After the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the magazine’s defenders were ridiculed as being ‘freedom of speech fundamentalists.’ The ‘semi-non-apologists’ of Coulibaly assumed the usual attitude:
Sure, it’s NOT THAT GREAT to kill someone merely for being a cartoonist… but… OMG, just look at that cartoon! I find that SO offensive!
Now, silence from the conspicuously enlightened Huggy-Downglance Brigade.
No-one dares to speak out, and blame the unnecessary offence and grievance the concert-goers in Paris caused to anyone (not least the ‘wrong kind of liberal’) who believes ‘freedom of speech demands accountability.’
O ye blessed and highminded ones! You have your ‘accountability’ now. Are you satisfied?
Time after time, whenever innocent people are massacred by political Islamists, the same noble hand-wringing…
They must have really done something to deserve this!
‘We’ must really have done something to deserve this!
Well, isn’t it interesting that anti-monarchists who are normally so keen to denounce the ‘royal we,’ the ‘dictator’s pronoun,’ can’t seem to make distinctions of guilt and innocence! So, let’s just pause for breath here, and think for just one little moment about how one might or might not explore the tired but sadly indispensable theme of ‘root causes.’
Do you criticise misguided or even pernicious foreign policies?
So do I.
Do you think that there are problems of economic opportunity, career mobility and prejudice that afflict Muslims in France/UK/USA?
So do I.
Do you think that the any foolish adventurism in Iraq is difficult to disassociate from a broader authoritarian and actually ‘illiberal’ culture of trying to save ‘the natives’ from themselves via various soft and hard power strategies?Yes, that’s right. I agree with you there… for once!
And needless to say, many people from across the whole centre left to centre right spectrum can easily agree with these points. This is not about ‘left and right’ or ‘moderate and extreme.’
But of course, that’s really not enough, is it! Because what I don’t agree with at all is the notion that, purely on account of inappropriate policy decisions or social inequality, it is justifiable to make the usual default, knee-jerk reaction…
By apportioning blame to innocent people.
Are ‘our’ foreign policies dissociable from the rise of ISIS? Of course not.
But it is one thing to apportion responsibility and even guilt. It is quite another to go overboard and pursue an endless self-lacerating quest for a cozy Motherland of morbidly orgasmic white liberal thigh-lashing.
(With or without the Gilead’s balm of Starbucks to assuage your gushy tears of thwarted metropolitan repentance!)
So, if you wish to discuss some of the ‘possible causes’ of the massacres this month, then just go ahead. Knock yourself out, in every way imaginable! But here’s the problem I alluded to at the beginning of this piece:
The people killed in November 2015 are no more or no less innocent than the people killed in January 2015.
Do you understand this? Is it really so hard to grasp?
Well I can tell you something now. While jihadists may find cartoons of Muhammad ‘offensive,’ they also find music offensive too. I mean, you may laugh at Bono. But he actually refer to the terrorist attacks (or as you will no doubt be inclined to call them, ‘armed militant attacks’) as being a ‘direct hit on music.’
And yes, he is absolutely correct about that. He couldn’t be more right!
(Although in fairness, don’t tell him I said that!)
But this direct hit on music was initiated by those who believe in some of the most bigoted, backward and obscurantist ideological figures in Islam. Forget the greats like the mystics and poets, such as Rumi or Ibn Arabi or al-Hallaj. Why don’t you have a butcher’s at the rather straight-laced Ibn Taymiyyah, forerunner of Ibn Wahhab of theocratic notoriety, who said:
Music is the alcohol of the soul.
I couldn’t agree more! But unlike him, I don’t think that is a bad thing at all. Yet sadly, the people who perpetrated the massacres in Paris did think it was a bad thing. As wicked, vile and depraved as it gets!
In fact, I really don’t know what they found more offensive; a cartoon of their prophet, or people standing around, dancing and singing and loving and having fun?
Well, that’s a pity.
Join us next time…
Hold on to your necks!