Despite appearances, we are hard at work here at Those Who Can See, sticking to our adage of 'if it ain't ready, don't publish it.' An unusally busy winter work schedule is slowing down but not stopping us.
But a quick interlude is in order. The recent attacks in France have taken over the news cycle here, spawning much journalistic heat but little light on both sides of the Atlantic. We'd like to give a brief snapshot of some of the less-seen bits of the story.
Alors, pour les curieux...
I. The Magazine
Charlie Hebdo, for those unfamiliar, is a French satiric weekly born in 1970 from the ashes of Hara Kiri, itself inspired by Mad Magazine.
It is the baby of counter-culture leftists. Their number one targets have always been conservatives and Christians. A sampling (some courtesy of MPC):
When the famous 'Piss Christ' angered Catholics in Avignon, Charlie said:
In the debate over gay civil unions (known as 'Pacs'), the Catholic Church was strongly against. Charlie's reaction:
More recently, the gay marriage debate found strong resistance from Catholics such as Archbishop André Vingt-trois, earning him this cover:
The nationalist right has long been a prime target. 'Freedom of speech,' it appears, should not be extended to them:
Putting its money where its mouth was, Charlie Hebdo organized a national petition calling for the NF's abolition in 1996. The 170,000 signatures were, it seems, not enough.
Fancying themselves equal-opportunity satirists, Charlie Hebdo also goes after leftists:
As well as the third rail of satire, what no other French media will touch...Islam. They were the only ones to re-print the famous Danish caricatures of Mohamed in 2006:
They earned their first office firebombing in 2011, after publishing a special edition 'Sharia Hebdo'
The worldwide furor caused by the American film 'Innocence of Muslims' in 2012 they found especially funny:
What Charlie Hebdo seems especially enamored of is genitalia and scatology:
Left to right: President Giscard d'Estaing, Prime Minister Jacques Chirac, anti-abortion rights politicians
Left to right: National Front's Marine Le Pen, George W. Bush, comedian Dieudonné
They also have a real fondness for depicting anal intercourse:
Left: 'After the Year of the Woman, 1976: The Year of the Cow';
Center: 'The Unknown Soldier sodomized by Private Chanal' [soldier and serial killer of young men]; Right: 'The French are gonna be hurting' (written on penis: 'Taxes')
Center: 'The Unknown Soldier sodomized by Private Chanal' [soldier and serial killer of young men]; Right: 'The French are gonna be hurting' (written on penis: 'Taxes')
The late unpleasantness, however, is purely the result of their mockery of Islam.
II. The attackers
1) Charlie Hebdo massacre--The Kouachi Brothers
No big surprise, responsibility has been claimed by Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen branch, with whom Saïd was known to have trained. But who were these two?
Sons of Algerian immigrants who died in unknown circumstances, they grew up in a French orphanage. Aimless years in dead-end jobs and petty drug dealing followed. Easy prey for the jihadi recruiters roaming French housing projects.
An old friend from their orphanage has revealed some choice bits, a near-caricature of petty Arab thugs:
'Cherif was a loudmouth, a fighter, loved to bling out in Lacoste tracksuits and screw girls, hated the 'Gauls' (native French) [...] Saïd was different, non-violent, civil and well-liked, though he wasn't crazy about 'Gauls' either...'
An ex-colleague of Saïd's has also spilled to the press. He claims the elder brother worked under him for the City of Paris trash detail, but was 'unmanageable' (e.g. refusing to shake hands with female colleagues), was transfered five times, then let go.
It is in reading between the lines that one figures out that his job, 'recycling ambassador,' was an invented make-work post of the type created to occupy (and pay) otherwise unemployable immigrants. The City of Paris, according to the article, had many such 'ambassadors' who went door-to-door to explain the joys of recycling to the city's residents. The snitch in the article says a large number were unmanageable Islamists, about which they alerted their bosses often but were rebiffed because 'the subject was taboo.'
'French' according to his ID card--so why did he hate 'Gauls'?
This anecdote may seem neither here nor there, but in the larger narrative, progressives rail endlessly that France isn't doing enough to integrate its Arabs. Here we have the City creating cushy do-nothing jobs for them in order to buy social peace, and the unhappy Saïd still manages to get himself fired for incompetence. Integration failed--but who is at fault?
2) Police attack-- Coulibaly
Amedi Coulibaly and sweetheart
The second and less-known attack Wednesday was the shooting of two policemen in Montrouge, a Paris suburb, by one Amedi Coulibaly. Born in France to Malian parents, one of 10 kids, before turning 18 he'd already been convicted of aggravated robbery. His rap sheet grew every year--armed robbery, drug dealing, etc. Converted to radical Islam in prison, he started to pal around with known jihadis. A prison shrink described him as 'psychopathic' with a 'deficient moral sense' and 'feelings of invincibility.'
The policewoman killed by Coulibaly Wednesday
Like his buddy Saïd Kouachi, Coulibaly had, despite his very long rap sheet, benefitted from another specialized jobs program, 'the professionalisation contract,' which allowed him and several other ghetto 'youth' (he was then 27) to meet President Sarkozy at the Elysée Palace:
He's spent all his life in the Grande-Borne [immigrant] neighborhood in Grigny, and today he's going to meet [President] Nicolas Sarkozy. ... 'It's great,' Amedi smiled yesterday. 'I don't know what I'll say to him. I guess I'll start with Hello!'
Coulibaly works at the Coca-Cola factory in his city, part of a 'professionalisation contract' program. ... President Sarkozy wants to make contact with companies who are making an effort to recruit [disfavored] young people.
Coulibaly ended up showing his gratitude to the Republic five years later by firing on two policemen, killing one.
All three of the above killers ended the day in simultaneous hostage-takings, the Kouachis at a printer's and Coulibaly in a kosher grocery where he killed four. Concurrent police raids dispatched all three terrorists.
[Graphic photo just ahead]
As is so often the case, violent attacks spawn copycats and wannabes. A few that were reported in the aftermath of the Charlie massacre:
- A train between Paris and Lyon was stopped after a traveling Syrian declared himself 'a terrorist' and threatened the passengers.
- In Carcassonne, a man with a machete threatened a French soldier, crying, 'We'll do what they did to Charlie Hebdo!'
- Several municipal websites have been hacked and covered with Islamist slogans.
The city of Sainte-Marie-des-Chenes' website, this morning:
'I attest that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.'
III. The reaction
1) The Islamophiles
France's Islamophile chattering classes have reacted predictably: Like General Casey's blithe reply to the Fort Hood massacre, their greatest worry is not the murdered victims of Islamists, but the potential threat to their multicultural dream.
The President of France, François Hollande, managed to bang out the following two tweets only two minutes from each other. See if you can find which thing is not like the other:
Top: 'The people who committed these acts have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.'
Bottom: 'Today in this kosher grocery, a dreadful act of anti-semitism was committed.'
Justice Minister Taubira, Holder's soul sister
France's Justice Minister, like America's, is an angry Caribbean mulatto with a massive chip on her shoulder. She has taken the important step of demanding any and all 'Islamophobic acts' be reported to her ministry post haste.
In fairness, several have been reported, including grenades thrown at one mosque, 'Death to Arabs' written on another, and an explosion near a kebab stand. The French must be reassured that they are not, in fact, experiencing a civil war...
Though it is several months old, this unfortunate tweet from the Interior Minister has come back to haunt him:
'To the young people going off to Syria [for jihad], I want to say that there are 1000 battles to lead right here in the country, for France'
The polemicist are out in force, as usual, with the usual invocations. A few of the more choice nuggets:
From lefty paper and close friend to 'Charlie Hebdo,' Libération:
'The attack against Charlie Hebdo has the ugly mug of [Great Replacement author] Renaud Camus, [France's Suicide author] Eric Zemmour, and Marine Le Pen. It has the ugly mug of their ideological victory.'
The face of Islamist terror in France
Sociologist and author of 'The Myth of Islamisation, Essay on a Collective Obsession,'
Raphael Liogier feels similarly:
'As long as there are books like those from Zemmour [France's Suicide], Finkelkraut [What is France?], or Houellebecq [Submission, on a future French caliphate] which portray the feeling of threatened identities, there's no reason for these attacks to stop.'
The ever-present Bernard Henri-Levy:
'The rabble-rousers who preach the distinction between native French and 'on paper' French, the far-right trouble-makers who see in these 12 murders a blessing proving the 'Great Replacement' [book by Camus] and our cowardly submission to the prophets of 'Submission' [book by Houellebecq]--they are on their way to the dustbin of history.'
3) The public
Though no press organ will say it, the website 'François de Souche' ('Native Frenchy') will and has: The dozens of spontaneous 'Je suis Charlie' marches all have a little something in common...
'Hard to imagine Roubaix is majority Muslim when you see the protesters'
'Toulouse: Nothing but honkies, it's apartheid!'
'Lille: Nothing but honkies, it's apartheid here too'
'Hard to believe this photo was taken in Marseille ['little Algiers'], you'd almost think you were in France'
2) The Islamo-skeptics
Still considered heretics, the Islamo-skeptics have also spoken up. We've chosen a few from outside France:
Notorious Dutch politician Geert Wilders:
'After every attack, your leaders cry crocodile tears, but they're the ones responsible. The problem is Islam, the prophet, the Koran. ... Today, radical measures are needed. We have to de-islamicize our countries. All Muslim immigration must stop. Jihadis must be expelled. ... Enough is enough.'
Ayaan Hirsi Ali, apostate from Somalia who lived under police protection in the Netherlands:
'This endless argument that we shouldn't stigmatize, that terrorists aren't real Muslims, is just dead. ... There's an obvious link between what's happening in Paris, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, etc. We can no longer dissociate this violence from Islam, from Mohammed, from the Koran.'
British author Douglas Murray has been especially harsh with the press:
'There will be a lot of reaction of people saying things like “we must defend freedom of expression, we must stand for freedom of expression”, but it really is all empty... And since 2005, ... none of [the European papers] republished [the Danish Mahommed] cartoons, except for Charlie Hebdo.
And now, when everyone says “We must stand with Charlie Hebdo”... they can’t really mean it. Because you and I know the BBC won’t dare to show any of these cartoons. No other major newspaper, journal or magazine in Britain or across most of Europe will...
And we say again and again “We mustn’t allow the terrorists to win.” And they do, again and again. The terrorists routinely succeed, and have succeeded again.'
3) The Muslim street
Official Muslimdom has, of course, come out strongly against the terrorists, as their continued existence in France depends on it. But the average French Muslim is under no such compunction. A sampling:
Teachers all over France have observed a minute of silence in their classes, with interesting results:
- In a grade school in Seine Saint Denis [Paris banlieue], more than 80% of the students in one class refused the minute of silence.
- A 9th-grader from Lille: 'I'm gonna smoke you with my Kalashnikov.'
- 7th-grader, Paris: 'But you don't understand, they should never have drawn the Prophet--he's above all men...
- Sophomore, Paris: 'Ma'am, can I not do the minute of silence? I don't want to recognize people like that.'
- His peer: 'They asked for it. You reap what you sow.'
- Another: 'My mom says they asked for it.'
- On Facebook, one teacher said she was greeted at 8:00 a.m. with cries of 'I'm for the guys who killed them!' She has asked to be moved to a new school.
More examples from Paris:
- Marie-Hélène, junior: 'I didn't want to do the minute of silence, it's not fair to honor them, they insulted Islam and other religions too.'
- Abdel, 8th grade: 'I did the minute of silence, but for the other ones that were killed, not for Charlie [Charb, editor-in-chief]. I have no pity for him. He has zero respect for us Muslims. They should have killed just him.'
- Yacine, sophomore: 'I'm against the attack, but the cartoonists weren't innocent in all this either.' ... 'Lots of people are comparing it to Dieudonné: He was punished for his 'quenelles,' but for Charlie Hebdo they get 'freedom of speech''...
- Allende, senior: 'You don't make fun of religion. That's why they killed Charlie. Those guys attacked Islam, and now they're getting to see another side of Islam--anger.'
b) Social Networks
Some reactions from the Muslim Twitterverse:
- 'These Charlie Hebdo motherfuckers deserve 100 deaths. Good for them.'
- 'LMAO that's what you get, Charlie Hebdo shooting, that'll teach you to say the Koran is shit'
- 'Oh shit Charlie Hebdo hahahaha I'm so happy these racist fuckers hahaha I'll go laugh on their graves niggaaaaaa'
- 'Charlie Hebdo attacked...no biggie. I'll even say good for them. You reap what you sow.'
- 'You can't wish death on someone, but good for Charlie Hebdo. You play with fire, you get burned.'
After the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie quickly became the biggest in the history of Twitter, fans of the massacre launced #JeSuisKouachi, which is trending hard this evening:
- 'Freedom of speech (mocking the sacred) = freedom to destroy, period. #JeSuisKouachi'
- '#WeAreKouachi...I'm proud of you Kouachi brothers'
- 'Muslims, we're all brothers...#JeSuisKouachi'
- 'I'm Muslim and Kouachi represents me'
c) The man on the street
Americans must be reminded that 'freedom of speech' as we know it does not in fact exist in France. Questioning the Holocaust narrative, for example, is a crime here. 'Supporting terrorism'--even verbally--can land you in jail, as some of the Charlie Hebdo massacre fans are finding out. All of the following 'Frenchmen' have been arrested in the last 24 hours for 'supporting terrorism':
- Saint-Priest: A 20-year-old man showed up at the police station laughing and shouting 'Long live the police killers!'
- Lyon: A man whose car was towed showed up at the towyard shouting at the police, 'Allahu Akbar, two of you killed already, go fuck yourselves assholes, you fucking deserved it.'
- Vénitieux: A man shouted at a passing security patrol, 'That wasn't enough for you, what happened today in Paris? [reference to two police shot by terrorist]', adding, 'We're on OUR turf here!'
- Carpentras: A 19-year-old was arrested for having posted jubilant messages about the massacre on a social network.
In the Kouachi brothers' native land, Algeria, people were freer to show their satisfaction:
Last night, in front of the Belouizidad Mosque, in Algiers: Shouts of joy, 'Allahu Akbar,' 'Charlie is dead,' 'Down with France and the Jews,'... slogans screamed by the faithful just after the final prayer.
'We were dumbfounded. Most of the members of the mosque expressed their joy and celebrated the two terrorists who, as they say, avenged the prophet Mohammed,' a local shopkeeper told us.
* * *
We'll finish with two images (from MPC):: First, the final cartoon from 'Charb,' published hours before his death:
Finally, the front page of Charlie Hebdo the morning of the massacre:
[Michel Houellebecq's just published 'Submission,' about a future French caliphate]
'France's 9/11,' 'a country in a state of insurrection,' these are a few of the phrases bandied about these last days. Love them or hate them, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, unlike the vast majority of those who today claim to speak in their name, were not afraid to touch the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Keep your eye on press outlets in the days to come--you will see 'Je Suis Charlie' logos everywhere, but will you see these?
The 2005 Danish cartoons that launched worldwide riots
...and all Charlie's troubles
They were grotesque, scatological, juvenile, provocative; they sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. They hated everything others held sacred. But the one thing they held sacred--multiculturalism at any price--is the thing that ended up killing them.
France is living a chapter that will go down in the history books. Watch carefully.