The ruthless slaughter of 17 French citizens by members of an international terrorist organization was a barbaric act, deserving of condemnation, retaliation and protest by more than the one million people who packed the streets of Paris this weekend. We are all humans, and should all be horrified by such inhumanity against even one of us. Terror, torture and murder, regardless of who commits it, or where it occurs, merits unrelenting opposition. It is the most fundamental of all human rights violations.
Yet, as more facts continue to emerge in the jihadist attack against journalists and Jews in Paris, the more it appears that the assassination of the artists & writers at Charlie Hebdo, a self-proclaimed “Irresponsible Journal,” may have been an enormous and deadly hoax perpetuated by the terrorists on a media-obsessed world, to cover-up a coldly, calculated plan carried out to kill more Jews across Paris, and anyone the murderers considered “infidels.” While one-wing of the jihadists were slaughtering journalists for negative portrayals of Mohammed and all Muslims, another terrorist cell was assassinating Jews in another part of Paris, with the intent and means to execute more innocents at Jewish schools.
Outside of the offices of the magazine, the Hebdo assassins rejoiced at their murderous act, and proclaimed victory for avenging Mohammed. Inside a Paris Kosher supermarket, the killers methodically murdered Jews while the world was horrified by the death of “free expression.” Even if one entertained the notion that Charlie Hebdo’s offensive cartoons of Muslims could be understood to provoke such violence against the journalists, what was the justification for the jihadists killing Jews? As usual, Jews were targeted by terrorists because they were Jewish.
“Je Suis Charlie,” may be a catchy hashtag and a social media sensation, but it does nothing to sympathize with the most important form of free expression, the right for human beings to live without fear of death because of who they are, or which God they worship, if they choose to worship at all. The more appropriate phrase of sympathy, solidarity and support—which covers Jews as well as journalists—is “Je Suis Human.”
In fact, with Muslims outnumbering Jews in France five million to five-hundred thousand, or 10-to-1, and with acts of terror against Paris’ Jewish community escalating over the past several years, Charlie Hebdo’s taunting of Muslims may have been tantamount to shouting “FIRE” in a crowded movie-theatre, or the classic example of irresponsible speech, not “free expression.” Honest journalists respect standards of independence, freedom, accuracy AND responsiblility. Hebdo’s self-avowed mission of “irresponsibility” moved them in the opposite direction, disqualifying them from the protection of the bulwarks of artistic license or free expression. Group libel is inherently dehumanizing, whether practiced by journalists, jingoists, or jihadists.
There is no justification nor defense for any act of deadly terror. All acts of terror, whether carried out by a fanatical group of religious fundamentalists, a state, or an ideologically-driven individual like the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh or Anders Breivik, the anti-Muslim, anti-Zionist Norwegian extremist who gunned down some 70 teenagers at a youth camp in 2011, deserve swift condemnation, counter-action and certain punishment.
Millions need not march because they consider an act of terror a symbolic act against free speech; millions need to mobilize because terrorist acts are terrible acts of violence against human beings, humanity and life itself. I am not Charlie Hebdo. I am a responsible, free human being who respects the dignity of all people. I am Jew, and Muslim and Christian; I am Buddhist and Hindi, humanist and atheist. “Je Suis Human.”