Charlie Hebdo: The sacred of the ‘wretched of the Earth’ and its desecration

Middle East
on 47 Comments

“We will have to put together the collabos’ dossiers, those of Charlie’s assassins. I will name them: they are the Indivisibles of Mrs Rokhaya Diallo who awarded the Y’a Bon Awards to Charlie Hebdo, I got it, Luc Ferry got it too, Christophe Barbier, many people, Finkielkraut, they are the Indigenous People of the Republic (PIR), there is the Nekfeu rapper who wanted to do a ‘burning by fire for these Charlie Hebdo sons of bitches,’ Guy Bedos, who we have known to be better inspired. It will require a systematic and historical report on all those who have ideologically justified the death of the twelve Charlie Hebdo journalists.” Pascal Bruckner, January 15, 2015 (28 minutes on Arte).

“What bothers us, it’s not to live with bodyguards and death threats,” it’s the other attacks, “from people who call you Islamophobic while you are anti-racist and you are fighting for freedom. The most painful are these pernicious attacks that can arm a Kalashnikov!” Caroline Fourest, January 8, 2015 (Special Envoy speaking on France 2).

I despise these people. I would almost agree that they have the right to be racist, if indeed they would assume it as does the National Front (FN). But they are too cowardly for that. I despise them because they love war and claim to love peace. They justify the West and its crimes and wear the mask of noble souls. They trample millions of corpses and lives pulverized through Civilization while they stage, lewd and obscene as they are, their feigned anger and overplayed grief. Objectively, they are the links of this infernal chain at the end of which are the Kouachi brothers. Do they know about their responsibility in the death of their fellow travelers? Regardless, they unsheathe. The culprits? The “Islamo-leftists”! I despise them because they are spineless. So small, you need a magnifying glass to see them. Irresponsible individuals already in the dustbin of history. Let’s move on.

I am over fourty years of age. During my whole indigenous life, I have never heard anyone insult our prophet. My whole life, I swear. It is neither prohibited nor taboo. This thought does not cross our minds. This thought does not exist, period. It is a relationship with the sacred that assembles the consent of more than one billion souls, including atheists, agnostics, and “free thinkers.” This happens even though a thousand contradictions traverse the Ummah and our divisions are innumerable.

Historically, we did not know this radical separation of church and State, as we did not know this type of distinction between the sacred and the profane, the public sphere and the private sphere, faith and reason [1]. It took the advent of Western capitalist modernity and its outrageous and arrogant narcissism to universalize historical processes (i.e., secularism, the Enlightenment, Cartesianism) that were geographically and historically located in Western Europe. This is a specificity that became universal through self-declaration and the power of arms and bayonets. As for other specificities that are not worthy enough to enter history, either they abdicate or they are barbarian. But it seems that, with the father figure of the prophet, French coloniality stumbled upon a bone. When Charlie Hebdo published the caricatures, some of which being racist and others obscene, I was shocked at first. I said to myself, “They will not spare us.” Racism in all its forms: contempt, paternalism, Orientalism. Discrimination in all its forms: railway sidings, police crimes, racial profiling, untimely death of our parents because of working conditions, criminalization of our struggles, clientelism, jail… Hogra (contempt) again and again. But then, a line was crossed. It was not mere insults or violence to a person. It was sacrilege.

At that moment, I thought of “Tintin and the Seven Crystal Balls.” Back from South America, one after the other, the seven members of an expedition devoted to the Incas are victims of a curse and plunged into a profound lethargy. During their excavations, the researchers desecrated the grave and defiled ancestral beliefs. The revenge of the Incas came soon after. That’s where the cold rationality of the Enlightenment leads us: to the fanaticism of market and capitalist reason. This is why, after the initial shock, what took precedent was not so much the shock but the fear. The Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR) immediately responded. [2] We wrote these lines that resound loudly in my head today:

“Many French people who do not necessarily share the political orientation of Charlie Hebdo will doubtless appreciate this charge against Islam in the name of a tradition rooted in anticlericalism that equates all religions to an archaism opposed to modernity and emancipation. This approach, which at particular times and circumstances could be justified, has been accompanied by growing hostility to the sacred, giving room to a meaningless and strictly instrumental rationality that is contemptuous of any form of transcendence. This mindset also leads to the stigmatization of some of the white working classes viewed with disdain for their commitment to their beliefs; stigmatization on the part of many, including political currents that claim to defend the most disadvantaged populations. The crisis is not only economic. It is also a cultural and spiritual crisis. On the eve of the presidential elections, those who would like their social transformation project to resonate should ponder this. As for us, we will continue to fight against Islamophobia and for the equal rights of Muslims and to defend the space of the sacred.”

I underline the last sentence because we were blamed for it at the time: “defend the space of the sacred.” Some of our white allies, all sincerely mobilized against the racist caricatures of the prophet, believed they were detecting a concession to a form of bigotry or even a form of demagoguery to please our supposed social base. Crass stupidity. It took an attack of terrifying determination, the brutal death of twenty people, to understand the materiality and political dimension of the defiled sacred. Not the sacred of the dominant—the flag, the national anthem (highly protected and only subject to one-way criticism within particular power relations)—but the sacred of the “wretched of the earth.”

It did not take a genius to guess that this system produces time bombs—and our friends knew it—but it had to be us to understand the gaping wound of our violated dignity. We know that we are nothing. People keep telling us. Our humanity is trampled; on it, everyone wipes his or her feet. One of the few figures which rehabilitates us and on which we project our positive and worthy “we” is that of the prophet. He allows us to go on standing on our own feet, as he is justice, righteousness and goodness. He is our positive reflection. What we see is the inverted mirror image of our tortured past, the history books, TF1, Marianne, Onfray, the CRIF or the UMP. Even our humor is turned against ourselves. Don’t we say: “the Arabs invented the zero and stayed in it?” When, first, we are killed socially (“you’re the scum who deserve the power hose”), and then we are finished symbolically (e.g., the caricatures of the prophet), believe me, you have to fear the worst. Yes, I was scared. Thus, the “jihadists” responded: “our lives are worth nothing but now yours are worth nothing as well. You eradicate us, we eradicate you.” This is the curse of the “scum.” Let’s move on.

Last September, a PIR activist, Aya Ramadan, was invited by the Communist Party of Bobigny on the occasion of the celebration of the Huma. The CP had not recovered from its defeat in local elections at the hands of the IDU. Aya had produced an analysis [3] that troubled certainties and she explained why many indigenous people had swung to the right. Not surprisingly, the debate was disappointing. The disconnect between the Left and les quartiers could only be explained, according to the Bobigny CP, as a form of ingratitude on the part of the youth. I then took the opportunity to speak, hammering the idea that the divorce was consumed and that people should note. I added this:

“We no longer trust you. Our confidence will only be restored when you decide once and for all that Muslims and suburb residents are part of your people. We will judge you after the next terrorist attack. It will certainly result in many deaths and will be committed by ‘Muslims’ or rather by French individuals overly integrated into the criminal and imperialist machine. It will be a test. We will know then if you have the courage to be on our side, the side of those millions of ‘Muslims’ who will be held hostage between terrorists and good republican consciousness. You will then be with us or against us.”

No prophecy in these words but simple lucidity. The Kouachi brothers and Amedi Koulibaly were preceded by Khaled Kelkal Mohamed Merah and Mehdi Nemmouche, all ‘Muslims,’ all indigenous people. The source of their murderous madness will only dry up when, on the outside, imperialist wars cease, and inside, racial divides disappear. On the 11th of January 2015, the Communist Party “was Charlie.” With national fervor, it communed with NATO, Israel, and leaders of liberal and imperialist Europe. “With our own words of order,” it apologetically added. But on the 11th of September 2001, the CP was already American. From the vote of full powers in 1956 [4] to the famous “we are all Americans” and to the “I am Charlie,” there is a family resemblance. Let’s move on.

Today, I hold a grudge against “our friends” who look at our finger when we show the moon, who mock our word when it is a warning. I hold a grudge against Charlie Hebdo for making all of us carry the heavy burden of its inconsistency. I blame them for having missed the essential part, probably the only thing that matters: we are human, not doormats. I blame them for having stripped satire of its meaning, for directing it against the oppressed (which is a form of sadism) instead of against power and the powerful (which is a form of resistance). “Charb led his editorial staff to death” [5]. These are not my words. They are those of Delfeil de Ton. I blame them for not having listened to these damn “Islamo-leftists.” I resent them for if they had heard us, perhaps we could have saved them from themselves, and maybe they would still be with us.

“Maybe,” because only God knows.

Translated by Geneviève Rail for the Decolonial Translation Group.

Notes

[1] “I like to recall, here, that in the spirit of Marx, the accomplished form of communism—and therefore human emancipation as he imagined it—involved the re-association of social bodies (economic, political, cultural…) separated as much as possible from Capital.” Sadri Khiari, Sainte Caroline contre Tariq Ramadan (St. Caroline against Tariq Ramadan), p. 69

[2] Charlie Hebdo appelle à voter Marine Le Pen (Charlie Hebdo asks for vote against Marine Le Pen), PIR

[3] Bobigny 2014: quand les Arabes et les Noirs font campagne pour la droite blanche (Bobigny 2014: When Arabs and Blacks campaign for the white Right), Aya Ramadan

[4] Déclaration du Bureau politique du Parti communiste français (Declaration of the French Communist Party’s Political Office), 27 April 1956

[5] Polémique dans la famille Charlie Hebdo (Controversy in Charlie Hebdo’s family), Ariane Chemin

About Houria Bouteldja

Houria Bouteldja is the founder and spokesperson of the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (indigenes-republique.fr). She has published numerous articles and participated in many international conferences, particularly on issues of Islamophobia, race, decoloniality and feminist issues.

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47 Responses

  1. pabelmont
    January 30, 2015, 11:33 am

    Thank you, Houria Bouteldja, for this heart-felt cry.

    There are many indigenous peoples, some more integrated into modernity and some less. We (moderns, industrialized) should listen to them all, for in a variety of ways they are telling us the same thing — that the way of modernity, colonialism, capitalism, industrialism, oligarchy-in-place-of-democracy, neoliberalism, EXTRACTIONALISM (of oil, gas, coal, gold, other metals; the cutting of forests, etc.) is against nature and part of the evil of modernity which brings on climate change (global arming) and many kinds of pollution (by industrialized, chemicalized farming) and over-human-population.

    I heartily recommend Naomi Kline’s terrific book “This Changes Everything” which has taught me this important lesson (where was I all this time?) and which nicely parallels the message above about the “wretched of the earth” (WOE). The WOE are almost the only people from whom the rest of us can learn, if we will but listen, about how mankind can live on earth without wrecking it.

    We should listen to the WOE because many of us are becoming WOE, the victims of modern forms of colonialism. (Think of fracking in your backyard.)

    The Charlie Hebdo blindness that allowed the cartoonists to think that it was perfectly fine to make light of the religious sensibilities of the WOE is like all other forms of colonialism: it begins by disregarding the WOE as people and their practices and knowledge (and Naomi Kline would add: their understanding of the earth and right-living upon it). The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists did not pause to reflect that we are all living as neighbors in this small world and should treat our neighbors kindly; no, they did not pause, because moderns (as a form of colonizers) think of ourselves as the only people that count.

    Today, many of us (moderns) are becoming WOE: think of the people losing their lands and drinking-waters to fracking, losing their jobs to “free-trade agreement”-facilitated off-shoring of jobs, of all of us losing our democracy to oligarchy (the rule by the very rich). It is possible that the new government of Greece will follow through and cancel a vastly destructive gold-mining operation planned by the old government which was (like the USA today) subservient to the demands of EXTRACTIVE industrialists and the soul-crushing demands (called “austerity”) of the greatest colonizers of them all, the bankers.

    It’s all interconnected and it’s all going down the tubes unless people get shaken up enough to fight back.

    • Donald
      January 30, 2015, 12:11 pm

      Good comment, but it’s Naomi Klein,not Kline.

    • just
      January 30, 2015, 5:46 pm

      “The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists did not pause to reflect that we are all living as neighbors in this small world and should treat our neighbors kindly; no, they did not pause, because moderns (as a form of colonizers) think of ourselves as the only people that count.”

      ooh, Pabelmont! +1!

      A thoroughly amazing and important article. Thank you so much, Houria Bouteldja and Geneviève Rail. Many thanks to MW for bringing it to light right here.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      January 31, 2015, 5:55 am

      I accept the need to be tactful and respectful of others’ sacredness and especially the sacredness of the oppressed and colonized. But can we also acknowledge that who is oppressed and colonized and who is oppressor and colonizer varies over space and time? Before the Spanish conquest the Incas were themselves colonizers, so were the Arabians at the time of Islam’s ascendancy. And even today the Christians of Pakistan, for example, are oppressed by supposedly Moslem rulers. Pakistani Christians punished on false charges of insulting the Prophet would be surprised to learn that this is not prohibited. What the author says is perfectly valid for the here and now of France or the US, but we shall never understand our situation if we remain wholly anchored in the here and now. People are inevitably influenced by what they know of other places and remember of other times.

      • tokyobk
        January 31, 2015, 9:03 am

        I think your comment is very well put and exactly right.

        I would add that Islam is a viable counter-identity for the former colonized precisely -because- it has also inspired and guided empires, not because it has been the oppositional identity of a perpetually weak minority.

        Placing every bad idea into the category “The West” and any potential liberation supposedly outside of it (geographically or philosophically) i think makes bad history and useless politics. Modernity can’t be undone, nor the global world, and its easy to say one thinks of all societies as coeval from an online forum or having flown to a conference where everyone is speaking English and French. Very few people will refuse novocaine at the dentists, even those who say they don’t believe in scientific or technological hierarchies, as the author does elsewhere. Moreover, “The West” is hardly just a European event and Europe is at the tail end of the important human achievements and civilizations. So, I don’t understand fully the reason it cannot be embraced by anyone including French of MENA heritage.

        Lastly, there seems a genuine fear on the progressive left for claiming universals. This is because of liberation conquest (they are savages so we must “liberate” them even if it means killing and enslaving them) and not wanting to support that in any way. But I am not sure racism, slavery, oppression, expulsion can be opposed without reference to universal principles.

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2015, 8:21 pm

        What a job of evasion you do, tokyobk. You move the goalposts every paragraph.

      • Mayhem
        February 2, 2015, 7:40 am

        @Mooser , it doesn’t matter where the goal posts might be as you always kick the man instead of the ball.

  2. khyungbird1890
    January 30, 2015, 12:43 pm

    Without going into the rest of the human rights content of the article, and while accepting Bouteldja’s right to her viewpoint and her experiences: to me as an atheist, the appeal to “the sacred” is a complete turn-off.

    Basically, as an atheist, there’s no way I’m going to be convinced by an argument which uses the word “sacrilege” or proposes creating or nurturing “sacredness” within society. This just comes off as a terrible idea. And when Westerners from an agnostic, atheist or ex-Christian background *do* decide to create a special space for the “sacred” for non-Western cultures, be it Islam or other religions, the motivation seems to almost always be primarily exoticism — the search for “magical” religious traditions which don’t seem as boring and outmoded as Western religious traditions.

    In short, this kind of religious appeal is a non-starter. Furthermore, to a Western fence-sitter, it only reinforces a damaging stereotypical impression of an essentialist gap between ‘Western’ and ‘non-Western’ mindsets, i.e.:

    “During my whole indigenous life, I have never heard anyone insult our prophet. My whole life, I swear. It is neither prohibited nor taboo. This thought does not cross our minds. This thought does not exist, period.”

    >_0 Honest to the author’s personal experience and feelings though they may be, these lines don’t do much to convince the agnostic/atheist Westerner of an essential sameness and shared human experience. And speaking of my own personal experience and feelings, what opened my bourgeois WASP eyes to the ravages of imperialism, colonialism and the reality of anti-Arab/Muslim prejudice was ONLY the revelatory discovery of Arab authors with a strictly agnostic class-based/anti-capitalist perspective… although those selfsame authors I admire may still think I’m being a total jerk with atheistsplaining statements like this one, but atheism and denial of the sacred is a line in the sand for me politically, thanks.

    • Mooser
      January 30, 2015, 5:45 pm

      :” to me as an atheist, the appeal to “the sacred” is a complete turn-off.”

      Would you be as willing to put up with the Muslim ideas about “the sacred” as we are to put up with Christian, and to some degree, maybe even Jewsh, ideas of “the sacred” every day?
      That’s really all she is asking, I think.

      • just
        January 30, 2015, 6:32 pm

        ;-)

        That’s it, Mooser.

      • philadelphialawyer
        January 31, 2015, 1:59 am

        Speaking for myself, this atheist is more than willing to “put up” with Muslim, Christian, Jewish and other ideas about “the sacred.” On the other hand, I have no desire to live under a regime that makes non violent criticism, or even mockery, of those ideas a crime, a tort, a violation of law, etc. I would also add that I have no desire to make mockery of atheism a crime, a tort, etc, either.

        The author states:

        “Historically, we did not know this radical separation of church and State, as we did not know this type of distinction between the sacred and the profane, the public sphere and the private sphere, faith and reason. It took the advent of Western capitalist modernity and its outrageous and arrogant narcissism to universalize historical processes (i.e., secularism, the Enlightenment, Cartesianism) that were geographically and historically located in Western Europe. This is a specificity that became universal through self-declaration and the power of arms and bayonets. But it seems that, with the father figure of the prophet, French coloniality stumbled upon a bone…..”

        and I agree.

        However, as poster OyVee00 points out, the actions at issue occurred in France, not in any colony of France.

        I understand that my “secularism, Enlightenment” etc values are not universal, and I have no desire to push them on folks outside the West. However, within the West itself, I actually do want them to hold sway. And I want them to hold sway against all comers, including not only the previously dominant Christian (or Judeo Christian) notion of certain “sacred spaces,” (and more recent nationalist/”patriotic” equivalents) that are off limits, but against Muslim and other non Western religions’ similar notions as well.

        Of course, to repeat what I have stated on these boards already, if you go around poking at people, sooner or later they are bound to react, law or no law, official policy or no official policy. And, when they do, that does not mean that the poking was a good thing, per se, even if it was legal. And, yes, the hypocrisy of folks who insist on their own, majoritarian sacred spaces, or the equivalent (as in no Holocaust denial…or no Armenian genocide denial or no Holdomor denial…or, in the USA, the more or less enforced notion that we must all “support the troops” or Israel, or mourn excessively over every dead cop, or indeed, in France, over Charlie himself) while spitting gleefully on the sacred spaces of Muslims, the Other, the downtrodden, the minority, the immigrants, etc. cannot be denied. But, in my view, the answer to that hypocrisy is that the national anthem, the flag, the crucifix, the Star of David, the Prophet, etc, whether revered by the elite, the establishment, the majority, or the wretched of the Earth, should ALL not be protected, and all should be equally open not only to criticism, but to contempt, mockery, etc, under law and policy.

        So, while I am NOT Charlie, and have nothing but contempt for those who, cheaply, inconsistently, and easily and unthinkingly, claim to be, I am not his murderer either. Nor do I hold any brief for his murderers. Blasphemers are NOT, in our Western society, to be put to death, no matter what they blaspheme. Not by the State, and not by the adherents of the religion (or other belief system) they blaspheme, either. The former would be a violation of their rights, and the latter is a crime.

    • michelle
      January 31, 2015, 2:17 am

      .
      why does it matter what religion/or lack of religion
      if the aim/goal is truth
      are we not all looking for the same answer
      let us hope that on the road to truth we can learn to be good/kind/respectful/just/….
      to every & all of our fellow travelers (and take care of the road for the future travelers)
      .
      G-d Bless
      .

    • Giles
      January 31, 2015, 4:17 pm

      I don’t understand how anyone can be an atheist. I can see how people who are raised from childhood to believe in a certain religion are largely trapped in that — tough to fight off or overcome indoctrination that begins well before we reach the age of reason.

      But — and here I am talking only about those folks not raised to be atheists – how can a person raised to believe unquestioningly in God switch to being certain there is no God?

      Shouldn’t we all just admit to ourselves that we really have no idea about the existence of a God?

      • oldgeezer
        January 31, 2015, 4:35 pm

        If you are uncertain then isn’t religion reduced to a mere insurance policy? What is the value of your faith if you just aren’t sure.

        No I have no problem with being an atheist. When I see 10’s of thousands of children dying for lack of water and food. Children who are too young to have sinned I have no issues with turning my back. There are also far too many conflicts between science and religion. Religion has become a bendable concept.

        That these are tests is hogwash.

        And it is not that hard. I have always questioned everything I have been taught.

        Not a deep response on my part as I don’t intend it to be. This isn’t the place and I am not interested in converting others or justifying my lack of belief. Suffice it to say that of you don’t understand then that’s fine. Maybe someday you will figure it out.

      • philadelphialawyer
        January 31, 2015, 5:35 pm

        Not all atheists claim to be “certain” that there is no god.

        What is known as “weak atheism” holds only that there is no evidence of any god, and thus there is no reason to believe in one. “A-theism,” literally, a lack of belief in god. Which is not the same as strong atheism, which is more like your “certainty” example.

        Note that weak atheism is also different from the agnosticism you allude to. An agnostic says she is not sure about the existence of God, as you seem to do, and leaves it at that.

        But, for my money, there is no point in claiming that you are “not sure” about something that you see no evidence for. There is no evidence, for example, as, I believe it was, Bertrand Russell put it, that there is a teapot flying around in orbit between Mars and the Earth. That being the case, why would anyone say they are “not sure” if there is one there or not? There is no reason to think that there is, and so why hedge with the “not sure” business? Of course, there is some slight chance that there might be, so “certainty” does not come into it, but certainty is rare about anything.

        Finally, I fail to see why one’s childhood upbringing should be dispositive. My parents, whom I love, believe in a lot of things I don’t. And see lots of things differently than I do. They are not infallible (neither am I, of course).

      • Mooser
        January 31, 2015, 8:31 pm

        “What is the value of your faith if you just aren’t sure.”

        Exactly! If I die, and there is God, I am going to be really, really pissed! Very angry.

        Here I’ve been exercising my faith, developing my faith, using my faith, having my faith challenged, and it turns out there really is a God?
        Then believing in God is about like believing in my refrigerator, I mean, there the goddam thing is, whether I believe in it or not. There’s more to God than a refrigerator. And there’s more to my faith than just believing in something I can bang my head against.
        Now believing in something that isn’t there, that takes faith, baby.

        I hope God doesn’t see fit to completely invalidate my faith in him, by actually existing. Is that something He would do, or is He kind? Guess I’ll find out, when I “grab my hat, and take that ride!” Goin’ home on the morning train!

      • RoHa
        February 1, 2015, 12:44 am

        “But — and here I am talking only about those folks not raised to be atheists – how can a person raised to believe unquestioningly in God switch to being certain there is no God?

        Shouldn’t we all just admit to ourselves that we really have no idea about the existence of a God?”

        First we have to decide what we mean by “God”. If we take it as “a disembodied person, with a conscious mind , who is creator and sustainer of all and perfect in every respect” (the common idea in the monotheistic religions) then there is no good reason to believe in such a thing.

        None of the standard arguments are sound. (Though I rather wish that the Ontological Argument was sound. In a paper published in a philosophical journal I argued that it would imply (if sound) either an all-embracing pantheism or a virtually infinite number of Gods!)

        There are some arguments to the effect that the standard concept of God is actually self-contradictory.

        So, as Philadelphia lawyer says, there is little point in saying anything more than that God might (if those arguments fail) be a bare logical possibility.

        And such a position is not, in any real sense, different from atheism.

        So a person who has been raised to believe in God can, by use of intellect, come to the conclusion that there is no such thing.

  3. OyVey00
    January 30, 2015, 1:40 pm

    Indigenous? Wut?

    The indigenous people of France would be the French, but since this woman is blabbering about Islam and colonialism that can’t be it. Maybe it’s just a lost in translation issue, but I think it’s kinda funny nonetheless.

    • Laurent Weppe
      January 31, 2015, 7:28 am

      Indigenes was the name given to populations conquered by the french colonial empire who were not granted citizenship and therefore were serfs in all but name.

      The postulate behind the Indigenes of the Republic is that the immigrants and their descendants, who most often comes from former french colonies, are still viewed by France’s Power that Be and a sizable chunk of its population as “Indigenes“: that is, serfs who should know their submissive place and be crushed into obedience if they reject the old colonial hierarchy.

    • bintbiba
      January 31, 2015, 5:33 pm

      @ oldgeezer .

      I’m with you on that… and agree this is not the place . Some things are unfathomable and really this isn’t the place to go into this. I too am an ‘old geezer (ette) > It’s taken a whole lifetime of coming to this conclusion. It is what it is ! If we are wrong. then ….so what ?!!!

      • bintbiba
        January 31, 2015, 5:58 pm

        …and besides , heaven and hell are really in the Here and Now , Don’t you think?

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2015, 8:43 pm

        They are. And there is so much we can’t explain. Like the jinns of Palestine who have ruined the dreams of Herzl. The bots could bulldoze the villages but nobody fucks with the jinns. Lieberman is jinni work. How they must be laughing, underneath the concrete.

  4. Walid
    January 30, 2015, 3:43 pm

    Houria’s pain is very real and it predates the Charlie Hebdo obscenities but her choosing to elaborate it by linking it to the Charlie Hebdo trash only added to the ongoing clutter about the root of the problem the indigenous are experiencing. Her description of where the home-grown Kouachis, Koulibaly, Merah and Nemmouche were coming from was right on target until she started with her disatisfaction about the CP and then wrapped the whole into the grudge she carries for Charlie Hebdo. Each of Houria’s 3 messages is very important on its own, shouldn’t have been blended into a single one.

    I’m sure she has a lot more to say about “the source of the murderous madness drying up only when on the outside, imperialist wars cease, and inside, racial divides disappear.”

  5. seafoid
    January 31, 2015, 11:45 am

    Islam replaced the soviet union as the enemy of the west after 1991. It is all a circus. A murderous circus.

    • just
      January 31, 2015, 12:03 pm

      Why does the west always have to have enemies?

      Some “shining city on a hill”. Go get ’em, 1% and MIC and the pols that make this happen to millions of innocents.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2015, 1:53 pm

        For the US it has to be political economy. Dept of Defense spending 91 was 295bn now c 700bn.
        Like israel. Big armies need wars. Efficiencies like peace mean cuts. Lockheed martin, raytheon etc provide jobs and lobby money.
        911 was feedback/system logic
        So is ISIS.

  6. piotr
    January 31, 2015, 11:51 am

    Charlie Hebdo committed a number of “obscenties”, and one of them was this cover
    http://electronicintifada.net/sites/electronicintifada.net/files/styles/large/public/charlie-hebdo-le-coran-cest-de-la-merde.jpg?itok=eWGrTGsM
    It is a jolly laughter after supporters of a president deposed by a coup were massacred by fascist junta. If you laugh at massacres, it really decreases my compassion when you are on a receiving end.

    There is also a question why one should direct ridicule and derision at religion itself and religious symbols, rather than at political leaders and political movements? I cannot discern any worthy reasons for that.

    I am not a religious person, but the fact that I could invent jokes deriding various religions does not mean that I should ply such jokes. One should have other ambitions in life than being a brainless troll under a bridge insulting people passing by. And what Charlie Hebdo was doing was worse than that, insulting people “down there” to increase the group solidarity of those “up here”.

    • seafoid
      January 31, 2015, 11:59 am

      Charlie went too close to the bone. And look at the big picture. Saudi holds $750bn in US treasuries. While oil was high $500 bn a year recycled into western assets but janus like saudi also spent let’s say $50 bn a year exporting wahhabism and funding jihad in syria and iraq to destabilise Iran.

      So for each dollar invested in bonds say 10 cents spent on nihilism. How to model that ?

      • just
        January 31, 2015, 12:17 pm

        +1 seafoid.

        You always make me think.

        Hard.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2015, 12:42 pm

        Just
        Everyone with a pension fund should be asking questions. These motherfuckers are funded by everyone’s 401k

      • ritzl
        January 31, 2015, 3:42 pm

        Aye, seafoid. And flip it. With the US running up $Ts in debt, somebody has to buy those bonds. How can US policy meaningfully diverge from that of the people it is wholly dependent upon to buy that debt/underwrite our “small war” policy? Same with China.

        There’s a good article (I really like David Hearst, the author) at MEM about the house cleaning going on in KSA leadership. Salman seems to be heading toward a more coherent (i.e. non-destabilization) Saudi foreign policy in MENA.

        https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/articles/middle-east/16701-the-slaying-of-the-saudi-spider

        Coincidentally (or not) so are we.

        Meanwhile a propaganda campaign in the U.S. media was launched to rehabilitate the Syrian president Bashar Assad. On January 19 the NYT propagandist Anna Barnard pointed to a (yet hardly observable) shift in the U.S. position towards the Syria war.

        http://www.moonofalabama.org/2015/01/syria-is-gives-up-on-kobani-us-rehabilitates-assad-.html

        It’s also, as I understand you to imply, hard figure out who Saudi over-production is helping or hurting. Low prices hurt Iran, but they also hurt ISIS and the export of Wahabism (and, apparently, the DJIA. Go figure.) Intersting stuff.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2015, 4:02 pm

        Ritzl
        Saudi spent $130 bn on panic measures buying loyalty post 911. The sooner the parasites go the better. I think that regime is even less likely to make it than zionism. The 2 evil dwarfs of US mideast policy.
        American dependence on oil and infiltration by zionist money have led to the thriving of 2 sick polities that th most people in the region despise. .

      • Walid
        January 31, 2015, 5:33 pm

        “Salman seems to be heading toward a more coherent (i.e. non-destabilization) Saudi foreign policy in MENA. ” (ritzl)

        Saudia is not changing directions but simply changing management. Hearst is being dramatic calling the changeover a “palace coup”. The king is dead, long live the new king and as with all new kings, he came in and brought with him his own management team. You will continue seeing beheadings and you will continue seeing that women are not allowed to drive cars and the Shia in the eastern province will continue getting clobbered..

        As to the new relationship being developed towards Syria, this is nothing new and the hot and cold feelings between the US and Syria have gone on for the past 70 years. Now Syria is being slowly let out of the dog house. You have to take what you read on the Moonies’ blog with a grain of salt since it has been openly pro-Syrian regime from the start of the conflict and doesn’t believe that the regime can do any wrong. More credit than was due than was given to US air support for having kicked ISIS out of Kobane. Most of the work beating ISIS there was done by the Kurdish men and women fighters of the resistance. The biggest help the US probably gave the Kurds was to stop dropping supplies and arms to ISIS from the air. The US can’t be efficiently fighting ISIS in northern Syria while Israel is helping ISIS’ associates, the Nusra people concentrated on the Syria-Israel border and on the Syria-Lebanon border. Hizbullah reported that Nusra has 2000 fighters with heavy arms such as tanks, canon, missiles on the Syria-Israel border and Israel isn’t at all bothered by their presence there but in fact providing them with medical, logistical and air-cover support.

      • ritzl
        January 31, 2015, 6:02 pm

        seafoid,

        “… The 2 evil dwarfs of US mideast policy. …”

        Zing. Bullseye!

        PS. Maybe it’s just me, but the dynamics of this issue, and all these kind of peripherals, seem to be crystallizing. The articles and you all’s comments here over the past few months have really been great. They seem to be narrowing to cover actionable/changeable driving thought and creating enough movement in that thought/CW/narrative to enable more focus, a larger receptive audience/deglazed eyes (ntm, rerecognizably shriller counter-arguments), and moree oomph to the arguments for justice.

        It’s a very positive, self-reinforcing cycle.

        Shorter version: You’re noticeably cutting through the jungle of BS on this and it’s really heartening to see it happen.

        Cheers!

      • ritzl
        January 31, 2015, 6:28 pm

        Hi Walid. I agree generally and probably overstated where these developments lie on the historical continuum you lay out. Thanks for the context and correction.

        I think, though, that we’re currently at an inflection point within that history. We seem to be shifting from total incoherence toward semi incoherence in short-term regional policy. The Hearst article laid out some of the why of that [nascent?] shift. Maybe what’s going on in KSA means nothing, but I felt there were some tangible differences described in it wrt to KSA FP and how it might intersect with our own.

        They’re still a nasty piece of work in the ways you mention, and so many more.

        PS. I didn’t know MEM is a Moonie outlet. Thanks for the heads-up.

      • seafoid
        January 31, 2015, 8:30 pm

        Walid,

        Is salman not suffering from dementia ? Read it somewhere.

        Power will only change when it has to in the face of equal power. That is why saudi and israel keep the slow suicide iterations going. They can’t see the collapse ahead and are doped out on their regime myths. Nobody in power in the region thinks they are the mamluks. Neither did the mamluks. h

  7. bintbiba
    January 31, 2015, 12:48 pm

    Seafoid

    You make my head hurt …. I realise how l little i know of what you speak !!

    …Must make more of an effort to keep up with all you guys…..and i’m loving it !!

    • Annie Robbins
      January 31, 2015, 1:18 pm

      always wonderful to see you here bintbiba ~ hugs

      • bintbiba
        January 31, 2015, 2:02 pm

        Big hugs back , annie.

      • Walid
        January 31, 2015, 2:10 pm

        Hi bintbiba, please say something about Biba.

  8. bintbiba
    January 31, 2015, 2:25 pm

    Walid Hi …. compañero !! You are amazing with your trove of information!

    Biba isn’t some fancy reference to clothes in the ’60s.

    My mother hated her name “Moheeba” (you can imagine ! ) and all her family and friends called her Biba. Do I need to translate and embarrass her . I venerate her as she was amazing, before her time and an inspiration to all of us.

    So now the secret is out . <3

    • Walid
      January 31, 2015, 3:36 pm

      Thanks, bintbiba, I had tried several names and couldn’t find the name that yielded Biba. She must have been amazing, like most Palestinians.

  9. Bill
    February 1, 2015, 3:25 am

    With all due respect, this piece is either horribly written and/or horribly translated. That said, assuming that I understood it, I would argue that the Charlie Hebdo people were assholes, but that does not justify shooting them.

    However, I am not sure that the author would agree with the latter position.

  10. almostvoid
    February 1, 2015, 3:37 am

    the west was desecrated after world war 1 which brought us Bolsheviks and Nazis. Now it is fundamentalist monotheistic semetic hatred. nice one. these people complain and rage but trying to be human seems beyond them

  11. Bornajoo
    February 1, 2015, 4:16 am

    “She must have been amazing, like most Palestinians”

    She must have been Walid, because her ‘bint’ (daughter) is also amazing.

    • bintbiba
      February 1, 2015, 7:15 am

      @ Walid & Bornajoo….
      Many thanks for the kind words !

      Not easy walking in the furrow of her who gave one life.
      But one has to accept the good fortune of having such good models for life. Applies to all of us,
      n’est ce pas , mes amis ?

      • just
        February 1, 2015, 9:01 am

        It surely does, bintbiba.

        ;-)

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