The man who got on a Parisian bus with me Wednesday was an Arab who had not shaven in four days. He had dark olive skin and kinky black hair and was visibly unbalanced: drugs? He sang to a popular tune “I’m going on Jihad. Won’t you come on Jihad with me too?” He risks five years in prison and a 75 thousand euro fine.
In the first six days after the massacre at Charlie Hebdo, 54 people were charged with “apology for terrorism” under a tough law voted in the French parliament last November which can jail someone, if they express their “support for terrorism” on the electronic media: FaceBook, Twitter etc., to up to seven years and fine them 100 thousand euros .
France’s “war on terrorism” has begun. The new law allows the “apologists” to be brought before a judge as soon as they are arrested in a process called “comparution immediate”; that is without time to prepare a defense. It is a law for a time of war.
They came in their hundreds of thousands. Jews, Muslims (although fewer than hoped for), Christians and atheists: Students, workers, the unemployed and the bourgeoisie. They said “I am Charlie.” “I am Ahmed.” (the policeman executed at Charlie Hebdo). “I am a Jew.” Or, they just said nothing.
They were anarchists, communists and ultra nationalists, social democrats and conservatives. There were also islamophobes and anti-Semites. The one thing that united them all was their refusal to yield to fear and their desire to keep the freedom to think what they want and to be able to say it in public without facing obscurantist violence. This coming together of those who want the right to disagree with each is extraordinary. France, which gave us the enlightenment, 1789 and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is still Une Grande Nation.
In which the Vietnamese try to destroy my prejudice and I search for the war that, as a young soldier, I could not support.
The silence of the western press on the situation in Libya is deafening. This is no surprise as the pessimistic predictions of the critics of NATO’s war to oust Qaddafi become reality.
Nouakchott, Mauritania: On August fourth Mauritanian anti-slavery activists staged a sit-in before a Nouakchott police station to prevent them from releasing a woman the public prosecutor had just indicted for slavery. The police intervened. Thirteen abolitionists were hospitalized and nine arrested with one sentenced to prison for “unauthorized gathering and rebellion”. The suspected slave owner has disappeared as has the young girl allegedly enslaved.
NATO Friday night attacked the Libyan television station in Tripoli killing three people and injuring 15 others in direct violation of their own UN Resolution 1973 which stipulates they may attack military targets “to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi” and to impose a ‘no-fly zone’.
What happened in Oslo Friday is a tragedy but it is no different than what is happening in the world on a daily basis. What is different is it happened to blond-haired-blue-eyed kids. What I find outrageous is that all of a sudden we are shocked in our comfortable Western countries. There are some deaths that are worth more than others in our selective outrage. Let me explain briefly.
Were the Wades ready to call in European troops to back their bid for a new ‘monoarchy’? According to influential French lawyer and longtime Wade family confident Robert Bourgi, the president’s son asked him, on June 27, to get the French Army to intervene in the country.
Recently elected President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, is a soft speaking man with a big problem not of his doing. He was in Paris Wednesday to speak to French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, about the problem: NATO’s war on Libya.
Mauvaise foi: that is what the French call a bare-faced lie you tell to a person you know is aware you are lying but you pretend everything is up front and normal. This year, in Cote d’Ivoire and Libya, the French have demonstrated they are the masters at mauvaise foi.