Charlie Hebdo – an onion that needs to be peeled


We must look at the Charlie Hebdo incident as of two seemingly interconnected but in reality separate issues.

KTemoc Konsiders

Precisely because of this, I have to call what happened in Paris on Jan 7, 2015 as an ‘incident’ (and not yet a terrible tragedy), at least until we can separate the two issues and examine each carefully and objectively without being swept or stampeded mindlessly into emotional outpourings of sympathy and solidarity with the French language news weekly as we have seen in the recent ‘Je suis Charlie’ march involving millions of Europeans and their overseas supporters.

The two issues would be firstly, the massacre of 19 people in Paris (12 at Charlie Hebdo’s office) and secondly (and as I will show, separately) the claimed ‘freedom of expression’ by the magazine.

Let us deal with the sad part, that of the indiscriminate merciless killing of 19 people. Some people including Malaysiakini’s regular contributor, Royal Malaysian Navy’s retired commander S Thayaparan, chose to highlight what had stood out uniquely, that of the Islamist terrorists killing a Muslim police officer. Apart from the fact that Islamist militants had killed Muslims on so many occasions and in so many countries (eg Indonesia versus the Jemaah Islamiah) I find this identification of a victim’s religious affiliation or even ethnic grouping as regrettable.

Does the religion or race of the victims of such a senseless wanton murder matter, unless the aim had been to show that the Muslim murderers were ruthless, indiscriminate in their act of evil and undeserving of considerations in killing a fellow Muslim?

Talking about senseless, wanton murders where the murderers had been ruthless, indiscriminate in their act of evil and thus undeserving of considerations, let us look at another instance of multiple killings, in Gaza on Aug 19, 2014, when the Israeli authorities sent a F-16 fighter jet to launch a missile to extra-judicially kill Mohammed Deif in his house, but which instead murdered his 27-year-old wife Widad, seven-month-old son Ali and three-year-old daughter Sarah, plus three other residents in the building.

Je suis Widad? Je suis Ali? Je suis Sarah? Non? Pourquoi pas? No? Why not? And nauseatingly (if I may borrow Khairy Jamaluddin’s expression) we saw Benjamin Netanyahu marching alongside the French, German and other European leaders in the ‘Je suis Charlie’ rally.

Oppressor of the Palestinian people

For those who may not know, Netanyahu is the prime minister of Israel, the oppressor of the Palestinian people, ghettoising the Arabs in the world’s largest prison called Gaza, and also restricting them in another controlled enclave, the West Bank.

There must be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ when it comes to the absolute necessity for humanity to resoundingly condemn acts of evil, as had been the case at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, and indeed also in the case of the horrendous slaughter of Mohammed Deif’s family in Gaza on Aug 19 last year.

We should also re-examine the illegal boarding on the high sea of the MV Mavi Marmara, when Israeli commandos murdered several Turkish protesters, as well as the war crimes perpetuated in the Israeli Ops Cast Lead and the 2006 wanton bombings of Lebanon, both of which saw the frightful slaughters of women, children and babies.

And let us not forget the extra-judicial executions by the Unied States, through their killer drones of so-called ‘suspected’ terrorists, invariably with collateral murder of innocent civilian, nor of the unnecessary killings by the American-led coalition of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, including and especially civilians, women, babies, during the illegal attacks and invasion of Iraq without the sanction of the United Nations Security Council.

Non? Are we then going to be ‘Je suis Dunno’?

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