Friday, January 9, 2015


I think the cartoon that sparked this should be downloaded and displayed by millions of people all over the world as placards during marches and as window and bumper stickers.   Saturate the world with it.  

  That would be an appropriate action to combat this insanity.  

The Ol'Buzzard


  1. It's been an ordeal for everyone here...yesterday I was driving through a very rural village at noon when the minute of national silence occurred. Today, I had to take my wife to the big city (Perigueux) for a doctors appointment. We wondered what was going on as there was a police presence every where...Gendarmes and CRS parked by the side of the road observing. When we got home, we realized tht it was about the same time that the hostage drama was occurring. People in America make a big deal about the military aspect of the French police force, but the militarised aspect creates a much more disciplined and regulated force,. The criteria of professionalism and behaviour is much higher than any force in the USA.
    I wrote yesterday that I think that one of the biggest enablers of terrorism directed at soft targets is the cowardly attitude of politicians. The cautions of Chirac, Merkle, Jack Straw back in 2006 set the stage for the Charlie Hebdo Massacre. France has done a pretty good job of defusing terrorism in the last few years. One thing is apparent, there are no Lone Wolves and as the threads of the links of the Charlie Hebdo Massacre are unraveled. the threads go to Yemen...the inspiration for the gunmen was once a member of Saddam Hussein's Republican Guard who became a radical after the first Gulf War.
    The staff of Charlie Hebdo was composed of men with Dangerous Minds! But they were a threat to fundamentalists of all persuasions. Look at the reaction of Bill Donahue of the Catholic League in the USA! He said they brought it upon themselves because of their proclivity for basphemy. Every one was a target for Charlie Hebdo. There is no other politcal and socially satirical publication like it in the world. Interestingly enough, the editor, Charb's companion is an Algerian woman intellectual who was actually a minister in Jacques Chirac's government. The cover of Charlie Hebdo released the morning of the massacre ridiculed Michel Houllebecq, the best selling selling author whose latest book , Submission is a fantasy about France in 2021 with a scenario with a Muslim elected president. Nobody was safe from their satire and these guys are heros! There will be a new issue out next Wednesday. The show must go on!

  2. Juan Cole had an interesting column in which he makes a good case of this attack being a classic example of the techniques the Bolsheviks used 100 years ago -- the goal is to sharpen the divisions between Muslims and non-Muslims and radicalize French Muslims who in general are among some of the most secular and least religious in the world.

  3. Nan, I have many Muslim and Middle eastern friends. Religion was never an issue. I think France is in a difficult position as far as the implementation of the concept of a totally laic state goes. Religions cannot own property. The outward manifestations of religious belief is forbidden. The banning of burkhas in public and scarves as head covering in schools radicalised a lot of girls who would have never considered themselves religious but emphasised the rebellion aspect of the act.
    I agree with Cole about the tactical meaning of violent attacks against soft targets like school kids or journalist or the public in general. It's not like France hasn't been through this before...the synagogue bombing in Paris in the 80's was pretty horrific, but we have to hope and believe in the intellectual maturity of this country to not give into repressive counter measures. It's getting harder with the creeping influence of the tactics of the American conservative press...and the rise of the far right political parties here in Europe. Tomorrows rally in Paris should be very interesting.

  4. Really, the only violent religious conflict I have ever seen here involved to Moroccan sisters in law and I might someday relate the tale of the Cous Cous Wars!

  5. This has me totally confused. Not the murders, but the responses. As has been pointed out, this publication would not have lasted 10 minutes in USA before being shut down as a purveyor of hate. We are all in favour of free speech as long as it is Muslim bashing. The old canard "they hate our freedoms" has of course been trotted out. Bullshit. What they hate is being powerless second class citizens...of the world.

    1. People sexually and socially frustrated by the iron grip of a seventh century religion have been kept from modernism. That is a problem.

      But, these acts are carried out in the name of religion - it is about religion - religion is the catalyst. It is not politically correct to debase someone's religion; but Bill Maher does it all the time - decrying Christianity, and the Christian world has not condemned him to death. Beheading, whippings, stoning... it is Sharia Law - I may not agree with publishing the cartoon, but anyone should have the right to do so without religious death squads enacting revenge.

  6. The cartoonist, Willem, who is actually Dutch, but draws for Charlie Hebdo and many other publications here stated in an interview yesterday that he was amazed at all the new friends that Charlie Hebdo had and most of them made him want to vomit. They worked hard at insulting everyone and did it better than anyone. Many times, I would pick up an issue and cringe, but I would rather be provoked than placated. There is no other publication like it in the world. It's the old French tradition of vicious satire that brought down the monarchy. The rest of the world should be afraid of Charlie Hebdo. They wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I saw a great cartoon of the staff in heaven and god cringing because they had already graffitied all the clouds with crude penis drawings.....

  7. btw, we just got back from the demonstration in Perigueux....not a big city, but there were 20,000 people! 250,000 in Bordeaux! 15,000 in Bergerac! You'll see pics of Paris on your news...we heard that there were more than 2 million people assembled. This is more than demonstrating for freedom of the press and mourning the victims...this is about freedom from fear! Just like as you say, Charlie Hebdo could not exist in America, this kind of national solidarity does not exist in America. The crowds were inclusive of every ethnic group. I'm sure most of the muslims in Perigueux were in that crowd today!


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."