1. The attack on Charlie Hebdo was not an attack on Islamophobia.
2. Charile Hebdo was/is a force against Islamophobia. It is easy to find many examples. Take for instance the cover showing a man (looking very like the artist Charb himself) kissing a Muslim man picture - a drooling wet kiss - with the caption "Love is stronger than Hate". Its slogan (actually HaraKiri) was 'un journal bête et méchant' (a stupid malicious magazine).
3. The attack on Charlie Hebdo was an attack again freedom of expression and an act of hate.
Did CH or its predecesors ever publish drawings that offended and provoked? Of course. It has a long history of publishing crudely sexist drawings, pornographic images of priests and and those identifiably christian, rabbis and caricatured images of Jews (i.e. racist), of the elderly made out to look disgusting and stupid (i.e. agist). Did it ever publish caricatured images of Arabs and/or those identifiably Muslim. Of course.
It's mockery knew no bounds, explicitly rejected those bounds. But it was and is clear that it was on the side of liberty and against racism - certainly on balance. It was almost uniformly against religion and authoritarianism and demagoguery of all sorts. I honor it for that.
4. The slogan "I am Charlie" is to identify oneself with freedom of expression and to be an enemy of hate.
5. On of the drawings above shown in its original form (and below that blurred out) shows a caricature of a Muslim man saying "100 lashes if you don't die of laughter". Yesterday there was an email (fund raiser of course) from Amnesty International which began:
It goes on to describe the horrifying flogging of Raif who crime was blogging, expression and who sentence is the flogging and 10 years of jail.
A donation is called for in the name of solidarity. I think reproduction of the words, the expression, would also be an admirable act of solidarity with Raif - however weak and ineffective.
In a similar spirit, the acts of saying "I am Charlie" and the act of REPRODUCING THE OFFENDING MATERIAL IS, AT THIS TIME, an act of solidarity to be praised.
If there is a time when it is good to reproduce offensive material, this is it.
two interesting commentaries (total 606 words including links and identification of authors)
Commentary by Mohammad Ayoub, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Michigan State University.
Why is it then that US Secretary of State John Kerry is so eager to push both parties into another set of negotiations that are highly likely to be not only unproductive but counterproductive, by fuelling Palestinian anger by their failure and thus bringing us a step closer to the inevitable third intifada? The answer is simple. The United States needs Israel and the Palestinian Authority to start negotiations for the sake of negotiations well before the UN General Assembly convenes in September so that it can be spared another major embarrassment on the issue of Palestinian statehood when the General Assembly convenes. If Kerry can demonstrate that an American-sponsored peace process is underway he can forestall criticism both of Israel and of the United States in the General Assembly for lack of progress toward Palestinian statehood. The primary reason for the Kerry initiative is to deflect international criticism of the United States for its failure to stop Israeli colonisation of the West Bank which is rendering Palestinian statehood impossible. It has become increasingly clear to seasoned observers of the Middle East that Washington's inability to make a dent in Israel's settlement policy is not only a question of the tail wagging the dog; it demonstrates that on the Palestine issue the dog and the tail have switched roles. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2013/07/2013728103426476823.html
Commentary by Col. Pat Lang, retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence … serving officer and then member of the Defense Senior Executive Service for many years. … trained and educated as a specialist in the Middle East by the U.S. Army and served in that region for many years. He was the first Professor of the Arabic Language at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) he was the “Defense Intelligence Officer for the Middle East, South Asia and Terrorism,”
A retired career ambassador with experience in the ME chided me recently for incessant pessimism. He specifically mentioned Kerry's current attack on this "windmill." I told him that it was understandable that policy people like him should insist on hoping that someday money would grow on trees or that there would be a chicken in every pot, but I also told him that as a long experienced intelligence person I was not inclined by habit to do other than describe present reality or probable futures.
IMO, the Natanyahu government does not intend to allow the creation of a Palestinian state that would have the attributes of an independent country, i.e., armed forces, borders that it controls, unfettered economic development, control of its own government finances, currency, contiguous territory free of the occupation of foreign (Israeli) troops, control of its own air space, and an independent foreign policy. Shall I continue? I do not blame the Israelis for this. They know what they are. This is a religio-nationalist settler state. They are less and less abashed about saying this. Michael Oren was very firm on television this week in insisting that Jews are an ethnic people, not a religious group and that the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish ethnic group. I applaud his honesty, but Israel remains a strange ally for the United States, a country in which the central government is suing Texas for supposedly seeking to favor one ethnic group over others.
What the Israelis are willing to "give," the Palestinians will not accept. That is what Israel expects. The Palestinians know this but have been strong-armed into the Washington circus.
John Kerry's heart's desire rests beyond his reach.