Our Own Tribes: Charlie Hebdo and Kandahar Massacres

Time for a limb climb.

"I'm a very common meme in Cairo"
Not that I'm an expert in foreign affairs, terrorism, or Islamic studies...

Like most of us, my wiser part of valor might stay respectfully silent during the Charlie Hebdo marches.  But my wife is from Paris (her brother kissed two of the victims the day before they were killed), and via Facebook I find myself at a crossroads between conservative and liberal friends, from the New England and Missouri/Arkansas, from Christian kin, and Muslim friends in Cameroon, Egypt, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Senegal, etc.

I was not really prepared for my first federal job, as a Cross Cultural Trainer for the United States Peace Corps in Ngaoundere (serving under esteemed also-thrown-into-the-fire Judi Brown).  But I had to make do.  And as I see my French nieces and nephews posting #JeSuisCharlie, and see the Arabic posts from friends in Cairo (now usually images of their messages, posted as JPG, so that they cannot be auto-translated or screened by authorities or NSA), and I hear the pain of Christian Coptic (Zabaleen) friends seeking asylum in Montreal, I feel like writing down a few words, in memory of the staff at Charlie Hebdo.  But I also want to offer a different defense for offended Muslims than what I'm hearing from the politically correct press.

Some are accusing the press of cowardice for not reposting the offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed, drawn by the Staff at Charlie Hebdo.   I posted it to friends on Facebook, but would also hesitate to post it on the public blog or via Twitter.

My personal Facebook reaction (over the actual image of the cartoon, linked at Huffington Post), stresses the irony.  The cartooned Prophet is wincing, covering his face, and in the thought balloon we read "c'est dur d'etre aimé par des cons", which became a Charlie Hebdo documentary about irony of cruelty in the name of a holy man who preached tolerance, and considered Jesus Christ a prophet.

The controversial comic published by French humor magazine "Charlie Hebdo".   Irony vs. Piety?   Rough translation of the Prophet's quote "It's hard to be loved by assholes".  While I understand the idea that this image is Muhammed (rather than an image of some lesser ayatollah) is extremely offensive, we need to translate "The Streisand Effect" into Arabic.   I would never have looked up the image, or seen it, or posted it, if not for Les Cons.
From Huff Post article: "The Streisand Effect got its name when Barbra Streisand attempted to sue a photographer, who while documenting California coastal erosion also snapped her beachfront domicile -- which the singer-actress viewed as a breach of privacy. Ironically, it was her lawsuit, and not the photographer's compendium of visual research, that ended up drawing attention to the photos of Streisand's home, as well as getting this "effect" named after her."
The firebombing of the comic magazine's office in 2011 did not reduce comedians interest in the topic.   By the way, last night the family watched "The Interview" on demand TV, paying $5.99 we likely never would have paid without North Korea's Kim Jong Un's reaction to the picture.  Feel a little sorry for B. Streisand, but the Assholes are giving her name immortality.
But I'm also interested, always, in accidental racism, or profiling, and treating people by different standards according to how similar we find ourselves to them.  It seems akin to short-sightedness.  Everyone is asking how we don't hear more self-criticism from other groups... like Muslims.

That's a key lesson to this controversy, in my opinion.

I would wager that most of the 1.6 billion Muslims remember Staff Sargent Robert Bales better than most Americans.   I confess, I had to go look up his name.  He is the US Army uniformed officer who went out at night and murdered 16 civilian women and children.  From Wikipedia:
"The Kandahar massacre, more precisely identified as the Panjwai Massacre[1] occurred in the early hours of March 11, 2012, when United States Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales murdered sixteen civilians and wounded six others in the Panjwayi District of Kandahar ProvinceAfghanistan. Nine of his victims were children, and eleven of the dead were from the same family. Some of the corpses were partially burned."   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kandahar_massacre

The wikipedia editor for Kandahar Massacre is still open for edits (the word "seargent" is misspelled).

On the other hand, the wikipedia article for Charlie Hebdo Shooting is locked... no additional edits.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Hebdo_shooting.  It's interesting that at the end of the CharlieHebdo article, a long list of public official denunciations follows.  No such list of disclaimers under the Robert Bales article.

I wouldn't completely disagree with Rupert Murdoch about the importance of speaking out loudly about transgressions from within my own tribe.  But who worse at failing to call out transgressions of their own (conservative) tribe than @FoxNews?  Not much for climbing out on a limb yourself, Rupert.
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The list of disavowals and declarations is most interesting, perhaps, because they drown out a very important public address made the day before the event, on the Prophet Muhammed's observed birthday (New Years Day) by the leader of Egypt, president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
(CNN)Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has called for a "religious revolution," asking Muslim leaders to help in the fight against extremism...  "This is antagonizing the entire world. It's antagonizing the entire world! Does this mean that 1.6 billion people (Muslims) should want to kill the rest of the world's inhabitants -- that is 7 billion -- so that they themselves may live? Impossible!​"
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi remarked how ridiculous it is to think that 1.6 billion Muslims want to kill the remainder of Earth's 7 billion residents.   But he did not dodge the question... if just 5 million of the 1.6 billion Muslims believe in killing non-believers, it's a small minority, and an incredibly large problem.

He could have made the remark I've heard about the USA Marines.  It just takes one asshole like Robert Bales to make all American uniforms unwelcome.   But el-Sisi kept the focus on his own team, and for that reason, his speech is heard in Europe and the USA.

The two events, in 2015 Paris and 2015 Kandahar, are not directly comparable.  But in both cases a source of pride (US military service personnel, or Islamic faith) is suddenly embarrassed by an unasked-for masked killer, acting as the unauthorized representative.

Self-examination is not something any group is famous for.   Southern Americans don't tend to call out segregation, African Americans don't want to talk all the time about gang crime, hispanics tire of the subject of illegal immigration, and Africans understandably tire of #Aid #Work #Poverty #Parasites #framing their continents current events.

Thus, it's normal that environmentalists tend to turn a blind eye to the fact Basel Action Network took the Basel Convention out of all context, and lied about #wastecrime, resulting in the injust prison sentence of #FreeJoeBenson... we have to ask ourselves if we are more forgiving because the Environmentalist (Ayatollah of E-Waste") is "one of our own?"   Would we prefer the embarrassment be kept out of the press, because it could make the recycling community, and the environmental activist community, look bad?  I think we all do that.

After all, we see the western junk in the hands of a Ghana teenagers, and we think, it could have been my television, it could have been my computer...

People can be proud of the US Military, and still be ashamed of people like Robert Bales (who was escorted back to the USA and given a life sentence, not allowed to be tried in Afghanistan).  But in the western press, I notice far more interviews and remembrances of Charb than I do the nameless and faceless victims in Kandahar.   And it would not surprise me if the opposite is true in the press coverage in Islamic countries.   "It could have been me, it could have been my family member", seems to be the silent gravity that draws the reader.

If I were in charge, I'd be tempted to throw Bales and the Charlie Hebdo shooters in a room together and throw away the key, Star Trek Style.  Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.

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