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The Charlie Hebdo White Power Rally in Paris: A Celebration of Western Hypocrisy

image.adapt.960.high“The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world. (James Baldwin)

 

I have witnessed the spectacle of Eurocentric arrogance many times over my long years of struggle and resistance to colonial/capitalist domination and dehumanization. The grotesque, 21st Century version of the “white man’s burden,” which asserts that the international community (meaning the West) has a moral and legal “responsibility to protect,” is one current example; the generalized acceptance by many in the West that their governments have a right to wage permanent war against the global “others” to maintain international order is another.

 

Yet, when I think I have seen it all, along comes the response to the attack at the racist, Islamophobic publication Charlie Hebdo. Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, I am still left in complete wonderment at the West’s unmitigated self-centeredness and self-righteous arrogance.

 

The millions who turned out on Sunday claimed to be marching in solidarity with the victims at Charlie Hebdo and against terrorism. They were joined by political leaders from across Europe, Israel and other parts of the world –on the same weekend reports were emerging that 2,000 Nigerians may have lost their lives at the hands of Boko Haram, another Muslim extremist group.

 

Surely there would be expressions of solidarity with the survivors in Nigeria at a gathering ostensibly to oppose terrorism and uphold the sanctity of life. But the expressions of solidarity never came. In fact, based on the attention the massacre received from the Western press, it was if the massacre had never happened.

 

It is clear that there was a different agenda for the march and a different set of concerns for Europe. The people of France mobilized themselves to defend what they saw as an attack against Western civilization. However, the events in Paris did not have to be framed as an existential attack on the imagined values of the liberal white West. Providing some context and making some political links may have been beneficial for attempting to understand what happened in the country and a political way forward beyond the appeal to racial jingoism.

 

The attack could have sparked an honest conversation about how many Muslims experience life in contemporary France and viewed French policies in various Muslim and Arab nations. It could have examined the relationship between the rise of radical Islam and the connection of that rise to the activities of various branches of the French intelligence services. An open discussion might have framed it as a classic blowback operationresulting from the weaponization of radical Whabbanism as a tool of Western power from the late 1970s to its current assignment in Syria. But those ideas were not allowed a forum on that massive stage.

 

Je Suis Charlie: European lives have always mattered more than others

 

The Je Suis Charlie slogan like one of those mindless advertising themes meant to appeal to the unconscious and the irrational, nevertheless, has to have cultural reference points, culturally embedded meanings that evoke the desire to want to buy a product, or in this case to identify with an imagined civilization. It does not matter that the supposed superiority of Western civilization and its values is based on constructed lies and myths, it is still the basis of a cross-class, transnational white identity.

 

The white identity is so powerfully inculcated while simultaneously invisibalized that identification is not seen as the essentialized identity politics that people of color supposedly engage in, instead it is just being “human.” And as we witnessed this weekend and throughout the colonial world, identification with whiteness is not limited by one’s racial or national assignment.

 

It is not necessary in this short essay to even address the contradictory nature of the European self-understanding, how that self-perception is utterly disconnected from its practice, and how many people in the world see the 500-years European hegemony as an interminable nightmare.

 

However, for those folks who believe the simple assertion that black lives matter and that “racial progress” will be realized through progressive legislative reform derived from a better understanding of the harmful impact of racially discriminatory practices, the unfiltered expressions of white solidarity and the privileging of white life should be a wake-up call.

 

The humanity and cultures of Arabs and Muslims have been denigrated in France for decades. Full recognition of the humanity of Arabs and Muslims has always come at a cost – Arabs and Muslims are required to “assimilate,” to mimic French lifestyles, embrace the language, adopt the values and worldview of their cosmopolitan patrons. Older generations of fully colonized individuals subjected themselves to that degrading ritual, but later generations see this requirement as the colonial assault on their being that it is and have resisted.

 

It is the arrogant lack of respect for the ideas and culture of non-European peoples that drove the French ban on the wearing of the niqab and other traditional veiling clothing for Muslim women, just one example of the generalized discriminatory treatment of Arabs and Muslims in France. In this lager context, Charlie Hebdo’s blatant disregard and disrespect for another religion, shielded by an absolute commitment to freedom of speech that gives them blanket immunity, is now compounded by the “Je Suis Charlie campaign,” orchestrated in the name of upholding the values of liberal, Western civilization.

 

What it means for many of us in the Black community is that Je Suis Charlie has become a sound bite to justify the erasure of non-Europeans, and for ignoring the sentiments, values and views of the racialized “other.” In short, Je Suis Charlie has become an arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy that was echoed at the white power march on Sunday in Paris and in the popularity of the new issue of Charlie Hebdo.

 

A shared ethical framework under the system of capitalist/colonial white supremacy is impossible. Deeply grounded in the European psyche and in the contradictions of its “humanist” traditions, who was considered fully human always had qualifications, and equality was always a nuanced concept.

 

The contradictory ethical framework that informs the world view of Parisians is grounded in the colonial division of humanity that emerged out of the liberal humanist movement of the 18th Century. This tradition allowed for humanity to be divided into those people who were considered fully human with rights that should be respected and those peoples consigned to non-being. Those non-beings became eligible to have their lands taken, to be enslaved and murdered at will.

 

The valuation of white life over everyone else is a fundamental component of white supremacy and not limited to those people that might be defined as white. That is why no one cares about the families that weep for their love ones in Nigeria and no one marches for them. That is why anti-Muslim and anti-Arab violence has exploded across France but the only mention in the Western press is the supposed fear in the Jewish community. And that is why that after the attack in Baga, Nigerian authorities were largely silent until Nigerian President Goodluck finally issued a statement on terrorism where he forcefully condemned the attack in Paris!

 

Ajamu Baraka is a human rights activist, organizer and geo-political analyst. Baraka is an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Washington, D.C. and editor and contributing columnist for the Black Agenda Report. He is a contributor to “Killing Trayvons: An Anthology of American Violence” (Counterpunch Books, 2014). He can be reached at www.AjamuBaraka.com

 

Ferguson to Palestine: A report Back

Join Ajamu Baraka on December 10th, in Atlanta Georgia, as he shares his observations and experiences from Palestine.

 

A Voice from the Margins

.…the margin is more than a site of deprivation "it is also the site of radical possibility, a space of resistance…a site one stays in, clings to even, because it nourishes one's capacity to resist. It offers to one the possibility of radical perspective from which to see and create, to imagine alternatives, new worlds." Bell Hooks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

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His observations are sharp.  He elsewhere throws Obama in with Bush and Blair for war crimes. The global psychosis is complicated. The Je Suis Charlies are obviously not inclusive. Politicians who support the greedy –  about 100% of them – are historically responsible for creating hell and hatred on Earth – just as it’s always been. I look at what people include and what they exclude. Does he also condemn ISIS whose latest psychotic antics include  throwing groups of homosexuals off rooftops? The over-valuation of white life did not create that. He is on point but could be missing the complexity and the madness of others – will have to read more of his work.    

Yeah, I posted it because he did touch on some very real and relevant points, not because I agree with every word.  

 

While I don't necessarily agree that the "Je Suis Charlie" slogan and march is more about "White supremacy" than it is about Freedom of Speech, and a nation's natural reaction to preemptive violence, it is worth noting that such a large solidarity could easily be exploited by White Supremacists, and easily turned into an "arrogant rallying cry for white supremacy".  

 

Also worth noting is observation, "the weaponization of radical Whabbanism as a tool of Western power from the late 1970s to its current assignment in Syria", in that no matter how you look at it, it is Western powers, governments, corporations and nations that are arming these radicals, terrorists, conflicts, 'civil wars' and genocides happening in non-White/non-European nations in the first place.  It's no coincidence that American/Western nations, governments and news media never mentions exactly where all these terrorists are getting their arms from in the first place.  Western weapons manufacturers are getting over like fat rats on all the armed 'conflicts', 'civil wars' and terrorism taking place in non-White nations.  

 

Last edited by sunnubian
I am not Charlie. Seems like Charlie Hebdo had several cartoons that weren't just caricatures but downright nasty regarding Muslims, Catholic priests, Jews, and blacks. I saw one where they claimed to be criticizing the right wing who call a black female legislator a monkey....by also drawing her as a monkey and saying that was ridiculing right wing racism. Huh?

Definitely there is a place for political satire and free speech but I'm not impressed thus far by Charlie Hebdo nor the Swedish papers that keep phukking with Islam and Muhammad.

White people think they're the bomb diggity of all humanity.  When something horrendous happens to them, all the darker skinned people of the world are supposed to damn near die in sympathy.  when they blast the darker skinned people all to hell, then it's "Oh, well"!!!!! Then we're supposed or are obligated to fight the fight of their HATERS with them.  Our haters are left to HATE for all eternity.  White folks say "fuck it" and join in with the hatred against us.   There's something drastically wrong with that picture.  Maybe life's a joke on us to see just how crazy folks can get and determine who's the craziest of them all before we die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm starting to get sick of heaps of folks, damn the color, they can all have yellow beaks and purple plume tails, for all I care. Keep fucking with this radiation and that might be the outcome for everyone.

Originally Posted by NSpirit:
I am not Charlie. Seems like Charlie Hebdo had several cartoons that weren't just caricatures but downright nasty regarding Muslims, Catholic priests, Jews, and blacks. I saw one where they claimed to be criticizing the right wing who call a black female legislator a monkey....by also drawing her as a monkey and saying that was ridiculing right wing racism. Huh?

Definitely there is a place for political satire and free speech but I'm not impressed thus far by Charlie Hebdo nor the Swedish papers that keep phukking with Islam and Muhammad.

 

Well, even though no one deserves to be bombed/murdered over words, and no one has the right to murder another human being(s) over words, but, however, if that is the nature of the publication, then, maybe Ajamu Baraka's take on the publication and the protest march correct.  

Sista Norland wrote:  White people think they're the bomb diggity of all humanity.  When something horrendous happens to them, all the darker skinned people of the world are supposed to damn near die in sympathy.  when they blast the darker skinned people all to hell, then it's "Oh, well"!!!!! Then we're supposed or are obligated to fight the fight of their HATERS with them.  Our haters are left to HATE for all eternity.  White folks say "fuck it" and join in with the hatred against us.   There's something drastically wrong with that picture.  Maybe life's a joke on us to see just how crazy folks can get and determine who's the craziest of them all before we die!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I'm starting to get sick of heaps of folks, damn the color, they can all have yellow beaks and purple plume tails, for all I care. Keep fucking with this radiation and that might be the outcome for everyone.

 

  Yup! Cuz when 2,000 i.e. two thousands Africans in Nigeria were slaughtered very little coverage was on it....but!  As soon as the extremist killed 12 people?  It's was on and cracking.  The next day, a million marched to support Paris.  And in every newspaper around the world....the news to what happened there was blasted.  Not a word during that time about the poor innocent people i.e. the elderly, women and children who were massacred by Boko,  Not one.  Word.  Now that tells you right there how the westerners feel about black people.  But!

 

All this murdering, slaughtering, assassinating, executing, decapitating, hating, hating, hating.  What are people supposed to do enveloped with all this insanity?? Color's out of the question now.  There's something wrong with people BORN into this world.  No one can live in peace anywhere.

 

Ellen had a handsome Japanese fella on her show today. What a pleasure it was to see him.  Miyavi; he's in Angelina's movie and is a Japanese rock star.  Spoke English almost fluently, having just learned the language.  I was impressed.  

 

I wish there was a channel where all the folks of the world were just paraded in front of us so that we can see other people other than whites.  I don't travel, so white is all I see.  They're like roaches on my TV. I have to watch VH1Soul and Sanford & Son to get some closure of my "African-ess".  

 

Thank God and my husband for this contraption so that YouTube can make my day with documentaries, speeches and the singers I love the most bestess and my ever loving jig saw puzzles. I'm tired of EVERYONE's hatred.

 

We need T-Shirts that say "Kiss My Entire Black Ass", then we'll be able to hop merrily along on this path called LIFE. Fornication to these crazy demented "people"and mucho happiness to your hole of choice, since no one can STFU about that and have to shout about it from the rafters . We probably should build some more closets and put folks back into them until they learn to shut up. Silence is golden.

Last edited by Norland

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