Charlie Hebdo: This Attack Was Nothing To Do With Free Speech - It Was About War
Charlie Hebdo: This Attack Was Nothing To Do With Free Speech - It Was About War
By Asghar Bukhari /

In less than an hour of the dreadful shooting of 12 people at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo, the politicians had already started to lie to their own public.

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, declared that, “freedom of expression is not able to be killed by this kind of act of terror.”

The media lapped it up — the attack was now spun as an attack on ‘Freedom of Speech’. That cherished value that the West holds so dear.

The British Government was so in love with it, that they were passing laws that demanded nursery school teachers spy on Muslim toddlers because they had too much of it. Toddlers were ‘free’ to speak their mind as long as it agreed with UK Government policy.

A ‘free speech’ machine. It looks for people who do not have enough free speech and then gives them some


Still at least it was not as draconian as Western Governments' routine harassment of those they thought spoke a bit too freely. Ask Moazzam Beg, the freed Guantanamo Bay Detainee and human rights campaigner, who was falsely accused of terrorism and imprisoned for months, after flying back from Syria with damning evidence of Britain’s complicity in torture in the Muslim world.

Or for that matter ask the Al-Jazeera journalist Abdulelah Haider Shaye, incarcerated in Yemen at the behest of America for reporting the wrong type of facts.

They loved it so much, they kept spying on everyone, tapping their phones and arresting them for not having the right sort of it.

Basically Muslims were FREE TO AGREE — that great overarching cherished Western principle that Muslims just didn’t understand.

As usual there was no real depth in any of the analysis in the media. The public were left in shock and anger but without any real answers.

The elites' narrative was simple - a left-wing magazine had produced ‘satirical cartoons’ about all religions and politicians, some of them about the Prophet of Islam — Only the Muslims took offence (subtext because their backward barbaric religion was alien and intolerant).

The argument sounded reasonable enough… if you lived in a bubble in the land of middle class white guy . Sadly Muslims usually don’t have that luxury.

Let me explain it from a different perspective, one that Muslims saw all too clearly.

After all its only a joke!


In 30's America when white people were burning black people on trees, whites could equally have used this argument. After all, there were cartoons even about the president! However, making insulting cartoons about white people who controlled the power structures was not the same as demonizing black people — a powerless underclass.

Imagery of black people being dumb, violent, lazy thieves who looked like monkeys — upheld a political reality, the very imagery re-enforced the prejudices of those in power and subjugated blacks.

The same with Jews in Nazi Germany — Imagine today’s spurious and conceited argument being used by the Nazi’s — could a German newspaper hide behind the claim it also made fun of white Germans? How unjustified that only the Jews complained so! After all, Germans didn’t complain when they were made fun of — those backward Jews and their greedy religion didn’t understand free speech!

White people don’t like to admit it, but those cartoons upheld their prejudice, their racism, their political supremacy, and cut it how you will — images like that upheld a political order built on discrimination.

The Muslims today are a demonized underclass in France. A people vilified and attacked by the power structures. A poor people with little or no power and these vile cartoons made their lives worse and heightened the racist prejudice against them.

Even white liberals have acted in the most prejudiced way. It was as if white people had a right to offend Muslims and Muslims had no right to be offended?

After the massacre of 1000 Muslims by the Egyptian dictator in a single day ,  the paper ran this headline “The Quran is sh*t. It doesnt stop bullets” — Imagine if a Muslim paper did this about them now — still find it funny?


Cue some right wing media white dude (or some Zionist) to now accuse me of justifying the murder —After all, if you are Muslim, explaining things is justifying them right!?

The truth is, this awful attack can not be explained in a vacuum, absent of the context around it. It has to be seen through the prism of events that are going on around the world - with eyes firmly fixed on the wars going on from Palestine to Pakistan.

A global view spreading across the Muslim world is that the West is at war with them (propagandists say this is due to hate preachers — nothing to do with more bombs being dropped on Iraq alone than were used in the whole of the first and second world war).

This anger sweeping the Muslim world is solidifying in the consciousness of millions, re-enforced by daily bombings, kidnappings and of course wars that the West has initiated and engaged in. These policies have led to many Muslims abandoning the belief that they could bring any change peacefully — cue the rise of men taking up arms.

Killing Muslim children doesnt make Muslims take up arms — it's just that they hate freedom of speech, honest!

These images, then, can be played down as just a ‘bit of fun’ as no doubt the least perceptive of you will try to argue, or it can be seen through the prism of the war on terror — just another front on the war against Islam that has claimed so many lives — and the demonology behind it.

The Orientalist racist stereotype of the Muslim humourless barbarian — in this image of the Prophet Muhammad PBUH — it says “100 lashes if you don’t die laughing!”


I argue that we are creating extremists in the bucket load and have done so exponentially since we declared this endless war of terror. Our policies are hardening views on all sides.

To justify its continuation, politicians have to keep lying (via the pliant corporate media) to the public, saying Muslim violence is due to ‘Islamists, Extremists, Hate Preachers — the evil Muslim fairy, or any other word that makes people think the problem is faith and not the real driver — War.

This false narrative is creating extremism in white communities too (note the rise of right wing neo-facists across Europe). And of course as the bombs fall like rain — it hardens opinions and creates extremists in the Muslim world. And both of these people are expressing themselves in very ugly ways — and that’s exactly what happened here.

Twelve people are dead — because the world we are creating — is utterly polarised.

Our bombs dont leave much room for ‘freedoms’ and now neither do theirs.

Extremism leads to extremism — this is just another symptom of the world Bush and Blair gave us and our political classes are determined to keep it going. Read more on this here and here.

Drone strike — another dead Muslim


The two sides are set to clash unless we pull the foot off the accelerator — and our elites don’t have the sense to do that.

By the time the dust settles, there will more attacks against Muslims in the streets, mosques burned down, politicians introducing draconian laws against Muslims, media wall-to-wall demonization and France along with the rest of Europe will lurch right — proving true the very thing these Muslims believe — that the West hates them — and they wouldn't be wholly wrong.

Someone, more powerful than you or I, in the political elites has to have the sense to change the mood music of war and hate, re-look at our policies and have the courage to say:

‘Everyone chill out, put the guns down and lets talk’.

Even if I am wrong, one thing is for sure — to bring an end to this — we've got to do something differently, because what we are doing now — isn’t working.

To discuss you can find me on twitter at @AsgharBukhari

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Charlie Hebdo: This Attack Was Nothing To Do With Free Speech - It Was About War