…the attack on the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists (and others). My column about it is here – still one of my better efforts, I think. And yes, that is relative.
It was three years ago, yesterday.
BHL, as annoying as he can be, sums it up well with this tweet:
Parce que l’islamisme radical est un nouveau fascisme, parce que la liberté de s’exprimer ne va pas sans liberté de blasphémer, parce que la laïcité n’est jamais une nouvelle religion mais la condition de toute religion et de toute pensée, je suis
And here is a link to my column about those frightening days – I still think it is one of my better ones.
Such horrors yesterday – in Berlin, in Ankara. I keep thinking about this speech. Times have changed, though. I cannot imagine the Democratic Party of today ever choosing a leader like JFK (as yes, the Republicans today would never choose a Reagan). Think of how much we need someone like either of those men now.
There is a lot I could write about this day and what it means to me — and in coming posts I will — but right now I will leave you with a link to a column that was written only a few days after the attacks, a column that still holds up. Not surprisingly, it was written by Christopher Hitchens. How we miss him.
The link to the whole column is here — money quote below.
But the bombers of Manhattan represent fascism with an Islamic face, and there’s no point in any euphemism about it. What they abominate about “the West,” to put it in a phrase, is not what Western liberals don’t like and can’t defend about their own system, but what they do like about it and must defend: its emancipated women, its scientific inquiry, its separation of religion from the state. Loose talk about chickens coming home to roost is the moral equivalent of the hateful garbage emitted by Falwell and Robertson, and exhibits about the same intellectual content. Indiscriminate murder is not a judgment, even obliquely, on the victims or their way of life, or ours. Any decent and concerned reader of this magazine could have been on one of those planes, or in one of those buildings–yes, even in the Pentagon.
Yes, I am painfully aware of the irony of what I posted yesterday (see below), given the horrors of what transpired in Nice last night. No further comment necessary.
From the great Jacques Brel, this seems a propos today.
Always upsetting to hear of these attacks anywhere, but when it is a place you once called home, more so. I have many friends in Turkey, most of them former students still in Istanbul and the surrounding area, and so many have reached out to me via social media to let me know they are ok. Glad for that, but so sad for what has happened, what is happening and what will continue to happen.
I know Istiklal Caddesi well, for though I lived on the Asian side of Istanbul, I often crossed the Bosphorus to go shopping on the European side.
What I find most creepy is that it looks as though the bomber was eyeing Israeli tourists. So sick.
The attacks happened a year ago today, and people said, “oh well, this will change things. The West will wake up now.” And…nothing has really changed and we have yet to awaken.
Here is the piece I wrote about the attacks and all of the morons in denial who tried to mitigate what happened by crying “shades of grey.”
There isn’t much to say about what happened Friday, only ten months after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. When the horrors began unfolding on Friday, I wondered how long it would take for the “but brigade” to start blathering. I knew they’d need a little more time to find a way to blame people who were simply out for dinner or at a concert or soccer match than they needed to blame cartoonists and writers, but I had faith that people that stupid would still find a way. And yes, the bleating about France’s foreign policy and all the usual drivel has begun. I am even related to someone who thinks this might have been a false flag operation — mind you, this is the same person who thinks 9-11 might have been one, and who has the usual attitudes about Jews…er, Israel.
It’s utterly awful. I will leave you with three links — first, the brilliant Niall Ferguson, whose message isn’t exactly full of promise, but whose message should be taken seriously (btw, this link appears to be behind a subscribers’ wall — see if you can find it elsewhere if you can’t get the whole thing here). I wonder if it is too late for the West. We have, in a way, allowed this to happen, as Ferguson points out in the afore-linked article and one does wonder how free societies can defend themselves against nihilism.
Second link is from the also brilliant Mark Steyn. I am not sure I agree with all of his conclusions, but he is spot-on that we need to target ideology and “the self-segregation” that goes on in our own countries. And I definitely agree when he suggests we “screw the candlelight vigil.”
Third link is from the not-brilliant me — my Charlie Hebdo piece from January, which tackles some of these issues.
And finally, I shall leave you, for now, with this very lovely version of L a Marseillaise.