Okay, I’m feeling dense here. The massacre at Charlie Hebdo was an act of fundamentalist religious madness with an undeniable political dimension that makes it all the more horrendous as a potential goad to other criminal and/or deranged extremists who see it as an acceptable act of revenge for insults to Islam
The simultaneous attack on the kosher market was another facet of religio-fascist Islamic fanaticism that considers Jews a particularly heinous subset of infidels.
I understand the spontaneous gatherings of the thousands who poured out into the streets of Paris. My older son was among them. In the midst of such trauma and uncertainty (the killers were still on the loose; the shoppers in the market were being held hostage) such an act of community, solidarity, and mourning is a good, positive response.
I understand the immediate messages to the French nation of concern and condolence from world leaders and prominent international figures.
What I don’t really get, as I think about it, is the meaning of all those dignitaries and heads of state, many of of them, as has been pointed out, among the cruelest dictators on the planet, some of the most repressive national leaders, who, even as they march in Paris, hold journalists, dissenters, political rivals, etc. in brutal captivity. Who torture, exile, spy on, and silence their own people on merely the suspicion of dissenting ideas.
What, exactly, is the message of this outpouring of the notable and the just plain folk? Why do I feel this is one big anti-Islamic gesture that will further marginalize millions of men, women, and children resident in western nations, and give license to the demonization of Muslims worldwide? I just don’t see this cadre of “world leaders” dropping everything to go stand up and be counted for Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity, or for freedom of the press, or for… what, exactly?