Freedom and all of its tendrils of personal expression is certainly worth defending. Many years ago I served as a soldier to preserve those liberties we cherish. Since then my perception of freedom has changed with my core values.
The course of our lives is determined mostly by our perceptions, judgments and decisions that lead to a series of actions and consequences based on what we hold to be true. What really makes us who we are and where we go in life, both as individuals and collectively as a nation, is manifest in our personal values and core beliefs that are the basis of how we think.
The ruthless carnage at the Charlie Hedbo publishing facility in Paris was undeniably barbaric and tragic on every level. Many see this as a trend of disenfranchised, antisocial misfits with no identity. We, the freedom lovers, paint them as narcissistic sociopathic orphans lacking empathy, and certainly there is some truth in the one sided approach. In one sense alone, there is no rational justification for the horrific slaughter of passive individuals, despite their own lack of empathy.
The Western media establishment has sucked up to the popular view that French expressionism is a sort of avantgarde of modern satire. Anyone raised in the west wouldn’t blush at the sight of crude humor featuring racial and cultural stereotypes. We also know that this sort of thing appeals to a particular egocentric element in our midst.
Those familiar with the National Lampoon series or the satirical stereotypes of The Simpsons or South Park will find nothing unusual about the Hedbo illustrations. And certainly, at least on one level, this is all taken in jest by the western world.
On another level, and knowing what I know about the French, there is that noxious social air of licentious French arrogance and cultural intolerance, which in its outward expressions sadly do not reflect the greater human dignities or intellect from which modern democracy sprang. In some ways France has been diminished in the very foundation of liberty it so ardently defended in WWII.
The current clash of west and east have increased considerably on French soil since it outlawed religious face coverings in public in 2010. For thousands of years the veil was an outward “expression” of female preservation and her divine unity with monogamy, sexual purity, a concept that many in French society apparently found offensively unworthy of moral sophistication. The Hedbo cartoons and caricatures promoting anti-Semitic stereotypes (IE. all Arab Muslims are of Semitic origin) have been typically viewed by the non-Islamic French as satirical humor in the rites of freedom.
On the other hand, morality based religious expressions communicating “family values” have been met with social outrage. This conflict of cultures began its short climax after the fall of 2010 when the government adopted a bill making religious face coverings in public a crime. This has has led to police harassment of veiled women in the streets of Paris, court fines and detentions.
In the five years since that law was passed, public resentment has at times boiled over into protests and rioting. Media attention of veiled women being humiliated on French streets, ticketing and periods of questioning by obnoxious French policemen, have gone silent outside of Islamic media. French bigotry within the confines of its selective democracy has become something of an institutional paradox, a cultural repression. Radical Islamists can inspire disenfranchised Muslim minorities of Arab and Sub Saharan descent.
Institutionalized French policy against religious expression of minorities and moral pressures placed on Islamic women to virtually “undress “, has helped sow the seeds of France’s decent into the abyss of minority terrorism. Left with little recourse, it is only through global organized terrorism that the disenfranchised can receive material and psychological support to act out their anger and humiliation. And of course, terrorism is a tool of western governments in peeling away the layers of privacy and other controls that preserve freedom of speech, political descent, religious practices. These are core values which require universal acceptance in order to remain intact.
While the murder of the Hedbo cartoonists in their social indignity is nonetheless inhuman, the growing conflict of ideologies and anti-Islamic propaganda is a sign that French (and western) society in general has altered its pathway. Core values have melded with an abstract confluence of darkly colored expressions not unique to the creative free will of modern thinkers, but to similitudes of old Euro-Fascism, denigrating whole populations of non-compliant minority sub-cultures.
Those who claim to embrace freedom, liberty and justice should be equally concerned with a populist world view broadcast by the corporate media and the one dimensional, feminist reporting that western journalists are known for.
Looking beyond the popular view, one may finally recognize and fret over the hypocrisy of the false freedom movement, which is not merely the greater threat to freedom, but one of several facilitators of terrorism. We should not allow deceitful moral concepts to corrupt the inclusive nature of liberty until OUR expressions become the prohibition of others.
Defending what the Charlie Hedbos of the world are doing in our time is not different to the populist movement in 1930s Germany, when Hitler used anti-Semitic cartoons as fodder for a nationalistic freedom at the expense of a Jewish minority. There are those who only sail with the wind. There are others who feel concern for the direction of humanity believing that there is time yet to realize the greater truth that can help the world emerge from stone age rationales toward something much, much greater than all of humanity’s misguided altruistic aspirations.