As "Sibyn" from "EnMasse" knows, I dare to be different! For instance, while most people are patting themselves on the back for their standing-up for freedom of expression in the wake of the killings of the Charlie Hebdo staff, I can only look on with nausea at the ignorance, hypocrisy and narcissism.
You know, NO IF's, AND's, or BUT's, ... those murders were inexcusable, wrong, immoral. Nobody should be killed for their ideas or their writings or their cartoons or their films. But as Glenn Greenwald explains, there are more enemies to freedom of speech than just Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. Anti-Christian works of art are routinely banned. Criticisms of Israeli war-crimes are condemned as "anti-Semitism" and those who express those criticisms often find themselves unemployed. Calls for violence against US and other NATO troops result in police investigations and imprisonment, while calls for the mass-murder of Muslims are ignored. (The former is "radicalization" while the latter is as common as the air we breath.)
I’ve previously covered cases where Muslims were imprisoned for many years in the U.S. for things like translating and posting “extremist” videos to the internet, writing scholarly articles in defense of Palestinian groups and expressing harsh criticism of Israel, and even including a Hezbollah channel in a cable package. That’s all well beyond the numerous cases of jobs being lost or careers destroyed for expressing criticism of Israel or (much more dangerously and rarely) Judaism. I’m hoping this week’s celebration of free speech values will generate widespread opposition to all of these long-standing and growing infringements of core political rights in the west, not just some.There were plenty of opportunities to stand-up for freedom of expression before these murders. The reasons why nobody did have something to do with the systemic failures of our political culture.
Also, you know, while it's a terrible tragedy that those 12 people were viciously murdered, I just can't bring myself to be too emotional about it. Because, after all, haven't we all grown used to people dying in the GBWT? You know, a million Iraqis? How many tens of thousands of Afghans? A quarter-of-a-million Syrians? Thousands of Libyans? Thousands of Palestinians? A newspaper headline today read "France is on edge." I guess they must be. Who knows where the next crazed gunman or bomber will strike? Imagine how people in Pakistan and Yemen feel knowing that a predator drone could be flying unseen above them in the clear blue sky, waiting to literally come out of the blue and kill them, often for no discernible reason. (Three Afghan men picking over a garbage dump for scrap metal were killed by a drone strike once. Apparently, one of the men was tall. So, it might have been goddamned Osama bin Laden picking for scrap metal there. Jeeziz Fucking Christ!)
Now, we read that ISIS has targeted Canada, along with other active participants in the GBWT. And not because of our freedoms, but because of harper and the harpercons' cartoonish, stupid view of the world that has Canada as a loud and proud attack-poodle on the side of US imperialism.
And the insanity of it all! Some guys who got their weapons and their training from the USA, Saudi, Qatar, etc., - backed war between the secular Assad dictatorship and fundamentalist whack-jobs (with said "guys" being on the side of the fundamentalist whack-jobs) go back to France and kill some people, and that means we're supposed to shut-off our brains and cheer on the current (and past, and future) round of bloody US imperialism, and nod our heads in silent agreement to the latest attacks on our freedoms from state surveillance and our legal and human rights!
So, as I said before, after years and years of this GBWT, we're finally starting to see genuine signs of "radicalized" young men acting-out and killing here in Canada (without they're having been instigated by an RCMP informant/provocateur). And it's harper's fault (with a small assist from the craven Liberal governments of Chretien and Martin who signed-on to the illegal US war on Afghanistan, rammed-through the idiotic Anti-Terrorism Act, allowed the donut-munching incompetent desk-jockeys at CSIS to incarcerate innocent men and submit Canadian citizens to torture in Syria, Egypt and the Sudan, and allowed Canada to be implicated in war crimes with their bungled, ignorant, stupid policies for handling prisoners in Afghanistan.
But if we acknowledge this simple truth; if we say that the stupidity and buffoonery of stephen harper has brought bloodshed and death upon us and that the smartest thing we could do would be to STOP taking part in the GBWT, the we'll be accused of cowardice. The lamebrain right-wing morons (for many of which the mass deaths of Muslims and Arabs is gratifying for its own sake) will drag out the word "appeasement" (because everything is Munich, 1937 in their blinkered world-view).
But let's return to that thrilling world of 2001. What was the impetus behind Osama bin Laden's campaign of terror against the United States? Was he disgusted with Americans' freedom, so much that he wanted to rule the world from Baghdad and take their freedoms away? Why don't we stop thinking like six-year-olds and remember what David Cross had to say on the matter:
So, contrary to what the slobbering imbeciles and drooling cretins from the right-wing of the blog-o-sphere insist, ... Islamic fundamentalists are not trying to conquer us (including the USA, and thereby including most, if not all of the entire world) and take our freedoms away. In 2001 it was about Israel, "infidel" military bases in Saudi Arabia, and, if I remember correctly, the mass-murder by sanctions of over 100,000 Iraqis.
After 2001, it was the invasion of Afghanistan and all the torture and degradation that implied.
After 2003, add the invasion of Iraq and the brutal occupation of same. It became the torture and degradation at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. It became the state harassment and popular bigotry against Muslims in Western countries. It became the official support for corrupt dictators in Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia.
All this time, the US political elites were fine with providing Islamic fundamentalist fighters to hone their skills and obtain resources by attacking quasi-independent governments in Libya, and now Syria. Again, these fighters are Sunni fanatics, supported by Sunni fanatic governments. The civil war in Syria went off the rails somewhat when these Sunni fanatics decided to attack Shia-dominated Iraq.
In short, it is a clusterfuck. It has brought untold misery to millions and millions of people. But it is not a clash of civilizations. It is not even a genuine threat to the US world order. Even today, ISIS would not be a threat to the US-imposed "order" in the Middle East; especially if they lost their backing from the Sunni monarchies. The "appeasement" metaphor is therefore completely stupid. We are not in danger of a new Nazi Germany if we simply STOP traipsing around like frenzied psychopaths in the Middle East. The third-world military of Assad's Syria managed to fight them to a stand-still for fuck's sake! (Lately though, ISIS's success in Iraq has prompted other anti-Assad factions to flock to their banner. Which just goes to show again, the Great Bullshit of the BGWT. Supposedly we have to move heaven and earth to prevent ISIS taking over Iraq, but it will be fine if they take over Syria??)
The idea that Al Qaeda will overthrow the West with a few bombings and hijackings should always be laughed at for the ridiculous garbage that it is.
So what can we do about this? As Canadians, what can we do to stop the insanity? What can we do to fight the Great War of Ideas against the conventional wisdom that there is a Great War of Civilization, with "freedom" hanging in the balance? What can we do to STOP creating alienated Muslim men who get access to weapons and training and who seek to lash-out against the societies that enable the slaughter of Palestinians, and Lebanese, and Iraqis? (Which is not to say that these young men busy slaughtering Libyans, Syrians, Iraqis, and Westerners are innocent little lambs. The sorts of young men who would sign-up to do these things were doubtlessly already fucked-up, incoherent idiots for the most part. But there's a lot of that sort of behaviour in the world. It takes certain material conditions, - such as massive support from insane Sunni monarchs -- to give such men the tools they need to actually hurt people.)
As Canadians, we cannot hope to impact the US government. But we can influence our own society and perhaps our own unelected, anti-democratic, criminal scum-bag regime of harpercon religious fanatics, closet-cases, racists and thieves.
1. Condemn the Sunni Arab monarchical dictatorships for the funding and general fostering of Sunni fundamentalist terrorists.
We should make it an uncomfortable, unavoidable reality in the minds of 85% of the people (I think 15% of the country is totally, completely hopeless) that US allies, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, are all deeply involved in providing the money, the weapons, the training, the manpower, for much of the terrorism that we face coming out of the Middle East.
2. Condemn Israeli expansionism for what it is. Take serious steps to provide the Palestinians with a viable state to call their own, even if this includes the "heart-wrenching" dismantling of racist settlers' homes that should never have been built on occupied lands in the first place.
3. Refuse to take further part in occupations and military campaigns that CREATE MORE TERRORISTS.
The FACT that the USA supports Al Qaeda-type groups in Libya, Syria and who knows where else, should have made it obvious to the world that the great fear of terrorism is, for the most part, a fraud.
Well, I'm bushed. I think I'll expand upon those three points in tomorrow's post.