In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Duncan Harley shares his thoughts.
It rained in Paris last week. The average temperature was around 7°C with occasional sunshine.
The RER, Batobus and the Paris Metro ran much as usual. Tourists came and tourists went. The city went to work, and at the end of the day the citizens went home to eat, greet and prepare for work the next day.
Then of course the offices of Charlie Hebdo were assaulted, overnight the profession of satirist became dangerous and the citizens of Paris became frontline troops in a war involving terror.
There are those in the Muslim world who maintain that the attacks in France are a justified response to an assault on Islam. Fortunately those folk are in an extreme minority. Most condemn the assault on liberty.
The Paris murders are just that. Murders carried out by a bunch of criminally obsessive killers intent on self-imposed martyrdom.
In the long game they may have hoped to achieve something beyond notoriety, but in the short game all they have done is made a complete fool of Islam.
Unlike Christianity, Islam has no idols to view. The Prophet cannot be seen even in death. In a way of course, that makes complete sense given the sometimes awful images of a blond Christian Christ on the cross and a Caucasian Jesus in pristine cream robes fishing on the Lake of Galilee.
As for the virgin birth, well that is also a joke. Mary might well have been innocent of having sexual relations with God but, in the big scheme of things, someone impregnated her and anyone who says otherwise, to my mind, is simply a dreamer.
We in the West can write about the above without fear of assassination. At least we think we can.
So what happened in Paris?
The French have always taken care to exploit the folk in their colonies. Algeria features high on the list: used as cannon fodder in the 1939–1945 war, France’s colonial troops were used and abused by the colonial powers. The survivors were then deprived of military pension rights in the wake of Algerian independence. Many blame this old colonial attitude for the outrages of this week.
Moslems in France are second-class citizens. Underdogs deprived of respect, they feel marginalized and forgotten. In reality the French, in common with the citizens of many European countries, disrespect Jews, Eastern Europeans and on occasion even the English.
What happened in Paris is three-fold.
- Firstly, some disenfranchised dreamers looked inward and imagined that mass murder was a way forward.
- Some satirists died.
- A million folk met at the Place de la République.
No matter what your beliefs, the killing of the messenger is a poor political idea. If this is the true face of Islam, then God help us all. If this is an isolated incident borne of hate, then we must address the issues. Otherwise, we should respect our neighbours’ needs and beliefs.
The murder of the journalists and cartoonists from Charlie Hebdo has unleashed a black dog throughout Europe.
Let’s hope that the mongrel can be contained.
© Duncan Harley – All rights reserved.
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