Charlie Hebdo and the Jihadist Second Wave
Kalashnikov-wielding theocratic fascists assassinated cartoonists in Paris one year ago. It is worth considering, with the perspective that comes with distance, what our response says.
To summarize the attack: a group of left-wing French cartoonists and journalists, exercising their right to free speech and blasphemy under the French Fifth Republic, were murdered by jihadists for the crime of drawing a picture of Muhammad, the founder of Islam.
For their troubles, these cartoonists were smeared by both the well-meaning but wrong as well as the more sinister apologists for and, in some cases, sympathizers of jihadism as racists and “Islamophobes.” Instead of an unequivocal display of support for free speech and the right to blaspheme, people who dare call themselves liberal showered the still-warm corpses of these murdered Frenchmen with epithets condemning them for their insensitivity and racism.
Of course killing them was wrong, these people said, but so was drawing Muhammad. As if there is any moral equivalence or connection between the first sentiment and the second. As if the free people of France have a responsibility to be sensitive about Islamic blasphemy law.
To add to this display of moral and intellectual obscenity, the apologists and sympathizers dared allege some sort of marginalization and racism suffered by the two Kouachi brother-jihadists as the root cause of the massacre. As if this marginalization and racism, even if it existed, explains why they murdered cartoonists.
No, instead of explicitly defending the right to blasphemy without an inch of equivocation, we were regaled with the moral obfuscation and false equivalences of a Western left that doesn’t know right from wrong anymore, a Western left that thinks “marginalization” is the root cause of every single outrage, a Western left where even the cold-blooded murder of cartoonists in Paris by men shouting “We have avenged the Prophet Muhamad” could not bring them to condemn without equivocation this vicious application of Islamic blasphemy law.
No, we were told. These men have nothing to do with Islam. Instead, it was France’s alleged institutionalized racism and oppression and the cultural insensitivity of the cartoonists that provoked this jihadist attack.
Anything — everything — to absolve the actual root cause of the problem, Islamic law and those who want to enforce it, and instead deflect attention to a shockingly dishonest discussion on the need for “cultural sensitivity,” which, in this context, is nothing more than a euphemism for Sharia and accepting its application on free people.
I am a citizen of the secular American republic, and the murdered Frenchmen of Charlie Hebdo were — are — the citizens the French Republic. The citizens of these two great secular Atlantic republics have absolutely no obligation to show one ounce of concern for Islamic blasphemy laws.
That virtually no Western newspapers published the pertinent Muhammad cartoons from Charlie Hebdo shows how far free speech has degraded in the West.
It can’t be stated clearly enough — no matter what morally righteous preening we do, we lost. No one would dare publish these cartoons again. The litmus test of the New York Times, which prides itself on delivering all the news fit to print and is this nation’s newspaper of record, won’t publish them. The cartoons that provoked a jihadist assassination are apparently unworthy to print.
We can hide behind the claim that it’s respect and politeness that is driving this reticence, but that is a palpably self-serving lie. No one will publish these cartoons for the simple reason that there is a very real chance Islamic extremists will kill you for it, or else threaten to kill you with enough credibility that you will have to go into hiding.
Until we accept that jihadists have won this round of the free speech wars and accurately pinpoint the cause of their actions as lying in Islamic teachings and not anywhere else, we will never succeed in pushing back the jihadist deluge and creeping Islamist-tinted mindset in France, America, or indeed anywhere else.
On the one-year anniversary of the execution by theocratic fascists of cartoonists, we should remember that behind every Kalashnikov-wielding jihadist, there are thousands of corpse-smearing sympathizers eager to use words to amplify the echo of the jihadist bullet. And these, the second wave of every jihadist attack, those armed with false sympathy and illiterate moral equivalence who follow the shock troops, are the ones who work to softly normalize the rules bloodily enforced by the jihadists.
Bans on drawing Muhammad are only the first norm to be enforced — what will the jihadists and their second wave sympathizers seek to codify next?