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Main | The Bolivarian Revolution - film review »

Charlie Hebdo, Islam & Imperialism

By J L Samboma

This video was originally published on 12 January 2015. However, I removed it a few days later, prompted by a conversation I had with someone. Essentially, they said that everyone had the right to say whatever they wanted to say – or draw – and that anyone who took issue with it could either suffer in silence, or seek legal redress.

In a word, killing someone because of what they say, write, draw or think – however much we may disagree with them – is plain wrong. I of course agreed with her; it was axiomatic.

I had a long think afterwards, at the conclusion of which I withdrew the video. In the video I rightly condemned the atrocity of Charlie Hebdo, but held that the offence caused to Muslims was analogous to cussing one’s mother. I do not hold to that view now. But even if they were, it was not an 007-like license to kill anyone.

Further, as someone with smidgeon more than Marxian sympathies, this was an un-materialistic position on the presumed slight caused to religious adherents. I might not subscribe to the deed, but that does not mean others should agree with me.

To paraphrase Voltaire, I might not like what you say but I will defend your right to say it. Yes, I was wrong on that score. And, thanks to the dialectic interplay I had with said lady, I now realise that.

So, why did I say what I did then? Why did I equate mockery of peoples’ religious sensibilities with “your mother”? The answer is a simple one. My upbringing, and the influence of the socio-cultural milieu within which my early consciousness of self and society developed, overcame my politico-ideological consciousness at one particular moment in the continuum my be-ing.

There are, I believe, at least two lessons to be learnt from this. First, knee-jerk reactions should be examined through the prism of one’s current or avowed positions.

Second, and intricately-related to the first, is that people of different races, tribes, beliefs etc should thoroughly examine whether their psychological and physical responses to The Other are in sync with their declared politico-ideological and/or religious positions. For example, am I really free of race- or tribal-based sentiments and reactions, having been nurtured in a prejudiced bourgeois or tribalistic society?

I have re-uploaded the video because am not, in a manner of speaking, in the business of re-writing history. I said what I felt at a particular moment, and stood by it then. Second, I have not recanted my position on the fact that imperialism is on a mission to dominate the Islamic and other regions of the world, a mission cloaked in the guise of a so-called war on terror – a phenomenon, by the way, which it has done all in its omnipotence to inflame in order to justify its mass-murderous actions. (The chicken and the egg are very discernible from this armchair!)

Although it was not intended during its conception, this video may serve to illustrate to our naked emperors and their enforcers just how the process of “radicalisation” could begin in the mind of the odd would-be jihadist who contemplates their turkey-shooting so-called wars in the Middle East. Don’t go looking for the main source of “radicalisation” on the moon.

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