by Mark Anthony Signorelli (February 2015)
I feel as though this essay requires a sort of apology. To offer yet one more reflection on the Charlie Hebdo incident, at this late date, and with the presumption of saying something which has not yet been said about these events by dozens of other intelligent writers, may risk trying the patience of many readers. But the fact is that among the avalanche of commentary set in motion by these murders, I have found little that reflects my interpretation of their significance, and much that strikes me as grossly misleading cant. more>>>
The article makes many eloquent observations, and one can agree with them, without agreeing that the four million people who marched all over France thought they were defending freedom of expression. I think they were doing something else. The people who turned out all over France, in Paris and Lyon and in tiny towns too (few, however, in Marseille, a city full of Muslims), were reported in the American press as having stood up for "freedom of expression." But was that it? I think it was a general shared sense of fury at the whole situation, at the millions of Muslims whom successive French governments have allowed into France, who have created -- I'll use my pre-fabricated phrase -- a situation for the non-Muslim indigenes that is far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous than would otherwise be the case. In France there were those who tried to say it was a demonstration of "unity" but it was nothing of the kind. Very few Muslims, practically none, participated (and they were all located and interviewed on television), Muslim students mostly mocked the minute of silence in schools, there was no all-Muslim demonstration of either shame or grief. It was not about "freedom of expression" but about something more important --freedom from the Muslims in France, a cry made licit by the circumstances, but also misinterpreted, possibly deliberately, by so many in the French government.
This is the best article on the subject that I've come across. It steers an intelligent middle path between predictable conformists like Michael Curtis and the angry right-wingers who show no sympathy for the victims.
Excellent points. I think the author provides a logical explanation for what must rank as the leading intellectual error in the West: cultural moral equivalence. It's probably the result of the nihilism he speaks of, the loss of faith in Western cultural virtues and the failure to find a worthy replacement. That would explain why those who have a firm sense of identity grounded in traditional Western religious or cultural values tend to be the most adamant in their opposition to the jihad.
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