Terrorism in France

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119 Responses

  1. Avatar North says:

    To conservative mouthbreathers- no, all muslims everywhere do not need to denounce the attacks. Muslims are not some monolithic group.
    To liberal mouthbreathers- no Hebdo is in zero way responsible for the attacks. They have every right to satirize whatever they want including religious icons. Muslims are adults, Islam is an old established faith, neither need to be infantalized by the implication that they’re incapable of sustaining criticism through satire.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to North says:

      To be fair, I’ve yet to see anyone claim that Hedbo was responsible. Not sure I’ve seen anyone claim Islam is responsible, though I tend to avoid the corners of the internet where that might happen (which includes the New Atheist corners).Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Chris says:

        I’ve seen a few tweets and scattered expressions of the sort but no formal articles or anything yet. Just trying to polish up my BSDI badge I guess.Report

      • Avatar Jacob in reply to Chris says:

        http://dailycaller.com/2012/09/19/white-house-slams-french-cartoon-amid-election-time-threats-from-islamists/

        White House Press Secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday criticized the “judgment” of a French satirical magazine for publishing cartoons that are critical of the Islamist political movement, amid the routine threat of attacks by Islamists during President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.

        “We are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the prophet Muhammad, and obviously we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this,” Carney told reporters during a midday press briefing at the White House.

        “We know these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential be be inflammatory,” Carney said in a prepared statement.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Well, that’s not blaming them for their own murder by terrorists, and it was also more than 2 years ago, but thanks for reminding me that such distinctions (and apparently the space-time continuum) are lost on partisans.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris says:

        Also those cartoons/images, whatever, quite obviously would be offensive and inflammatory. That is correct. Is violence reasonable in response to irritating cartoons, no and no and some more no. But saying the cartoons would piss people off, even if they are uptight religious folks, is not only accurate but part of the reason they published them.Report

      • Avatar Jacob in reply to Chris says:

        Same magazine. Same “provocation”, that is to say, political speech protected under the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen.

        Different incident, sure, but back then a representative of the United States Government was condemning Hedbo for even inviting the threat of an attack. It’s not a matter of partisanship. You said you hadn’t seen anyone blame the magazine for the extremism directed their way. I provided a citation. We’ve been blaming them for quite some time.Report

      • Avatar Jacob in reply to Chris says:

        Saying “these cartoons are inflammatory” is a statement of fact, and an accurate one.

        Saying “these cartoons are inflammatory, and therefore your publication of the cartoons was an error or lapse in judgment” is an opinion, not to mention a capitulation to thuggery and intimidation.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        The Financial Times appears to come uncomfortably close to taking about shared blame, but aside from that the most I’ve heard is “We need to keep in mind how offensive those cartoons were.”

        More commonly I’m seeing base politicization and a bit of false equivalence (“Christians get mad about sacrilege too”). Oh, and definitely some blaming of Islam.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

        I think I’m a bit lost in this subthread, but this

        You said you hadn’t seen anyone blame the magazine for the extremism directed their way. I provided a citation. We’ve been blaming them for quite some time.

        as a response to Chris’s comments, about according blame, is a bit misleading. Carney’s comments don’t assign blame: they point to a causal arrow. Offensive depictions of Muhammad piss off Muslims. By pointing that out, no one is assigning any blame, it seems to me. Just describing what’s going on.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        Before we get too misty-eyed about France’s commitment to freedom of the press, note that the magazines predecessor was shut down for making fun of Charles de Gaulle’s funeral.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        There is a pretty big difference in my view between saying “don’t publish this” before publication and violence and saying “you shouldn’t have published that” after violence.

        One violence occurs, the offensiveness should cease to matter. Generally speaking.

        That’s my view, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Chris says:

        “Government was condemning Hedbo for even inviting the threat of an attack.”

        “We have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this. We know these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential be be inflammatory”

        I want to make sure I understand that you’re establishing equivalence here.

        Or to quote myself on a Facebook feed today, “I’m not sure the word jihad condemning is the right word for your sentence”Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Jacob, but neither of those things is blaming them for the attacks. And they were said two years ago. Do you not see that?

        Honestly, I’ve said such things are inflammatory, offensive, and irresponsible in the past. I still think they tend to be. I don’t think they justify violence, I don’t think they cause violence in any morally meaningful sense, but I do think they’re wrong for other reasons. Hell, I said the same about Myers and the host several years ago, not because I thought it’d lead to violence, but because I think it’s pointless overgeneralization

        Of course, I think, and the White House I’m sure agrees, that Myers and the French or Dutch or American press have every right to participate in pointless overgeneralization if they so choose, and that they have the right to do so without being killed, and that should they be killed, it is not their fault, but entirely that of their murderers and those who encourage them.

        But again, I really hope you get those distinctions (and understand what time is).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        OK, I see that as I was writing that, Jacob proved that he doesn’t understand the distinctions and the space-time continuum is at least somewhat fuzzy for him. Cool enough, at least I know I don’t have to waste anymore time (though three years from now, Jacob may use this as an example of me not taking conservatives seriously 10 years ago).Report

      • Avatar Jacob in reply to Chris says:

        Here we go. It was only a matter of time.

        Tony Barber, in today’s Financial Times (behind a paywall else I’d link)

        “Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims. If the magazine stops just short of outright insults it is nevertheless not the most convincing champion of the principle of freedom of speech. France is the land of Voltaire, but too often editorial foolishness has prevailed at Charlie Hebdo.

        This is not in the slight to condone the murders, who must be caught and punished, or to suggest that freedom of expression should not extend to satirical portrayals of religion. It is merely to say that some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo and Denmarks Jyllands-Posten, which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.”

        Common sense. As in, don’t poke the bears.Report

      • Avatar Jacob in reply to Chris says:

        Apologies to Will, I clicked through from an email link and didn’t realize he’d already referenced the FT story.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Chris says:

        @jacob

        What is the point of free speech and free expression if you can’t use it to criticize and satirize those you believe to be backward and wrong or the powerful?

        Free Speech is very weak tea if we all keep quiet against certain groups because they are likely to use violence or feel that they have a right to use violence when criticized.

        Charlie Hebdo has a long history of treating nothing seriously. They first got in trouble for making fun of Charles De Gaul.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Chris says:

        To be fair, I’ve yet to see anyone claim that Hedbo was responsible.

        now you have

        http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/01/charlie-hebdo/comment-page-1#comment-1397364Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        It is perhaps unfortunate, and certainly impolitic, to say that in the immediate aftermath of that attack, but what I see them doing there is not blaming them, or suggesting that they are responsible for their own murders, but pushing back on the tendency, which I have seen, to suddenly treat Charlie Hebdo as a champion of free speech and speaking truth to power and so forth. Hell, they basically say exactly this: we’re not blaming, but Charlie Hedbo was not a champion or pillar of free speech.

        Again, perhaps not the most tactful thing to be saying today, but not blaming.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        Dand, now that’s a good example. Notice that pretty much everyone else in that thread takes that person to task for it. Even among those liberals at LGM find blaming them to be pretty shitty, then.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

        Saul,
        it may also be worth noting that the medium of satire may have been about as bad as its message. Drawing people is considered offensive in the first place, let alone drawing The Prophet Mohammed — and then on top of that, satirizing him??

        http://islamqa.info/en/39806Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris says:

        So the point of the LGM was???? One person said they had little sympathy for Hedbo and felt they were race baiting and were generally jerks. The next 20 + comments called that commenter a jerk or fascist or generally told him/her they were an idiot.

        You can prove every group/ideology/whatever is wrong and bad by Nutpicking ( finding stupid comments in comment sections.) Weak sauce.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        greg, North was calling out “mouthbreathers” (I say this as someone who frequently has to breathe through his mouth because of allergies, damn you), so that example certainly counts, even if that person is from the bottom of the barrel.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris says:

        Chris, I was asking about posting the LGM link by Dand. I get the point. Somewhere someplace someone said something stupid. Granted that is true. But it doesn’t really prove much. So what. How significant is it? It is to easy to pull out convenient comments or quotes to make something sound like a major force or issue or belief. Quote mining or Nutpicking is lazy and doesn’t prove anything other then we can all find some idiot who said something that proves what we want to prove.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I don’t think it is significant, really, but I’m glad Dand found it. If nothing else, it provides a contrast to the sort of examples Jacob is using, which aren’t actually examples of people blaming them for their own murder.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        That guy at LGM should have known better to post that, if he didn’t want to get used as an example of someone insufficiently sensitive to the importance of being able to mock sacred cows.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        If he gets doxxed and fired from his job, it’s his own fault.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        The funny thing at LGM was all the commenters insisting that they want hate speech laws just like everyone else, it’s just that killing people for it is going too far.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chris says:

        Hey, there’s a social contract.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris says:

        Also those cartoons/images, whatever, quite obviously would be offensive and inflammatory. That is correct. Is violence reasonable in response to irritating cartoons, no and no and some more no. But saying the cartoons would piss people off, even if they are uptight religious folks, is not only accurate but part of the reason they published them.

        I don’t know about this. In some places, a woman walking down the street with her head uncovered is enough to offend and inflame some. If a woman did that, however, would you say that she did it to piss people off? The black students who sat at whites only lunch counters pissed a lot of people off; yet, we normally don’t talk about them as being inflammatory.

        I don’t know enough about this magazine, or its writers, artists and editorial staff, to know why they did anything that they did. Maybe others do. In the absence of that sort of specific knowledge, however, I think it a mistake to make these sorts of claims.Report

      • Avatar kenB in reply to Chris says:

        Nutpicking is lazy and doesn’t prove anything other then we can all find some idiot who said something that proves what we want to prove.

        Yes, the important thing to remember is that the nuts on our side are the exception, but the nuts on their side are the rule.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

        JR, it seems to me (from what I’ve read) this magazine was pretty clearly intending to provoke. Not violence, but it’s nowhere near the equivalent of a woman wearing clothes that are comfortably bare or just revealing enough to elicit a non-offended response.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris says:

        Everything i’ve heard about this mag says they have a long history of publishing edge pushing/offensive stuff. They mocked DeGaulle’s funeral many years ago, or at least their predecessor did. In any case how plenty of Muslims would see satirical cartoons of the type described seems pretty obvious. I think South Park knows they will piss people off by some of their stuff, seems odd to not know or at least admit that people know they are aiming to piss others off.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        And not just Islam. They’ve had it out for Western religion for a long time. And politicians. And everything else.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Chris says:

        The funny thing at LGM was all the commenters insisting that they want hate speech laws just like everyone else, it’s just that killing people for it is going too far.

        Unless the state does it while attempting to enforce said hate speech laws, of course.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        The solution to cops enforcing bad laws with guns is more scofflaws with guns.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Chris says:

        …it’s nowhere near the equivalent of a woman wearing clothes that are comfortably bare or just revealing enough to elicit a non-offended response.

        OK, but what about a woman wearing a short skirt and showing cleavage. She is very obviously trying to elicit some sort of response, but so what? Absent some sort of very provocative behavior (like wearing that outfit to her job as a third-grade teacher, for example), we judge the response?

        …seems odd to not know or at least admit that people know they are aiming to piss others off.

        Maybe their aim is pure provocation for its own sake, but maybe their aim is to increase the sphere of things that one can do without provoking a response. These things are similar, but they are not the same.

        To use the lunch counter example, the folks who sat at the whites only counters knew that they were going to provoke a response from pro-segregationists, but you would likely not say that their goal was to piss off white people. Their goal was to move towards a state where them sitting at a lunch counter wouldn’t elicit any sort of response. So, maybe the folks at Charlie Hedbo were working towards a future in which anyone who felt that their sacred cows were being metaphorically slaughtered would have the good sense and the common decency to live and let live.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Chris says:

        errrr… WTF?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        @greginak – Everything i’ve heard about this mag says they have a long history of publishing edge pushing/offensive stuff.

        @chris – And not just Islam. They’ve had it out for Western religion for a long time. And politicians. And everything else.

        All this may be true, but I guess I don’t really understand the relevance. Consider this little gem, from America’s sort-of-Charlie Hebdo

        (really, truly, seriously, and in all possible ways, NSFW):

        http://www.theonion.com/articles/no-one-murdered-because-of-this-image,29553/

        If crazed Buddhists or Hindus or Jews or Christians burst into The Onion‘s offices today and gunned 12 people down, should The Onion‘s well-documented history of “edge-pushing” be all that relevant to our discussion?

        I realize people here generally (and you guys specifically) are being careful not to “blame” Charlie Hebdo; but opining on their edgy history, or questioning what they were trying to achieve or their judgement in how they presented their views, feels like it has parallels to questioning the history and judgement of rape victims after the fact – whether or not there’s any validity to the points or future lessons to be learned, right now is maybe not the time.

        It feels too much like “Maybe it would have been better if Charlie Hebdo wasn’t always getting wasted at the office Christmas party and wearing those provocative cartoons in front of the wrong guys.”

        It may not be victim-blaming, exactly, but it’s hard for it not to sound like it.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Chris says:

        Glyph,
        No, we do not blame the innocent. Nor shall we blame the provacateur, for the punch thrown at his head. I will laugh if this particular provacateur wasn’t expecting this, though.

        It is quite possible to accidentally get death threats (it SOUNDED like a great business opportunity! It wasn’t even real bacon! Who knew they’d find it offensive?)… but, um, this isn’t that.

        I know what I’m doing when I choose to patronize an artinstallation/restaurant that gets death threats (and has people taking notes on who comes and goes).

        But let me put this a little softer — were this only a bookburning? Then would you call it their fault, for having published something so provocative? So indecent?Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        I was just clarifying (and so, I believe, was greg) because there were inquiries (see J R above), and as I said above in reference to the FT article, it’s definitely not the time to accuse them of being irresponsible, but if we’re merely pointing out that they’re jerks, I’m not sure this applies:

        but opining on their edgy history, or questioning what they were trying to achieve, or their judgement in how they presented their views, feels like it has parallels to questioning the history and judgement of rape victims after the fact – whether or not there’s any validity to the points or future lessons to be learned, right now is maybe not the time.

        If for no other reason than that being perceived as jerks is their explicit goal. That is, it’s just describing them as they’d want to be described.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Chris says:

        To expand on that a bit, I think their raison d’etre is to offend and make people uncomfortable (e.g., their cartoons depicting Jewish people tend to use a bunch of the major racist physical stereotypes of Jewish people, and that’s entirely intentional). It’s what they enjoy doing, and they don’t apologize for it. So I don’t think pointing this out is at all inappropriate.Report

      • Avatar greginak in reply to Chris says:

        @glyph I don’t think pointing out CH or for that matter The Onion, which love, likes to poke sensitive spots or in some cases massively pushes buttons excuses any of the violence. It is simply descriptive. CH seems to like to push buttons, thats fine with me, but if somebody does like to push buttons then it seems to fair to not deny it. They should be able to mock every bodies gods without fear of violence and its a shame that isn’t the world we live in, but that is separate topic.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Chris says:

        Bill Donohue says Muslims are right to be angry

        http://www.catholicleague.org/muslims-right-angry/Report

      • Avatar Anonymous in reply to Chris says:

        Welcome to the corner.

        Islam is absolutely responsible for the attacks. It is a violent and hateful religion founded by a pedophile turned desert warrior. Its issues will not be addressed from “inside” the religion because the core of it is violent millenialism.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

        @j-r

        “OK, but what about a woman wearing a short skirt and showing cleavage. She is very obviously trying to elicit some sort of response, but so what?”

        Um… why is that “obvious”? Would a woman only wear a short skirt and show cleavage to draw a response? Maybe that’s just what she likes to wear.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

        The same Bill Donohue who said

        Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It’s not a secret, OK? And I’m not afraid to say it.

        is throwing gasoline on this fire? I’m shocked.Report

      • Avatar RTod in reply to Chris says:

        Anonymous – If you want to be critical of Islam here you’ll need to provide light, not heat.

        First and last warning.Report

  2. Avatar Stillwater says:

    I’m not sure this was an attack on freedom of speech. Seems to me it was more an attack on flesh and blood human beings. And even if we roll with the idea that pissed off Muslims killed those folks, the incident still isn’t an attack on free speech. It’s an attack on folks who denigrated Allah.

    Sure, freedom of speech comes into it. But waaaaay down the road.Report

    • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Stillwater says:

      If they were killed for something the newspaper published, it’s a direct attack on freedom of the press, and an implicit threat against every other newspaper and magazine that they might be next.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        They hate us for our freedoms!!!Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        They hate everyone who dares to publish something they find offensive.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I think they hate the offense and don’t really give a rats ass about conventions regarding publishing practices. Eg, they’re probably not pissed off about equally cartoonish depictions of Kim Jong-un.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        I think it’s possible to say that the act threatens freedom of the press, and therefore is in fact an assault on it, even if freedom of the press was not something the attackers cared about in any way (though the behavior of extremists in Iraq and Syria certainly suggests that it is, in fact, something they think and care about a great deal).Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        If you’re saying that the point of the shootings wasn’t to score debating points against the principle of freedom of the press, sure.

        But when people are killed for publishing something unpopular, freedom of the press isn’t way down the road, it’s right there.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        even if freedom of the press was not something the attackers cared about in any way

        And if so, then the attack cannot be described as “an attack on freedom of speech,” even if wecan tease out some of the logical entailments and such.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        But Mike, the motivations for these killings (assuming the assumed narrative) aren’t a response to the failure of government to make cartoonish depictions of Muhammed illegal. They’re a response to cartoonish depictions of Muhammed.Report

      • I dunno. Seems to me that shutting down speech was a big part of the goal here. I have trouble differentiating between that and attacking free speech.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        So they think there’s a right to make fun of Mohammed, but there’s also a right to kill the people who did it afterward,Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Hmm… I suppose that’s just not the theory of events or actions that I hold. For me, effects/consequences matter as much as intentions in evaluating and labeling events/actions.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Will,

        Because free speech is a legal concept. Insult is a personal one. Look at it the other way around: if it’s true that this is primarily a free speech issue, then we wouldn’t be having any of these problems if Muslims just realized that people have the right to draw cartoonish depictions of Muhammed.

        Stoopid Muslims.

        BY the way, what I’m arguing here is in no way a defense of either their actions or their motivations. It’s only to point out that viewing this as a free-speech issue wildly misses the point regarding what’s at issue and won’t lead to any resolution of the underlying problem. (Assuming the assumed narrative, of course.)Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Stillwater,
        Yes, to actually strike a blow for free speech involves some rather creative (and anatomically improbable) depictions of Aborigines.Report

      • I consider “free speech” to be more than just a legal first amendment issue here. France doesn’t even have a first amendment,does it? It seems to me in this context, it’s the right to speak freely without being censored, arrested, threatened, physically or materially assaulted (losing your job not counting) or killed.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Well, whether you want to call that conception moral or I want to call it legal seems to me a distinction without a difference since it still miss the point, which is that the Muslims who killed the Hedbo cartoonists not only don’t share your views, they don’t care about em. So the attack isn’t over your perceived freedoms, it’s about their perceived insult.Report

      • It’s a combination of the perceived insult and their belief that freedom of speech either doesn’t exist or doesn’t apply to insults directed at Mohammad (paging “Tanya Cohen”…). That doesn’t make it not a free speech issue, to me, at least from our perspective (how we treat it, and how we respond to it). They may not accept our framing of it, but we don’t have to accept theirs.

        They want to prevent speech from occurring, and are using violence as a means to that end. That makes it an issue not just of violence, but of freedom of speech. It’s not just a (potential) consequence of what they did and threaten to do, but the desired consequence.

        This may well be non-productive in settling our differences. But I don’t see a settlement of differences that this is standing in the way of. If they can’t handle the fact that we believe that this publication has a right to print their cartoons (and not to have a violent response), and we can’t handle that they have a right to a violent response, where does that leave us?Report

      • @stillwater I get what you’re trying to say, but I don’t think it’s very helpful or persuasive. Sure, it was about the insult, and specifically about seeking to silence insults. But insults are speech – legally, morally, whatever. “We will prevent you from insulting us by any means necessary” is indistinguishable from “we will prevent you from criticizing us.”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Well, I thought it was helpful!Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        In short, there is no right to be free from offense. Not in a free society, anyway.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Mark, here’s another way to say it: the reason this event is wrong is not because it’s an attack on free speech. It’s wrong because 12 people are dead. And to try to account for the actions of the killers as an attempt to silence free speech categorically misses the point. Speech is a legal issue (or in Will’s case a moral one), but the folks who pulled the triggers (assuming the assumed narrative) were not motivated to act based on a legal or moral difference of opinion.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        In short, there is no right to be free from offense. Not in a free society, anyway.

        And being offended does not justify the deaths of 12 people. I think we all agree that the killers were wrong (they’re murders!) and should be punished, yeah? But not because they’re trying to deny freedom of expression.Report

      • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        What if their goal was (as seems to be quite likely) not only to avenge the insult but to send a threat about the consequences of future insults? That’s nothing other than an attempt to control speech.Report

      • Avatar Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Mike makes the point.

        It is possible that the deaths were not about sending a message to other media outlets, and were only about avenging the insult, but I think that is a remote possibility, given that 12 are dead, and not just the cartoonist.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        They hate us for our freedoms???

        We’re back to that???Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        They don’t hate us for our freedoms, just for how we abuse them by mocking things that are very important to them.Report

      • Whites who lynched black folks in Crowland were not simply guilty of murder. The other thing – the message – was also pretty important.

        The violence here is only a part of the equation. The message is also important, and the message is one against the freedom to say unacceptable things.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Jaybird,

        Exactly!Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        …just for how we abuse them by mocking things that are very important to them.

        I am guessing that this comment was tongue-in-cheek, but it presents an opportunity for me to say that talk about “abusing” freedoms makes no sense. If you believe in freedom, then freedom cannot be abused. When people sincerely talk about abusing freedoms, it is almost always a way of trying to circumscribe freedom.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Personally, I think that if people don’t like mockery of the Prophet, they should go to Somalia.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        j r,

        If you believe in freedom, then freedom cannot be abused.

        Well two things. The Muslims who killed those folks clearly do not believe in the same things you do, in particular, the freedom to mock Muhammad. Second, Jaybird said nothing about abusing freedom, just abusing people for the beliefs they hold.Report

      • @stillwater

        They hate us for our freedoms???
        We’re back to that???

        That narrative was pretty wrong in 2001, etc., but in this case, it’s surely appropriate to at least say that these particular terrorists killed in order to stop an exercise of freedom that they disliked. I don’t think we need to say they hate “us” for our freedoms – just that they (and we should be very clear about who “they” are – the extremists) will use any means necessary to stop freedom from being exercised when they don’t like how it’s being exercised. That “they” wish to use violence and the threat of violence to chill speech they dislike. That “they” will do so even where they do not possess complete and total control of the mechanisms of government and can do so only by resorting to what in their warped and censorious minds is vigilante justice.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        The Muslims who killed those folks clearly do not believe in the same things you do, in particular, the freedom to mock Muhammad.

        And that is part of what makes them wrong.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        j r,

        No, I’d say what makes them wrong is that they think killing other people because of the mockery is justified – that the offense warrants the “punishment” – and not because they don’t have a healthy enough respect for freedom of expression. They could be entirely silent about the virtues of free speech and still think the mockery warranted murder. Or didn’t warrant it, for that matter. The two things just seem completely divorced to me. We can of course link them up. I just think that’s unhelpful in understanding what actually happened. They were pissed off about having their prophet mocked. What’s the appropriate resolution to that problem? Give em a stern lecture about free speech rights? Send em to Somalia?Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Stillwater,
        the most effective response is to quote their religion, and tell them to get a trial for the author/cartoonists.

        Well, it would work if the people weren’t crazypants. And I don’t think everyone who shoots a provacateur (or Dr. Tiller, who while not a provocateur, was certainly standing on the fireanthill) is crazypants.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        @stillwater

        There is no need to link anything. These things are already linked. You cannot separate extremism (religious, ideological, nationalist, whatever) from insufficient respect for other people’s freedom or thought and expression. The lack of the latter defines the former. This is precisely why extremists attack symbolic targets. This is why when extremists take over governments, they shutter the media outlets of the opposition and police the artistic and educational institutions.

        We can of course link them up. I just think that’s unhelpful in understanding what actually happened.

        <
        I am curious to hear your understanding of what actual happen.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        j r,

        I think we’ve about exhausted this topic, so this’ll be my last. Feel free to correct the record.

        I am curious to hear your understanding of what actual happen.

        As I mentioned above, the bare minimum: that Muslims killed 12 people in response to published cartoons mocking Muhammad.

        But I think it’d be fair to ask you the same thing given the elaborate analysis you provide of the psychological state and motivations of extremists and all, one which, somewhat unsurprisingly, circularly justifies the precise topic at issue. You might be right, of course, but not on the evidence we have, and simply labeling them as “extremists” doesn’t do much to resolve whatever issue these killings present.

        I wanna add that I think the killers are extremists too, but for different reasons: killing 12 people is an extreme response to people mocking your religion.Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Stillwater says:

      I dunno about that, Still. If somebody walks into some widget distribution office and murders 12 people, that’s awful, but it doesn’t have the same corrosive effect on civil society as murdering journalists in retaliation for their work. If somebody assassinates a Congressman, they’ve both carried out an attack on a particular individual and also an attack upon the integrity of our system of government.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Don Zeko says:

        Yeah, I agree, but I think that begs the basic question I’m asking here: whether or not viewing this as an attack on some high principle and all. But moving past the violence for a minute, if I were to draw up a series of cartoons mocking Jews (say, I pick that group specifically since there were lots of such cartoons once upon a time), and continued to do so after Jews had expressed that they found those cartoons insulting, disrespectful, etc., then I don’t think my shouting “freedom of speech!” really loudly constitutes a legitimate defense for my actions. Furthermore, it violates the cultural conventions we currently accept (which is why that type of lampooning isn’t very commonplace anymore).

        Which is why, getting back to the violence, I prefer to view it as an expression of a handful of folks who clearly represent a threat to the social order, but not because they’re attacking free speech. It’s because they think murdering folks for mocking their religion is warranted. The fact that everyone’s shouting “but it’s an attack on free speech” are missing the real problem here. Either these folks were an random few radicals and this is just an isolated event or the view they have are embraced by a larger of people who are willing to kill others who offend their own conceptions of religion.

        Btw, Mark offered a solution to the problem, one which I don’t think anyone has commented on: keep publishing the very same types of Islam mocking cartoons and let the chips fall where they may. That solution strikes me as placing principle above practice in ways that are easy to say when you’re not in the line of fire. But he might be right. It seems to me it might be equally easy for folks to refrain from insulting other people. Sorta like cartoonists no longer lampoon Jews.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Some people really can’t take a joke.Report

  4. Avatar LWA says:

    Agreed with North’s first comment completely.
    Tracing a simplistic causal arrow back to Islam generally, or free press generally, is foolish.

    But that phrase “causal arrow” is worth a good look.
    What really underlies this attack? Levantine barbarism? Organized religion?
    I mean, the immediate cause is a near-sociopathic choice made by 3 men. Period.

    But there’s more where that came from, isn’t there?

    There is a lot of rage within the world’s Muslim community, only part of it directed at the West.
    We are shocked at violence, but I think its helpful to remember how much carnage has been going on, for decades, in the Mideast. The Iran-Iraq war (claiming millions of lives), the Iraqi-Kuwaiti war (tens of thousands), the American-Afghan war (tens of thousands) the American-Iraq war (hundreds of thousands) Syrian civil war (hundreds of thousands),the Eqyptian revolution, Libyan revolution, Yemeni revolution….and on and on.
    Not to mention the low level terror and brutality inflicted on the various populations by their own dictatorial governments.

    Once the genie of warmaking gets unleashed, its pretty hard to stop, or even control.

    I only bring all this up, because I know with certainty that there will be furious calls for the West to bomb someone, anyone, anywhere, just to make sure that blood is repaid with blood.

    Which will satiate the public. Until the next attack.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to LWA says:

      Part of the weird dynamic that I see going on is how there is a huge chunk of people who are arguing something to the effect of “This is not about Islam, how dare you smear Islam by calling this an attack by anything but a group of disturbed individuals!” and the people who are arguing against the same people that that first group is arguing against saying “Well, what did you expect when White European Culture punches down?”Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

        To some extent, it’s both and neither.
        Americans do not see a cartoon as being an offensive piece of art (neither do the French). However, many Muslims do.

        So, I do understand that this is REALLY offensive — to the point of rioting, offensive. If someone “satirized” MLK by implying that he slept with white women — there’s cultural context there, some of it non-obvious [he was a minister, right?], that amplifies the offense.

        Also, people are notoriously bugfuck crazy about religion.

        That said, Islam is a religion of peace. It’s definitely definitely not about killing people for stupid crap like this.Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Jaybird says:

        There does seem to be a whole lot of shock when violence erupts and harms the innocent bystanders.
        Like when that crowd dragged that white trucker out in 1992 LA riots, and beat him; Even people who grasped the underlying harm of centuries of racism were surprised that a black mob would beat someone who had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

        As if they expected the black people to form up in an orderly army and selectively find, attack and beat senseless just the precise perpetrators of the racism and no one else.(Warrant for the beating of Police Chief Darryl Gates- come with us- the rest of you white cops, remain as you were.”)

        As if we all haven’t read history, and seen how warmaking inevitably leads to wholesale indiscriminate slaughter, of the guilty and innocent alike.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        Now, I’m not saying that George Tiller was asking to get shot. Heaven forbid! I’m just saying that his getting shot was avoidable by such steps as him not performing abortions.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        Even people who grasped the underlying harm of centuries of racism were surprised that a black mob would beat someone who had absolutely nothing to do with any of it.

        There is a term to describe how anyone could be genuinely surprised that the beating of Reginald Denny could occur during the Los Angelos “uprisings:” white privilege.Report

      • Avatar Kimmi in reply to Jaybird says:

        Jay,
        All that I ask, is when someone chooses to tread the line, they understand that punches may get thrown. Bullets may get shot.

        Tread the line all you please, I’ll cheer from way back here.

        But at least be cognizant that you might get hurt, and so might innocents.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird aren’t we stepping pretty close to saying that it’s wrong to criticize offensive speech at all? If somebody were to bomb the Westboro Baptist church tomorrow, should everybody that’s criticized them over the years be apologizing and walking it back? If not, what kind of criticism are we ok with and what are we not? If I think that a guy like Bill Maher says a bunch of ignorant and offensive stuff about Islam, can I say that I think that’s offensive and ignorant? Can I only do so so long as he’s not getting death threats, but if he gets death threats I have to rally around the flag? Or does the precise way in which I criticize his statements with which I disagree matter?

        These are genuine questions, not just attempts to score points. Certainly there’s something unseemly about being critical of the sort of speech Charlie Hebdo engaged in right now, and certainly blaming them for being the victim of terrorism is ridiculous. But when and how does one mix in criticism of their speech, which is something that people have just as much of a right to engage in as they have a right to mock Muslims?Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

        @jaybird

        I think it is more about assimilation than anything else and this time it is Muslims who are not being assimilated.

        The United States has been much better at assimilating and Americanizing people than European countries. Serial might be an interesting example here because both Syed and his girlfriend were first-generation Americans and they assimilated very quickly and were more or less indistinguishable from any other American teenager. As I understand it, Europe’s Muslims have largely not assimilated as well because of a combination of xenophobia and partially choice.*

        So it is possible that a more assimilated immigrant population would not be prone to extremist politics and terrorism.

        *IIRC Europe’s muslims were generally much poorer and less educated than the Muslims that come over to the United States either temporarily or permanently.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        As I understand it, Europe’s Muslims have largely not assimilated as well because of a combination of xenophobia and partially choice.*

        You conveniently left out the nature of the European welfare state.Report

      • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Jaybird says:

        @j-r or the larger numbers of immigrants, or the differing demographics of Muslim immigrants to Europe vs. Muslim Immigrants to the US.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird says:

        As with complex social dynamics in this country, the complex social dynamics of France are not reducible to simple linear causes. There are a lot of immigrants, children of immigrants, grandchildren of immigrants, and great grandchildren of immigrants from Africa (Saharan and Sub-) who don’t feel French, but have lived in France for most or all of their lives. The society is seriously segregated, particularly around Paris, with the non-European French population spread out across the banlieues (it looks like the attackers came from one, Gennevilliers), unemployment is extremely high and job prospects are nil, especially for youth, there’s more than a little racial discrimination, etc., etc. Xenophobia plays a role, the welfare state plays a role, but there are a lot of reasons why there is tension between French citizens of African descent and French citizens of European descent.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        @don-zeko

        OK. None of those is mutually exclusive to what I said. I didn’t say that the nature of the European welfare state was the one and only cause.Report

      • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

        The other problem, along with the evil Welfare State, is that the concept of jui soli vs Jus_sanguinis. If you’re in America and you have a kid, in the eyes of most American’s, you’re an American, plain and simple even if some of us may use a hyphen. On the other hand, you can be considered not French or German for many generations in those places, due to citizenship laws.

        Which ya’ know, should show the dangers of created a secondary class of people in the US because we’re scared of the browning of America, but that hasn’t stopped the call for a guest worker program.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

        @j-r

        @chris lays out the complexities of the issue very well. The Welfare State might play a part but it is too easy, too wrong, and too much of an easy political swipe to say that Europe would not have these issues if they became like Republicans in their view on the welfare state.Report

      • Avatar j r in reply to Jaybird says:

        …it is too easy, too wrong, and too much of an easy political swipe to say that Europe would not have these issues if they became like Republicans in their view on the welfare state.

        Then I suppose it is a good thing that I did not say that.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Jaybird says:

        @j-r, in some countries I’d say that its more because of the remnants of the Pillar system. In other countries, its because a combination of delayed guilt over the Jew hatred combined with growing notions of multiculturalism prevented assimilation. Plus, most European countries thought that the Muslims would go home after earning enough money so there was no need to assimilate them. American immigration assumed your coming to the United States for good.

        I really fail to see how the European welfare state prevents assimilation except maybe that the social housing estates do create ready made ghettos for minority groups.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

        @don-zeko I fear that that’s going to be one of the outcomes.

        But when and how does one mix in criticism of their speech, which is something that people have just as much of a right to engage in as they have a right to mock Muslims?

        Well, at this point, I’d like to point out that if the individuals in question kept it to “criticism”, we’d have a lot fewer comments to this post here. So to answer your question about “what kind of criticism are we okay with?”, I’d say “all of it”. And the criticism of criticism. And the criticism of criticism of criticism. And all the way down. Forever.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LWA says:

      I will be a bit surprised is the result of this is military action.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        France isn’t shy about using its military forces abroad. They’ve done everything the US has done since the end of the Cold War, minus Iraq II (but plus Iraq III, as well as Cote D’ivoire, Sierra Leone, and most recently Mali.Report

    • Avatar Mark Thompson in reply to LWA says:

      I only bring all this up, because I know with certainty that there will be furious calls for the West to bomb someone, anyone, anywhere, just to make sure that blood is repaid with blood.

      Which will satiate the public. Until the next attack.

      I fear that this much is correct. Indeed, if that is the response, it will be even more misguided than previous occasions where we’ve responded by bombing.

      Speech cannot be defended against threats of violence with violence. Much of what makes the right to speak important and valuable is that its power lies in its lack of violence. It is not merely AN alternative to violence, it is in many ways THE alternative to violence.

      No, speech can only be defended against violence by showing how it is more powerful than violence. It can be defended against violence only by allowing it to flourish and spread even in the face of violence. In this case, defending speech means spreading the very speech that was the supposed impetus for the attack. It means fully accepting that doing so may risk turning the wrath of the attackers and their supporters on you, while recognizing that if enough others do the same, the extremists will be powerless to stop it, and will have no reason to single you, particularly, out.

      This is exactly what our media organizations are doing.

      Oh, wait: http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/01/07/ap-censors-muhammad-cartoons.html?via=twitter_page

      On the other hand, it was precisely what Charlie Hedbo seems to have been doing: http://www.vox.com/2015/1/7/7507861/charlie-hebdo-cartoon/in/7271890Report

  5. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I just got home from work and heard mention of this on Freddie’s page. My immediate response is unprintable.Report

  6. Avatar Tim Kowal says:

    This tragic event is interesting coming on the heels of al-Sisi’s New Year’s Day remarks, commemorating Muhammed’s birthday:

    “I say and repeat again that we are in need of a religious revolution. You, imams, are responsible before Allah. The entire world, I say it again, the entire world is waiting for your next move… because this umma is being torn, it is being destroyed, it is being lost—and it is being lost by our own hands.”

    Islam’s not monolithic, but al-Sisi understands you can’t chalk up these events as “workplace violence.”Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Tim Kowal says:

      It’s interesting that, at this moment, huge numbers of Islamic extremists across a huge swath of territory covering two countries (and in some ways more) are fighting active wars primarily against other Muslims. This appears, in fact, to be the main focus of extremists at the moment: killing other Muslims.Report

    • Avatar LWA in reply to Tim Kowal says:

      Which is why I am disinclined to view this attack as being about cartoons, or even speech in general.

      Had Charlie Helbo not existed, these 3 men would have found a target elsewhere.

      there are wars- multiple wars- raging across the Islamic world, and some of them involve the Western powers.

      We can’t suddenly extricate ourselves from that part of the world- the political and economic bonds between their governments and ours are too many; We can’t wade in and “fix” it, with bombers or money.

      This is going to take a lot of political/ diplomatic engagement, for a long time, and will likely get worse before it gets better.Report