By Kam Zarrabi
Benjamin Netanyahu in Paris (cartoon by Mohammad Tahani, Arman daily
The impressive show of solidarity in Paris over the weekend was, at least in the mind of this observer, one of the greatest open exhibitions of mass hypocrisy anywhere. No, I am not in any way condoning the terrorist acts by some extremist elements against the publishers of some silly, distasteful and blatantly racist cartoons.
Even the French, the champions of freedom of expression, limit that freedom by having laws that ban what is regarded as hate-speech. Hate-speech should be defined as the kind of expression that might be so offensive to groups or individuals that could result in unlawful discrimination or lead to violence. That of course depends on the degree of sensitivity of the folks who might be the target of such free speech. The question then becomes who or what decides whether certain expression or speech constitutes hate-speech, or whether a given group has the legal right to feel offended by such expression.
So, dozens of heads of states, some officially invited and some who volunteered, showed up to take part in this show of solidarity with the French, each supposedly declaring “Je Suis Charlie”. France’s Western European partners were naturally quite sympathetic and understandably concerned about similar events possibly taking place in their countries with large Muslim communities. Some heads of states of French speaking African Muslim countries had come to demonstrate their “something”! Were they approving of the Charlie Hebdo cartoon caricatures by standing behind the banner of Je Suis Charlie!? I’d dare say definitely not.
The Iranian President, certainly not among the invitees or among those self-invited guests, had condemned the act of terror in Paris and had said that Iran condemns terrorism against any group, anywhere in the world. He had good reasons to say that. Acts of terrorism by individuals and groups funded by the Saudis and masterminded by Israel’s Mosad at Iran’s borders and in the streets of Tehran, which have taken hundreds of lives of border guards and scientists, as well as cyber-terrorism, not to forget the illegal sanctions - economic terrorism against a nation - are a reminder.
The Lebanese Shi’ite Hezbollah group, as well as the Sunni Palestinian Hamas group, both had condemned the Paris terrorism, much to Senator McCain’s disbelief when he referred to it as a “bizarre” thing during an interview on CNN. Mr. McCain, like his co-radicals in the U. S. Congress, knows that both those groups are terrorist organizations, so labeled by Israel because they dare to confront Israel’s blatant acts of terrorism!
From some news sources within Israel, the French President, Holand, did not want to invite the Israeli leader, Netanyahu, to the Paris solidarity gathering. In fact, when he heard that Netanyahu intended to come, anyway, Holand tried to discourage him, but to no avail. Mr. Holand then decided to invite Mahmud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority to come to balance out Netanyahu’s presence: What a charade!
Netanyahu, the leader of the state regarded globally (outside of sphere of the Anglo-Saxon communities, of course) as the world’s most notorious promoter of international terrorism, was supposed to be on the second row as the group began to march ahead; but he somehow elbowed his way to the front and began to wave to the crowds, grandstanding as though he was the honored guest and it was all about him: how typical of this master of chutzpah!
Interesting how the CNN reporters in Paris are focusing on the carnage in the Jewish grocery store and the loss of four Jewish lives, while quite condescendingly pointing to the young Muslim fellow who had helped protect some of the Jewish folks during the terrorist attack. How generous of CNN, admitting that there indeed are some among the barbaric tribes who exhibit a degree of humanness. A while back a potentially dangerous gorilla in some zoo had also actually helped save the life of a child who had fallen inside its enclosure. So, perhaps not all Muslims are to be feared as bloodthirsty terrorists!
What kind of a message are we receiving from that kind of reportage?
In the meantime, in a small town in northeast Nigeria, 2000 innocent civilians had just been massacred by the terrorist group, Boko Haram; not 17 people as in Paris, but 2000 mostly women and children, and none of them cartoonists or guilty of any insult to anyone. Of course, they were Muslims killed by an extremist group, and they were all Black! Muslims and Black, a double jeopardy; and no “solidarity” parade by the heads of states of the more “civilized” world to protest and prevent such horrific events.
Now a final quiz:
Just for fun, suppose we each have a magical tablet with three buttons on it, a black, a red and a white button. By pressing the black button all the populations in the world who do not like us or whom we do not like for whatever reason, would change their ways through some miracle and become our obedient, admiring friends and allies so that we can all get along and coexist happily ever after. By pressing the red button, a certain incurable virus or some other disaster causes them all, those who hate us or whom we hate, to vanish from the face of the globe. If we press the white button the status quo will continue and our destinies will take their natural course.
Question #1: How long would it take for one or the other of the buttons to be pressed by any of us? Please try to be honest.
Question #2: Where are those populations and who are those people to be converted or vanquished?
Question #3: Which button do you think Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham would press?
Question #3: Don’t we wish there actually was such a magic trick?
Give that some thought and pause to appreciate how disturbingly similar we are emotionally to those we criticize, and ponder what awaits humanity.
|Kam Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
... Payvand News - 01/13/15 ... --