Friday, January 9, 2015

Jihadi Massacre in Paris, And Blowback

Events in France have progressed to the point that the two jihadi terrorists who precipitated the attack on the magazine Charlie Hebdo and the slaughter of its staff and others, along with another terrorist who shot two police, killing one, have been besieged in two separate locations, and all three have now subsequently been killed as both locations were taken down by police.  A female accomplice/paramour of the third jihadi is still at large.

Cherif & Said Kouachi, Amedy Coulibaly, Hayat Boumeddiene (Will Al Sharpton brush up his French for a Vie noirs ont de l'importance campaign?)

The three are dead, as well they should be.  The only unfortunate elements of this is that all three set up the final events to have themselves killed by the police, a typical suicide by cop scenario, so as to better prepare themselves to meet their Allah.  The two Kouachi brothers stormed out of their printing press redoubt as an homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  Amedy Coulibaly at the kosher market charged the police as they blasted their way in and was shot to death at the doorstep, with the hostages practically trampling his body as they fled. 

Otherwise, the French have lost an opportunity to capture and interrogate them for their intelligence value, but their deaths prevent a media Mumia-like circus by their defenders, along with claims bewailing any sort of interrogation as 'torture'.  But capturing them alive would be a supreme luxury – any operation of this sort must first be concerned with immediately eliminating the threat, so the survival of the terrorists would have been a matter of sheer luck. 

The precipitating event in the murderous minds of the terrorists was the 'disrespect' of the editors of Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly), which can be characterized as a French left-wing satirical rag.  Note that the term "left wing" as applied to France carries with it a special flavor, in a country where even Jacques Chirac is classified as a conservative.  Beyond satire, its content is typically grossier, and it would be charitable to describe it as tasteless, but that is the style of politics in France. 

The proper response to such criticism is more criticism though.  No matter how provoked, slaughter is not the answer, but the editors at Charlie knew full well that they were targeted by real threats.  After their offices were firebombed in 2011, Stéphane Charbonnier received predictable remarks that the magazine should tone down its profane depictions of Mohammed (though its equal-opportunity digs at Christianity, Judaism, and political figures in general went unmentioned), but 'Charb' replied that he would rather stand on his feet than live on his knees.  I can only imagine that he stood to meet his attackers when they called out his name and shot him. 

This whole Mohammed cartoon retribution mess started with the publication of a variety of such pieces by the Danish Jyllands-Posten in 2005.  The paper was more than weary with hearing the dictates of how they should politely and politically characterize the radical Islamic enemy, and called for a contest in how to portray the Prophet in political cartoons in the same way that Western figures would be lampooned to make a point.  (Here in America, for example, the Sophisticati media will "bravely" publish renditions of Piss Christ and the Virgin Mary smeared with dung, but their portfolios are strangely – and cowardly – devoid of any mention of Islam.)

The Middle East exploded as a result, since there exists a pseudo-religious ban on depicting Mohammed at all, in any context.  (The Qur'an, however, only bans the concept of idolatry, and the specific proscription against drawing Mohammed is a later development.)  This was one of the reasons that drew Denmark into providing troops for Afghanistan, who by all accounts acquitted themselves quite well. 

The next year, Charlie Hebdo re-printed the cartoons to note the continued bloody angst of the jihadis, and the magazine was predictably taken to court with the accusation of committing a hate crime.  The editors were acquitted, and went on to add some of their own versions over the last few years.  This was done knowing full well that death threats would come their way because they refused to knuckle under to the PC overseers and published calls for death by AQAP. 

Political cartoonists have responded to this massacre by firing up more cartoons of their own.  I have no such talent, but I agree that flooding the market with such defiance in the face of terrorists is the right thing to do.

Two of my favorite from the Danish publication is the now famous portrait of Mohammed with a bomb for a turban, reflecting the murderous intent of the radicals and a side comment on the theocratic Iranian dictatorship trying to acquire nuclear weapons.

This other is a funny technicality of the hiding of the visage of Mohammed in contrast to the denigration of women in the greater part of the culture.

Another critic drew this distinction: [clickify to embiggen]

The main cartoon that Charlie Hebdo provided that drove home the concept of modern radical Islamism, or Islamic Supremacism as I prefer to think of it, is this rendering with the title of "Mohammed overwhelmed by fundamentalists" with him saying "It's hard to be loved by jerks". (Note that cons can be translated in other ways, but we'll just leave it at that.)

Go ahead, friends, copy and spread such and such like to the advantage of free speech, and feel free to provide your own.  Draw them out.  I would be absolutely fine with taking down the cons in the attempt.


  1. Easier to say and do when you're anonymous. Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, is one of the few identified bloggers who has dared to run the cartoons. Myself, I demur. I don't see the point. A thousand words are worth any cartoon. ;-) I expect Charb did not stand to die (he would rather die on his feet than live on his knees was the quote) but dove under his desk, discovering that a stream of 7.62 can penetrate any old desk, even a metal one.

  2. The nom de plume precedes the story, and exists for other reasons. I have also posted the same sentiment in more public settings (this isn't my only outlet).

    But point taken, though the whole argument is not the freedom to publish cartoons but rather the freedom to provide free discussion and criticism, with counter-arguments in kind instead of being gunned down in the process. The examples I printed actually have some editorial content as opposed to some of the off-the-chart chic shock that Charlie has been known for.

    The larger context is how to deal with the murderous fanaticism without rolling over and taking it. In that respect, Egypt's Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has recently done more in that regard than most of the West combined.

  3. The murders in the Kosher grocery seem to have done more than Charbo's death in fixing the problem like a pinned butterfly.

    1. That's certainly true in Israel - all of the victims were buried there rather than in France, practically a state funeral. Emigration for French Jews to Israel has quadrupled in the last few weeks.

      The jihadis are making the choice to target journalists, it seems. The beheadings in Syria, now the magazine in France - they know that the media will go into hyperdrive when it's one of their own.

  4. There's a few New York ones I'd almost pay to have taken. Almost.

    Meanwhile I decided I couldn't let you annonymice steal the show, so I finally put up some cartoons, from an 8-year-old one, which shows how long we've been hearing about the crazed Muzzies and their toonophobia:

  5. Starting to worry about you. Just tired of blogging, I hope.


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