What Did France Expect?

Paris killings wrong, but inevitable due to France’s militarism

Following the killing of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, nearly 4 million people marched in anti-terrorism rallies in France, making it the largest action in the country’s history.

Too bad those people haven’t been protesting France’s recent military ventures. Maybe then the attacks in Paris would have never happened.

Je suis un fauteur de guerre (I am a war monger)

France has a reputation of being an intellectual people. If this were indeed true then the French would understand that the attacks were probably a result of their country’s militarism, not because of an assault on press freedoms. Ironically the people of France now sound like George W. Bush who claimed the attacks on 9/11 were because al-Qaeda hated so-called American freedom.

Since 2011, France has been militarily involved in four countries – three of which have a predominantly Muslim population:

This means France is killing Muslims. Do the French not see how this could be perceived as a war on Islam, particularly given France’s long history of colonialism? When people believe a war is being waged on them, some will fight back using any available method. It doesn’t make it right, it’s just inevitable as some people will fight back when they are attacked.

Je suis naïve

And when you add in the fact that France has taken part in training and equipping "moderate" Muslims to overthrow leaders such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, it’s naïve of the French to be surprised when there’s blowback. Former congressman Ron Paul said this week:

"The two Paris shooters had reportedly spent the summer in Syria fighting with the rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Assad… But France and the United States have spent nearly four years training and equipping foreign fighters to infiltrate Syria and overthrow Assad! In other words, when it comes to Syria, the two Paris killers were on “our” side."

"Beginning with Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US and its allies have deliberately radicalized Muslim fighters in the hopes they would strictly fight those they are told to fight," Paul continued. "We learned on 9/11 that sometimes they come back to fight us. The French learned the same thing last week. Will they make better decisions knowing the blowback from such risky foreign policy? It is unlikely because they refuse to consider blowback. They prefer to believe the fantasy that they attack us because they hate our freedoms, or that they cannot stand our free speech."

If people in France and the United States want to prevent acts of terrorism on their own soil, they should intelligently diagnose the root causes of such actions instead of listening to what their political leadership is shoving down their throats.

Je suis un hypocrite

Western powers and their allies have exploited the Paris killings to portray themselves as defenders of free speech and proponents of a free press.

But in the week since the attacks, France has detained 54 people across the country because of various speech-related offenses, including one man who was arrested for saying, “long live the Kalashnikov.”

And if Charlie Hebdo is such a bastion of free speech, why did it fire a writer for a satirical piece he wrote suggesting the son of former president Nicholas Sarkozy was converting to Judaism for financial reasons? And if France is such a big believer in freedom of the press, why did it put the writer on trial for "inciting racial hatred?"

In Germany and Belgium, you can be fined for insulting someone, and in the Netherlands it is illegal to "incite hatred." People from Britain to the US are regularly fined or arrested for wearing t-shirts bearing various phrases, including a US Marine who was arrested for wearing a jacket into the Supreme Court that said, "Occupy Everywhere" because it is illegal to have a sign (or wear clothing) with a message inside the Supreme Court building. Speaking to Democracy Now, investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill said:

"Every single one of those heads of state or representatives of governments [marching in Paris] have waged their own wars against journalists. You know, David Cameron ordered The Guardian to smash with a hammer the hard drives that stored the files of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Blasphemy is considered a crime in Ireland. You had multiple African and Arab leaders whose own countries right now have scores of journalists in prison. Benjamin Netanyahu’s government in Israel has targeted for killing numerous journalists who have reported on the Palestinian side, have kidnapped, abducted, jailed journalists.

"Yemen should have sent the Yemeni journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye [to the Paris march] as their representative. He, of course, was in prison for years on the direct orders of President Obama for having reported on secret US strikes in Yemen that killed scores of civilians. Then you have General Sisi, the dictator of Egypt, who apparently is showing his solidarity for press freedom by continuing to preside over the imprisonment of multiple Al Jazeera journalists whose only crime was doing actual journalism and scores of other Egyptian journalists that never get mentioned in the news media.

"Another thing that I think is really absent from a lot of the coverage of the aftermath of this horrific massacre is that France also is a surveillance state. And France has a very Islamophobic position toward their immigrant community, but also toward second- and third-generation Arabs or people from other Muslim countries who have settled inside of France. And there’s going to be an intense – intensification of an already overreaching surveillance system inside of France."

Je suis Syrienne

Killing people is wrong. Only in the case of extreme self-defense is killing ever potentially justified. The 17 people killed in France cannot be justified.

So when a US-led coalition airstrike killed at least 50 Syrian civilians late last month, it brings up the question: When the US and its allies (including France) “accidentally” kill 50 civilians in Syria why are there not millions of French in the streets as there were when 17 innocent people were intentionally killed in France?

If the people of France want to continue to receive sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo killings, they should not give a green light to any form of military response that their leaders, and other leaders from around the world are currently pushing for. They should instead reject hatred, anger and retribution and instead revert back to the sentiments they carried prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and reflect on the true causes of the tragedy at Charlie Hebdo.

13 thoughts on “What Did France Expect?”

  1. The mainstream media don't never report Al Jazeera journalists that have been abducted, jailed or murdered. They never talk about them defending free speech or journalism. The Charlie Hebdo cartoonists put themselves in that position by printing those cartoons. If they thought about the consequences of their actions, they would still be alive.

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