News: The Charlie Hebdo Reading List

All the power, all the power in the world is stacked against the victims of empire, and inextricable from this is the lack of power to make their case in defense. […]

[…] Indeed, the mob’s society has been structured so that those views that are most unwelcome are heard only by individuals so few in number that their existence barely registers. Especially unwelcome views need not even be ignored: you need not ignore that which you have rendered undetectable. This is true not only of these recent murders, but of every matter of consequence. This is what the mob calls “freedom of speech.”

[…] When over 40 “world leaders” enthusiastically take part in an event of this kind, that fact alone establishes a single incontrovertible, irrefutable fact: whatever is happening, whatever views are being expressed,none of it is any threat whatsoever to power and authority.More specifically, it is no threat whatsoever to State power.No wonder all those world leaders were eager to take part: the largest demonstration “in modern French history” was nothing less than a glorification of State power.

We spend our time killing brown people and black people and Muslims in large numbers, using paramilitary weapons domestically, and military weapons and economic warfare internationally, killing far more of them than us, then act surprised when, deeply offended, they strike back.  (Yes, yes, this was a symbolic target and they really should have killed French politicians or military, but it’s not like we are discriminate (don’t even pretend we are.))  Somehow our outrage is valid, but we don’t grant them the right to theirs, including their vengeance.  We attacked Afghanistan and Iraq for 9/11, but bin Laden explicitly said that he attacked the US because of American killings of Muslims, including all those dead Iraqi children.

For Algeria remains the most painful wound within the body politic of the Republic – save, perhaps, for its continuing self-examination of Nazi occupation – and provides a fearful context for every act of Arab violence against France. The six-year Algerian war for independence, in which perhaps a million and a half Arab Muslims and many thousands of French men and women died, remains an unending and unresolved agony for both peoples. Just over half a century ago, it almost started a French civil war.

[…] The scars of the riots nine years ago are still fresh for many people, Muslims make up 60 to 70 percent of the prison population despite being less than 20 percent of the population overall, and France’s law against “religious symbols in public spaces” is specifically enforced to target Muslim women who choose to wear hijab—ironic considering we’re now touting Charlie Hebdo as a symbol of France’s staunch commitment to civil liberties.

You’re right, Arab and Muslim, it’s not the same thing. But you know what? Muslim and Muslim, it’s not the same thing either. Understand this: there are all sorts, rich and poor, big and small, friendly and rude, generous and greedy, wanting a better world, reactionary or even, yes, fundamentalist. On the other hand, in Charlie Hebdo, nothing resembles a Muslim more than another Muslim. Always represented as weak-minded, fanatical, terrorist, on the benefit. A Muslim woman? Always a poor dumb thing reducible to her headscarf, with no other social function than to arouse the libido of your comedians.

Speaking of which, we could say a lot about the sleazy aspect of your motivations. The euphoria with which Charlie Hebdo welcomed the topless activists of FEMEN suggests that the grease of Islamophobia blends perfectly with a splattering of testosterone. The ode of Bernard Maris to Amina Sboui, a Tunisian FEMEN-ist who posed topless on the Internet, offers a good example of the hormonal muck dripping off your pages: “Show your breasts, Amina, show your genitals to all those bearded retards who hang around on porno sites, to all the desert pigs who preach morality at home and pay for escorts in foreign palaces, and dream of seeing you stoned to death after raping you… Your nude body is of an absolute purity, compared to their jellabas and repugnant niqabs”. Paging Dr Freud…

It’s true, as Salman Rushdie says, that “Nobody has the right to not be offended.” You should not get to invoke the law to censor or shut down speech just because it insults you or strikes at your pet convictions. You certainly don’t get to kill because you heard something you don’t like. Yet, manhandled by these moments of mass outrage, this truism also morphs into a different kind of claim: That nobody has the right to be offended at all.

These ‘staunch defenders’ of the free press are attending today’s solidarity rally in Paris


3) Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel, whose forced killed 7 journalists in Gaza last yr (second highest after Syria) 


10) The Attorney General of the US, where police in Ferguson have recently detained and assaulted WashPost reporters 


12) Sec-Gen of NATO, who are yet to be held to account for deliberately bombing and killing 16 Serbian journos in ’99

When confronted by such total rejection of the moral foundations upon which our cultural, social, and human consciousness rests, we dismiss it automatically and unthinkingly, ascribing it to evil, madness, and insanity. Our coping mechanism dare not deviate for a second in this regard. But what if such deeds are acts of rebellion against the evil, madness, and insanity of the status quo, matching evil with evil, madness with madness, and insanity with insanity? What if that?