and the people’s wealth,
Hypocrisy has been the standard modes operandi at Charlie Hebdo, with the satirical magazine never an equal offender but targeted Islam and Muslims and Catholics for its headlines. Its decision to re-publish caricature of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) for its national and international edition this week with planned 3 millions copies, and distributions in some 20 countries is a an affirmations of its deliberate policy to offend the sensibility of Muslims who view the publications of any images of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) as a blasphemous acts offensive to hundreds of millions of Muslims.
If there is no room for Anti-Semitism, then there must be no room for Islamophobia. The French government announced a total crack down on “hate speech”, anti Semitism, glorifying terrorism, however excluding any mention of hate speech or attacks on Muslims, and Islamophobia.
Charlie Hebdo well known for offending Muslims and Christians for offending on some occasions Jews, but never known for offending Zionism, Israel, the Holocaust or its meanings to the millions of Jews around the world. It should treat all faiths and groups equally. Either it is committed to Free Speech or “insults” to all or it should not.
Charlie Hebdo never known for offending Bibi Netanyahu or the Israeli army as Israel waged its criminal war on the people of Gaza killing over 2,100 civilians and the destruction of some 20,000 homes, making homeless some 250,000 people, killing children and targeting journalists.
Charlie Hebdo never known for offending the sensibility of Israel and its leadership; political and military when this leadership targeted schools, hospitals, clinics, UN storage depot, nor did it publish any cartoon related to Israeli policies of home demolitions, arbitrary arrests and detentions, targeted assassinations and hardly ever published any cartoons depicting the criminal behaviors of Jewish settlers as they attack Palestinian villages, farms, water-wells, or burn or uproot centuries old olive trees and not known for publishing cartoons expressing the condemnations of these Jewish settlers as they attack and deface with racists slogans churches and mosques.
Of course all of us, are for free speech, but when free speech has “exceptions” and is “off limit” especially when it comes to Israel, Zionism and the Holocaust, then there is a problem. If Charlie Hebdo can make fun of God/G-d/Allah and the prophets, then certainly it can criticize Israel and Zionism. Free speech does not allow you to yell fire in a movie theatre.
Charlie Hebdo fired one of its journalist cartoonists in 2009 with Henry Simon reporting:
“ Maurice Sinet, 80, who works under the pen name Sine, faces charges of “inciting racial hatred” for a column he wrote last July in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo. The piece sparked a summer slanging match among the Parisian intelligentsia and ended in his dismissal from the magazine.
“L’affaire Sine” followed the engagement of Mr. Sarkozy, 22, to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress of an electronic goods chain. Commenting on an unfounded rumors that the president’s son planned to convert to Judaism, Sine quipped: “He’ll go a long way in life, that little lad.”
A high-profile political commentator slammed the column as linking prejudice about Jews and social success. Charlie Hebdo’s editor, Philippe Val, asked Sinet to apologies but he refused, exclaiming: “I’d rather cut my balls off.”
Somehow editors at Charlie Hebdo know well when they should shy away from hot issues, or stay away from topics that may offend part of the French society, with political, financial and legal clouts. Today, Charlie Hebdo issued over 3 million copies with the front page a caricature of the Prophet Mohamed ( PBUH) crying ” Je Suis Charlie”.
Yes, there are many good reasons for the Prophet Mohamed ( PBUH) to cry but not for Charlie. He cries for the tens of millions of Muslims who are living in poverty and wants, lacking food, health care, decent housing, decent living, social, political and religious oppression, lacking the rights of free speech, expression and assembly, cries for the hundreds of thousands who died at the hands of terrorist blowing up mosques and supermarket, schools and hospitals.
He cries for the millions of Muslims who are fighting each other because of “sectarian” conflicts and issues of some 1,400 years ago. He cries because of the ignorance and oppressions most Muslims live under. He cries because of groups like Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, Daesh have hijacked Islam killing and maiming and committing acts of destruction and atrocities in his name name.
He cries because of the present and dehumanizing status of most Muslims suffer around the world. He cries because stupid idiots and criminals , not scholars and learned people are speaking out in the name of Islam.
Whether here in the US or in Europe this “exception” to the rules of Free Speech always without failings applies to the Palestinians, Arabs even Muslims limiting their rights of discussions or debate the Arab-Israeli conflict. Professors have been dismissed for daring to speak out. Members of Congress were defeated and thrown out of office because they spoke out; university guests were dis-invited because some Zionist Jewish organizations on college campus complained.
University presidents always succumb to the powerful alumni organizations and rich donors. Free speech should be all or nothing, free to all irrespective of political views, ideology, religion, faith or lack of it, and it should be open to all racial and ethnic groups and not be the prerogative of the few and the powerful.
Robert Murdock the Israeli/Australian/British/American citizen, owner of News Corporation, and Fox News announced the other day that all Muslims are guilty as charge. He states “Maybe most Moslems [are] peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible,” Murdock takes the same views of the Nazis who deemed all Jews are held responsible fore the acts of the few.
None of us want any restrictions on free speech or censorship, and here at Veterans Today we are enjoying the benefits of free speech and First Amendment rights. However there must be no room for hate speech or designating one group for attacks because of faith or believe. However racist ideology and hate speech has no room and no place in any civilized discussion or public debate.
And of course most if not all enjoy a laugh or too when we see some very provocative, offensive and mind engaging caricature however there must be self imposed limits on any thing that has to do with the core values of people faith and religion, may be not practices, but core values.
In closing, I say shame on Mahmoud Abbas for attending the Paris march joining Netanyahu. Mr. Abbas found the time and the cause to go to Paris in support of the editors at Charlie Hebdo, but he never had the time and did not believe in the cause of the 2,100 Palestinian dead in Gaza, killed by his friend Bibi, Mahmoud Abbas want to celebrate the lights of Paris but not mourn the thousand dead in Gaza and mourn with them the loss of their loved one. Mahmoud Abbas chose to not visit Gaza after Israel attacked Gaza in 2009.
Sami, a Palestinian-American and a US Army Veteran (66-68), recipient of the “soldier of the month award and leadership award from the 6th Army NCO Academy, is an international legal and business consultant with over 40 years of international experience, in construction, hospitality services, conservation, and defense, in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Sami is a holder of BA, MPA in Public and Environmental Affairs, Jurist Doctor from Indiana University. While at IU he was elected class president, student government president and chairman of the Indiana Students Association,
Active in peace movement as a co-author of the pre-amble for the One State for All of its people and voluntary service program SalamNation. A frequent contributor on national and international affairs. He resides in the United States.