The “civilized” have created the wretched, quite coldly and deliberately, and do not intend to change the status quo; are responsible for their slaughter and enslavement; rain down bombs on defenseless children whenever and wherever they decide that their “vital interests” are menaced, and think nothing of torturing a man to death; these people are not to be taken seriously when they speak of the “sanctity” of human life, or the conscience of civilized world.
— James Baldwin
I have witnessed the spectacle of Eurocentric arrogance many times over my long years of struggle and resistance to colonial/capitalist domination and dehumanization. The grotesque, 21st Century version of the “white man’s burden,” which asserts that the international community (meaning the West) has a moral and legal “responsibility to protect,” is one current example; the generalized acceptance by many in the West that their governments have a right to wage permanent war against the global “others” to maintain international order is another.
Yet, when I think I have seen it all, along comes the response to the attack at the racist, Islamophobic publication Charlie Hebdo. Even though I shouldn’t be surprised, I am still left in complete wonderment at the West’s unmitigated self-centeredness and self-righteous arrogance.
[A long, drawn-out racist and xenophobic campaign in Europe, rooted in values that once marked the French colonial assault and occupation of Algeria, has re-intensified in recent months with neo-Nazi power moves and anti-migrant pograms and massive police round-ups, specifically but not exclusively aimed at Arab and African migrants and long-term residents alike. A media campaign, both racist and Islamophobic, has heralded every new attack, and the hate-filled, quasi-satirical Charlie Hebdo newspaper has been a key “culture-building” instrument for this. Recent cartoons debasing Islam have clearly had openly provocative intentions, and with the enraged revenge attacks on the newspaper, the cartoon-provocateurs succeeded in further xenophobic expression: “Je Suis Charlie” meaning, among other things, “Je Suis Racist” and “Je Suis Xenophobe”. Further attacks on the poorest migrants, Arab and African workers, are already underway. The following article gives some background on all this. — Frontlines ed.]
By Chris Hedges, January 11, 2015
The terrorist attack in France that took place at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo was not about free speech. It was not about radical Islam. It did not illustrate the fictitious clash of civilizations. It was a harbinger of an emerging dystopia where the wretched of the earth, deprived of resources to survive, devoid of hope, brutally controlled, belittled and mocked by the privileged who live in the splendor and indolence of the industrial West, lash out in nihilistic fury. Continue reading →
[Hollywood’s icons, blathering liberal mantras, reveal the bankruptcy of US’ liberal culture in addressing any of the critical issues of the day. — Frontlines ed.]
George Clooney at the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards, Jan. 11, 2015. (Credit: AP/Paul Drinkwater)
The causes celebrities feel comfortable backing — and those they do not — speak volumes. And it’s not pretty by Brittney Cooper, in Salon.com, Wednesday, Jan 14, 2015
Race and gender politics at this year’s Golden Globes took an unexpected range of twists and turns. First, hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler shamelessly mocked the many rape allegations against Bill Cosby. Given that there has been a significant strain of public resistance among some African-Americans to the racial politics of a group of white women dethroning a powerful black man through the accusation of rape, Fey and Poehler’s bit was ballsy, to be sure. But the reality is that Cosby most probably did drug and/or assault many women, white and black. And in the absence of a day in court, he, at the very least, deserves our highest ridicule. It is he, not we, who has “destroyed his legacy.”
Then many of the award winners took especial care to express their solidarity with the people of Paris, still reeling over last week’s terrorist attacks that killed 17 French citizens, including 12 staff members of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical French magazine. Many actors and actresses including George Clooney, Kathy Bates and Helen Mirren displayed “Je Suis Charlie” signs and pins on the Red Carpet and during the awards. Clooney even took a moment to mention the massive solidarity marches that took place all over the world on Sunday to honor the victims.