Charlie Hebdo: "Je Suis White People" - Intentionally Violating The Islamic Prohibition Of Depicting The Prophet
13 January 2015
By Margaret Kimberley
Don't kill white people. After all is said and done,
the Charlie Hebdo outrage, the hashtags, and the
million person marches amount to that simple but very
powerful dictum. In the eyes of the governments that
do most of the killing on the planet and the corporate
media who act as their scribes, there is nothing worse
than targeting even a handful of white people for
Charlie Hebdo is a supposedly satirical magazine
published in Paris, France. It was little known to
Americans until January 7, 2015 when two gunmen
attacked its offices and killed twelve staff members.
Charlie Hebdo was well known for intentionally
violating the Islamic prohibition of depicting the
prophet. According to survivors, the killers announced
themselves as members of al-Qaeda and said they were
avenging the prophet Muhammad. A policewoman and four
more people were killed the following day when another
gunman took hostages in a kosher supermarket.
One look at Charlie Hebdo cartoons shows that the word
satire is being used very loosely. The depictions of
cabinet minister Christiane Taubira as a monkey, and
the kidnapped Nigerian school girls as pregnant
welfare recipients make a mockery of the world
satirical. Regardless of how many French politicians
are skewered in its pages, it must be pointed out that
Charlie Hebdo indulges in racist hate speech.
Their reputation for insult and offense was quickly
forgotten and the call to unquestioningly identify
with the victims was immediate. Within a few days, #Jesuischarlie
was tweeted more than one million times. The
propaganda onslaught created an awkward example of
hypocrisy for world leaders who are always the worst
killers of all.
Barack Obama trotted out tired denunciations, calling
the attacks "cowardly" as he claimed to stand up for
the rights of a free press. These were strange words
coming from a man who on seven occasions has used the
discredited Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers
who leak to the media.
Americans were not alone in hypocritically condemning
murder. The convenient selective amnesia of the French
people is as stunning as their sense of feeling more
aggrieved than anyone else in the world.
France was a party to every atrocity and genocide
committed by Europeans in history. France played a
major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade,
kidnapping approximately 1,250,000 Africans and
sending them to work under barbaric conditions in
their American territories.
After being forced out of Haiti by the world's most
successful slave rebellion, France then held that
nation hostage under threat of re-enslavement and
demanded a payment of $60 million which were paid from
1838 to 1947. Haiti remains poverty stricken to this
day as a result.
France was at the table during the 1884 Berlin
Conference which chopped Africa up into European
spheres of influence. France engaged in mass slaughter
again and again as it attempted to prevent colonies
such as Vietnam and Algeria from gaining independence.
After NATO murdered Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, French
president Nicolas Sarkozy traveled to Libya to
personally gloat over the country he helped to
destroy. He was joined by UK prime minister David
Cameron, who was also among the killers-in-chief who
arrived in Paris looking solemn. France and the UK are
part of the NATO effort to destroy Syria and turn it
into a chaotic ruin as they have done to Libya.
The corporate media determines who is and who isn't a
worthy victim and people with dark skin rarely make
the cut. The thousands of Palestinians killed by
Israel in Gaza included members of the press.
Seventeen journalists were killed in Gaza in 2014
alone, yet Israeli president Netanyahu was allowed to
join the "unity march" in Paris as if he too were an
There is enough horror in the world to cause outrage
but the level of outrage seems to depend on who is
being treated horribly and who is carrying out the
atrocity. The worst acts of terror are committed by
heads of state who don't kill seventeen people as
these attackers did in Paris. They kill in the
thousands yet are still treated with respect.
It doesn't say much for the state of human advancement
that killings committed by individuals still create so
much more concern than those committed by governments.
They get away with mass murder because the same
corporate media which saturated coverage of Charlie Hebdo say little or nothing about Gaza or Libya or
Somalia or Syria or Iraq or Haiti. Instead of pointing
out that Barack Obama is a killer too, the pundits
criticize him for not being among the sanctimonious
liars who gathered in Paris. The group photo should
have been a perp walk to the Hague instead of a photo
opportunity for the seriously blood thirsty.
Murder is wrong when committed by individual gunmen
with grudges and it is still wrong when it comes from
a drone strike. A unity march should denounce human
rights abuses, of which warfare is the worst. The next
time 1 million gather to denounce terror, the anger
should be directed at those people who carry it out
* Margaret Kimberley is editor and senior columnist
at Black Agenda Report. Her Freedom Rider column