Welcome To The Bitchery
Welcome To The Bitchery

Another bunch of links

What happened to clicky's link round up in the days of yore?? Anyways I wanted to share two more blogposts that flitted across my social media.

This post is about the wider causes of the attack and talks about the historical context and sources of frustration in the Muslim world. This is out of my area of expertise so i'd happily cede the ground to someone who is an expert, but i found it thoughtful and a different perspective.


This post is more within my wheelhouse and it expressed some of the thoughts that had been rattling around my head.

Here are the bits that really resonated with me:

There are two major problems with this analysis. First, it tends to portray the attack on Charlie Hebdo as the work of outsiders, when in fact the assailants were Frenchmen born and raised. The insinuation that they, and the communities from which they came, were not "truly" French because of their ethnicity, their religion, or their rejection of "French" values underscores the unwillingness of so many in France to accept all the nation's people as equal citizens of the republic.

Second, the embrace of free speech as a quintessentially French value ignores the many ways in which ideas of toleration have been selective in contemporary France. It is acceptable for Charlie Hebdo to publish offensive cartoons about Islam, but not for Muslim women to wear burqas in public. Freedom of expression is OK when slandering Islam, but not when promoting it. Holocaust denial is a crime in France, even though it limits the right of free speech, but there is no analogous law against insulting Islam.

The emphasis on France as a land of freedom ignores the constant attempts by the French government to censor and repress hip-hop artists; in 2003 it enacted a law making "offending the dignity of the republic" a punishable offence in response to a song by the group Sniper. It ignores the widespread and ongoing discrimination against Muslims in France. Finally, it ignores the whole sorry history of French colonialism in north Africa, a history the French tried to whitewash ten years ago by passing a law instructing French schoolteachers only to portray the positive aspects of the colonial legacy.

France must address its own problems in making its large Muslim population truly a part of the nation, a process which must include not just integrating them into classic French universalism but also recognizing that their own traditions and history are a part of France. Only in this way can the French hope to avoid future tragedies like the assault on Charlie Hebdo and realize their desire to be a universal nation.

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