In light of Charlie Hebdo

President François Hollande said the trivial: “No barbaric act will ever extinguish the freedom of the press.” That the statement is self-falsifying seemed to bother him little: That barbaric act literally extinguished the press. Literally. They are dead. Their freedom is thus of little relevance.

Claire Berlinski, on ricochet.com (8 January 2015)

worldI’m not so sure that Islam is a peaceful religion.  After the attack at the offices of the French satirist Charlie Hebdo, I revisited the chart I’d found on Wikipedia some weeks ago, the chart about armed conflicts around the world.  It appears at the bottom of this post.  Of the 45 conflicts currently reported, 23 directly involve Islamic states, jihads led by Islamic forces, or insurgencies led by Islamic groups.  Of the 22 remaining conflicts nine are in Africa, eight in Asia, four in the western hemisphere, and one in Europe (the Ukraine),   Given that several of these 22 conflicts take place in countries with large Muslim populations (Indonesia, The Philipines, Sudan, South Sudan, The Ukraine, etc.), it is possible that there is a jihadist element in the rebellions or civil wars, but they are not known as conflicts driven by ideology or religion.

We are not all Charlie. Much of Europe, which, as a political entity, is not fully grappling with the totalitarian madness of Islamism, is not Charlie. Certainly much of journalism is not Charlie. Any outlet that censors Charlie Hebdo cartoons out of fear of Islamist reprisal is not Charlie. To publish the cartoons now is a necessary, but only moderately brave, act. Please remember: Even after Charlie Hebdo was firebombed in 2011, it continued to publish rude and funny satires mocking the essential ridiculousness of the Islamist worldview. That represented a genuine display of bravery. CNN, the Associated Press, and the many other media organizations that are cowering before the threat of totalitarian violence represent something other than bravery.

Jeffrey Goldberg, The Atlantic (8 January 2015)

Ahmed Merabet, a French policeman – and a Muslim – died defending the laws that allow satirists to mock his religion.

It’s particularly surreal then that the footage of Wednesday’s carnage involved the terrorists approaching Merabet and executing him as he sat wounded on a sidewalk in the 11th arrondisement, begging for his life.

Adam  Chandler, The Atlantic (8 January 2015)

It is one of Islam’s tenets that one should not take the life of another Muslim.

BUT there is the fact that 94 percent of terrorist acts in the United States (from 1993 to 2013) were not committed by Muslims.  Of the 104,000 terrorist acts around the world from 1970 to 2012, you can thank, among others, Christian abortion clinic bombers as well as the

  • Ku Klux Klan
  • Medellin Drug Cartel
  • Irish Republican Army
  • Anti-Castro Group
  • Mormon extremists
  • Vietnamese Organization to Exterminate Communists and Restore the Nation
  • Jewish Defense League
  • May 19 Communist Order
  • Chicano Liberation Front
  • Jewish Armed Resistance
  • American Indian Movement
  • Gay Liberation Front
  • Aryan Nation
  • Jewish Action Movement
  • National Front for the Liberation of Cuba
  • Fourth Reich Skinheads

Of the 2,400 attacks that took place in the United States during that time, about

  • 2.5 per cent were related to Islamic groups or individuals
  • 4.9 per cent were attributed to Jewish groups
  • 7 per cent were attributed to Christian groups.

Of the ten most costly (in terms of U.S. dollars) terrorist attacks, one took place in Kenya, one in Sri Lanka, three in the United States, and five in the U.K.  The most costly was, of course, the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and Timothy McVeigh’s attack in Oklahoma City is in the top ten.  The five U.K. incidents were all perpetrated by the I.R.A.

There is growing concern among those who study terror that the greatest future threat will come from individuals, not groups.  Individuals are much harder to track than are coordinated efforts by groups, groups can be infiltrated, their plans uncovered, their members can betray one another – even when the group is composed of cells.  The lone operative is almost impossible to detect..

How nations view religion

Pew Research Global Attitudes (2005)

Christianity

Judaism

Islam

Country Favorable Unfavorable Favorable Unfavorable Favorable Unfavorable
Canada 83 9 78 11 60 26
France 84 15 82 16 64 34
Germany 83 13 67 21 40 47
Great Britain 85 6 78 6 72 14
Netherlands 83 15 85 11 45 51
Poland 86 5 54 27 46 30
Russia 92 3 63 26 55 36
United States 87 6 77 7 57 22
China 26 47 28 49 20 50
India 61 19 28 17 46 43
Indonesia 58 38 13 76 99 1
Jordan 58 41 0 100 99 1
Lebanon 91 7 0 99 92 7
Morocco 33 61 8 88 97 3
Pakistan 22 58 5 74 94 2
Turkey 21 63 18 60 83 11

Now, here’s the thing: most terrorism is not generated out of religious hatred. A study undertaken by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism found

Between 1970 and 2011, 32 percent of the perpetrator groups were motivated by ethnonationalist/separatist agendas, 28 percent were motivated by single issues, such as animal rights or opposition to war, and seven percent were motivated by religious beliefs.

War/No More Trouble

The lyrics of War are derived from a speech in the United Nations by former Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie.

The conflicts listed beginning with the Libyan Civil War through the Kashmir conflict are driven by jihadist/ideological concerns (as opposed to conflicts over natural boundaries, traditional tribal jurisdictions, economic disruptions/motivations, etc. – which mark the conflicts that begin with the South Sudanese Civil War).

HOWEVER, to put this in perspective, worldwide more Muslims are subjected to terrorist attack than any other group AND Sunnis, the Muslims most often supported by the United States, are most often the perpetrators of terrorist attacks led by Muslims.  Where will you find Sunnis?  On the Arab peninsula.  Who befriends Saudi Arabia?  That’s right.  Uncle Sam.

Conflict
began

Conflict

Continent

Cumulative fatalities

2014

Libyan Civil War

Africa

2,872

2012

Northern Mali conflict

Africa

784-2,416+

2011

Syrian Civil War

Asia

200,000

2011

Iraqi insurgency

Asia

35,829+

2011

Syrian Civil War spillover in Lebanon

Asia

681+

2011

Sinai insurgency

Africa

2,000+

2009

War in Somalia

Africa

19,754+

2009

Insurgency in the North Caucasus

Europe

2,198+

2009

South Yemen insurgency

Asia

1,554+

2004

War in North-West Pakistan

Asia

56,067

2004

Shia insurgency in Yemen

Asia

25,000+

2004

Iran-PJAK conflict

Asia

456+

2003

War in Darfur

Africa

178,258+

2002

Insurgency in the Maghreb

Africa

6,000

2001

War in Afghanistan

Asia

56,000+

1999

Islamist insurgency in Nigeria

Africa

22,000+

1998

Al-Qaeda insurgency in Yemen

Asia

3,711+

1996

ADF insurgency

Africa

550+

1989

Xinjiang conflict

Asia

2,000+

1969

Moro insurgency in the Philippines

Asia

120,000

1948

Israeli–Palestinian conflict

Asia

24,220+

1948

Balochistan conflict

Asia

3,679+

1947

Kashmir conflict

Asia

43,700-47,000

2013

South Sudanese Civil War

Africa

50,000+

2013

RENAMO insurgency

Africa

100+

2012

Central African Republic conflict

Africa

7,472+

2011

Sudan–SRF conflict

Africa

4,900+

2009

Sudanese nomadic conflicts

Africa

5,000+

2004

Conflict in the Niger Delta

Africa

4,000+

1995

Second Afar insurgency

Africa

2,000

1987

LRA insurgency

Africa

100,000+

1978

Katanga insurgency

Africa

100,000+

1988

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Asia

27,287+

1984

Turkey-PKK conflict

Asia

45,000+

1969

NDF conflict in the Philippines

Asia

43,388+

1967

Naxalite–Maoist insurgency

Asia

13,812+

1964

Insurgency in Northeast India

Asia

25,000+

1963

Papua conflict

Asia

400,000

1960

South Thailand insurgency

Asia

6,100+

1948

Internal conflict in Burma

Asia

130,000-210,000

2006

Mexican Drug War

North America

150,000+

1994

Chiapas conflict

North America

114+

1980

Internal conflict in Peru

South America

70,000

1964

Colombian conflict

South America

220,000

2014

War in Donbass

Europe

4,771

 

 

Advertisements

One thought on “In light of Charlie Hebdo

  1. As a French national, the attack fills me with a lot of sadness, disappointment and fear. Not fear about the actual attack or the possible future attacks but fear of what this will do the mentality of a large part of the French population. I am not looking forward to going back to France and hearing more hatred comments and justifications from unhappy people…
    As for the event itself, I obviously cannot condone such brutal destruction but what I can see if a growing gap between groups who cohabit and belong to the same country. Prospects of ever integrating fainting in the future. Is that what Islamist terrorism aims at? I feel sorry for muslims in France and around the world who practice their religion and lead their life peacefully and that’s the vast majority of them. I lived 7 years in Indonesia, the largest moderated muslim country and found the people much more respectful of others than they are in France…
    Freedom of expression and the press? Yes, all for it. Cartoons of the Pope with a d… on his head wouldn’t bother me in the same way that the controversial cartoons of Charlie Hebdo did but honestly, why stir the shit when there is clearly an intricate and difficult situation to resolve in the country? I wonder what was the main motivation of the the editorial team to do so… and if it was to sell more papers at the end of the day, then the means certainly doesn’t justify the end. Now if it was to make a statement that satire is Ok and appreciated in France, then the attack is an attack on one of the pillars of society. Finally if it was purely to trigger more racism because the “low” people seem to thrive on this, then that explains why I never bought a copy. A long time ago I decided to live without religion and my skepticism about religious values and disagreement have led me not to engage in any of these religious debates, clashes, terrorism or war. In my ideal world, religion would lose its strength and wouldn’t be in a position to start or perpetuate conflictual values and I am confident that man doesn’t need religions to discern good from evil.

    Cabu was the cartoonist of one of my favourite TV program when I was a little kid so that sad. Yes, I’m confused, like many other French people I’m sure.

    Perhaps the findings and clarification on the actual attack, will bring light on the situation and what is at stake. From a distance we can’t help but read the media facts and the images as a total shock.So professionally done with lots of question marks about how the whole attack was actually possible and “successful”…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s