Je Suis Charlie

 

Je Suis Charlie! A Charlie Hebdo tribute image

 

Like many other people around the world I have been shocked by the events that have taken place in Paris over the last 24 hours with the presumed “terrorist” attack on the home of the French satirical news magazine Charlie Hebdo. In contemporary western Europe such awful occurrences remain the exception rather than the rule, perhaps explaining why they have so great an impact on domestic public opinion in the region (of course the dreadful corollary of that is found in the shameful apathy felt by many in Europe when confronted by equivalent events in those countries they believe are prone to such violence; especially when they occur through the agency of certain “Western powers”). While some criticisms can be levelled at the content and editorial policies of Charlie Hebdo, and its fondness for deliberately courting outrage, in general the publication presented a liberal, secularist and indeed atheist critique of modern France and the global community.

You will have no doubt read many articles and viewed many broadcasts justifiably praising the magazine over the last couple of days so I thought I’d link to two contrary opinions on Charlie Hebdo and the events in Rue Nicolas-Appert. One comes from the Irish-born author and Far Left activist Richard Seymour writing on the blog, Lenin’s Tomb (and for the Jacobin Magazine). The other comes from an anonymous French writer published by the Irish news and current affairs webzine Nós. Both are worth reading, even if one disagrees with their analyses or perhaps the appropriateness of expressing them at this time.

As a side-note, to our own exponents of resistance to foreign dominion over part of our island nation and people I would say this: Ireland will be liberated in its entirety through an intellectual struggle not an armed one. Power will grow in the first instance from the pages of a book, the typing of a keyboard, not the barrel of a gun. Speaking Irish, reading Irish, thinking Irish will do more to challenge and overthrow the existing status quo – north and south – than a dozen dead martyrs. Knowledge learned, knowledge shared, knowledge utilised will do more to destroy the north-eastern demi-colony and reunify our country than a hundred bombs. Freedom-fighters come in more guises than one. Revolutionaries are more than just citizen-soldiers. To be a Fenian is to be the revolution and that does not require the shedding of anyone’s blood. Let the staff and associates of Charlie Hebdo be the role-model for what can be achieved by a small few against great odds.

UPDATE: John Stewart below

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8 comments

  1. Just to make to make it known, I am not a fan of the extreme left, as, in my opinion, in their own way, they are much like the extreme right. Not a fan of Richard Seymour at all. But in this article he is (mostly) right. Unfortunately, as in all of these types of events, it will be the regular working man and his family that will suffer the consequences, as this will undoubtedly give the wrong people clout to do very much the wrong thing. The article in Nós, I think is actually quite good. I particularly like the closing, “I stand with everyone suffering after (because of) yesterday’s attack, but I am not Charlie. I would rather live in a society with better judgement.” It not only addresses the occasionally highly offensive and provocative publications by the magazine, but also the senseless act of violence along with the most likely eminent knee-jerk reaction backlash to follow.

    1. Ar an sliabh, I’m broadly centre-left myself so Marxist politics are not my own (or at least certain aspects of them; I find the older I get the more left-wing I get. Which is odd!). Of the two arguments I preferred the Nós one. It seemed to display more empathy to me. Just thought it would be interesting to make readers of ASF aware of some contrary views at a time of such praise for the magazine and what it stood for (or was thought to stand for).

      The CLR has an excellent (if acrimonious) discussion on this here.

      1. It’s not just you who is getting more left-wing with age. I too am left -center (no secret there, really) when it comes to the humanity of things. I liked the Nós article as it addressed the situation it its totality, and also because I liked the style of writing.

      2. May have said this before: Would strongly recommend “The Sword of the Prophet” by Serge Trifcovic. Buy a copy. Then buy ten more and give them to your friends: then tell them to buy ten each for theirs.

    1. Another good article on the subject, GRMA. It does express a very romantic view in my opinion. I think there is too much hate and mistrust, especially in France at this point, where a simple courtesy like “good morning” will break down some of the ice. Both sides of this equation should be making a tremendous effort in organising their constituencies and meeting publicly to find a solution. This mess is about to blow up.

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