It took me more than a week to turn to one of the more important events of the year the terrorist attacks of Friday the 13th in Paris. First I had to let the tsunami of media coverage wash over me, let the dust settle a bit and have some good night sleeps before I hit the keyboard.
The story of the terror attacks on Paris has distinct aspects, which I will try to differentiate in my assessment. There are the attacks themselves and their roots and reasons in the Middle East as well as at home. And there is the reaction of the corporate media hand in glove with the political elite. Both seem to have one thing in common that they both are brutally violent. They are two sides of the same coin feeding off each other with no end in sight.
One Attack somewhere in a long line
Unfortunately the Paris attacks are not the first and will not be the last. The ground they sprang from in the Middle East as well as in France is still fertile. And by all accounts the reaction from the West fertilises the ground even more.
The Muslim World
The West has created a lot of very angry hateful people in the Arab world going back decades. It started when the Arabs were betrayed after WWI by the allies they have been fighting for. It continued when the guilt ridden WWII allies allowed the Zionist state of Israel to be established on Arab land. The victims of that ethnic cleansing are still lingering in Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Gaza. In 1967 the occupation of the West Bank and the Golan Heights begun and is still ongoing. The young people are living without hope and have been taking up stones against guns as long as we care to remember. The repression is getting more brutal by the day including building a wall through Arab land and taking the scarce water resources. Israel is doing it with impunity against countless UN resolutions because of the backing of the USA.
On top of all this the West/the former colonial powers have consistently contributed to the suffering of the people by supporting the most corrupt autocratic oppressive regimes.
It followed the illegal 2003 Iraq war and occupation, which started the latest round of disastrous Western interference, which destabilised the whole region. Hundreds of thousand died, mostly civilians. The Iraqi army was disbanded and it’s highly professional often British trained Sunni officers were left to join ISIS. It continues with extra-judicial killings by drone strikes. Recently drone pilots who do the killing and watch the results on their computer screens back in the US in an open letter to the US president told us that ‘Civilian Killings Driving ‘Terrorism, Instability’. The Air Force whistleblowers say that the US drone program “is one of the most devastating driving forces for terrorism and destabilization around the world.”
As the US are not likely to listen to their own pilots the consequence are that terrorism will not only continue but increase. On 9/11 2001 New York was hit, in 2004 it was Madrid, in 2005 London and now in 2015 it was Paris’ turn for a second time. Nobody expects that this was the end. And as a true Westerner I only list the major Western targets and not the attacks in the Third World like Bali and Mumbai and the attacks around the Middle East and Africa.
Homegrown Terrorism in the West
On 9/11 New York was attacked by foreigners from the Middle East mostly by our best friends the Saudis. The London and as far as we know the Paris attacks were executed by homegrown terrorists.
We have to look again for what creates such hatred in Muslim suburbs of Paris that young Frenchmen kill other young French people. Here the story goes back to France’s brutal colonial war in North Africa and the influx of many Muslims from the Magreb region. They of course fare much better than their Palestinian brethren under Israeli occupation but still are second class citizens with well documented social problems.
Add to that the rise of religious fundamentalism among Muslims in the Middle East as well as Christians in the US. Crazy people who believe in Armageddon in their lifetime. Remember George W Bush not only spinning us the lie of weapons of mass destruction but justifying his criminal war against Iraq because God told him so.
In other words the attacks were totally predictable. And so did Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmet: At the end of last year, as politicians and pundits cheered on coalition airstrikes in Syria, [he] wrote this:
“The war on ISIS has already been lost. As regional instability escalates predictably as a direct consequence of the US-UK led non-strategy, ISIS will become stronger, and reactionary terrorist violence against western targets will proliferate – in turn fuelling reactionary and militant responses from western foreign policy establishments.”
The Western Reaction
The first to react were the media.
In New Zealand TV ONE decided to devote one and a half Saturday night prime time television hours on the attacks with very little substance to fill the time other then the advertising. I had the distinct impression that our state broadcaster in true commercial form started to make money from the event. The personal tragedies for so many victims and their families will fill the papers for some time to come
Others were making money too. In the morning my son watching the markets reported a notable rise in the stocks of the arms and security industry. There of course would be no war if there would not be huge amounts of money to be made. There is the crux of the matter as well as the solution. Cut off the arms and ammunition supply and let these fundamentalist Muslims who mostly kill their own countrymen go at each other with sticks and stones. However, that would be the last thing the arms industry would allow.
As soon as the media were able to drag the first politicians in front of the cameras they were prompting them to ask for increased surveillance powers and military retaliation. The media were calling for a violent response. Just watch Glen Greenwald blast CNN over this. Or another CNN guest calling for We Should Bomb Even Hospitals, Universities To Fight ISIS. It seems CNN will let just about anyone air their warmongering views on the network.
One has to feel sorry for French President Hollande, who resorted to the predictable reflex of violent retaliation launching more airstrikes against Syria and now even pushing for a ground war. Any other response would have been political suicide. And by all we know that is exactly what Islamic State intended to lure the Western ‘infidels’ into the trap of a more and more violent conflict on their terms and territory.
Some of the media headlines and stories and utterings of politicians struck me as particularly strange. One said that France found itself at war. I wonder where she had been all year while the French airforce were bombing Islamic State in Syria.
Is it war only when the killing reaches your shores ? Did the French government expect that the bombing would go unanswered like in the case of the Rainbow Warrior ? That only one side of the war would do the bombing and shooting while the other would just sit there and take it ? Was the West deceived by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict where mostly one side does the shooting while the other throws back stones ?
Then came Charlie Hebdo, the anti-Islamic satirical French magazine, which itself suffered a murderous attack earlier in the year with the following cover :
This reads in English : They have Guns. F–k them. We have Champaign.
What were they thinking putting an image on their front page where out of the bullet holes of the victim pours Champaign instead of blood and talking about the them and the us .
If this is any indication of the attitude of France and the West then God, Allah, Yahweh or anything else, which might be out there, may help us.
* Cover of French satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”