|Anthony Freda Art|
In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre, social media was filled with predictable tag lines, hashtags, and memes. It was the result of a general public who had briefly tuned in to current events or the fact that there was a country outside of their own expressing “sympathy and solidarity” with the victims of the terrorist attack. All this proved, however, was that the culture creation machine was well at work at producing feel good messages and that a simple Tweet was quite enough to make the majority of people contented that they had done their patriotic duty.
Critical thinking? Not necessary.
Within hours of the attacks, social media was flooded with “I stand with Free Speech” and “Je suis Charlie.” Americans, unaware of anything that happens outside of their own borders (or within) were happy to retweet and share familiar sounding memes while the French were happy to indulge themselves in the fantasy that they are a free people.
Yet with French President Francois Hollande’s speeches extolling the virtues of free speech and expression, the reality of the matter is that the “Je suis Charlie” meme should have carried the tagline “Je suis Hypocrite.”
The French government and French society in general is by no means a society of free expression. While Christianity and Islam are regular targets of derision and attack by magazines like Charlie Hebdo, other religions are considered more equal in such utopias.
For instance, in 2009, an 80-year-old columnist for Charlie Hebdo was actually put on trial on charges of “inciting racial hatred” for making a joke that then-President Sarkozy’s son was converting to Judaism for financial gain. For all the talk of standing with free speech, the gentlemen making the joke found himself standing quite alone.
Indeed, even the act of “denying the holocaust” is a punishable thought crime in France. While the suggestion that the Nazi regime did not inflict unspeakable crimes against Jewish people is anti-historical in and of itself, a nation of true free speech would not punish the expression of the thought by criminal proceedings.
It is also illegal to sell “Nazi paraphernalia” on the Internet in the free country of France.
But the uber-PC speech censorship is not only silencing any criticism or insults against Jews and Judaism. Last year, Bob Dylan was “formally investigated” after making comments that were allegedly “inciting racial hatred.”
Dylan’s comments were relatively simple. He had said in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine, that “If you got a slave master or [Ku Klux] Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.”
Dylan’s remarks were largely addressing the issue of how race and racial tension can hold a nation back and linger long after the perceived wrong has taken place. In France, however, where everyone stands with free speech, his statements warranted prosecution.
Even Brigitte Bardot was not immune to the PC police when she stated that Muslims were destroying the country by “imposing their ways” upon the French people. Bardot was fined and convicted of inciting racial hatred.
Of course, the fact that the policy of unfettered immigration is destroying French culture is undeniable. However, in France, as in many other police states, you are only free to question and hurl insults at pre-selected targets.
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Note also that French comedian, Dieudonné , in the midst of all the “I Stand With Free Speech” hysteria, made the mistake of believing that there was such a thing as Free Speech. In a Facebook post, he stated, “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly.” He was promptly arrested.
We have yet to see the prevalence of “Je suis Dieudonné” anywhere in Western society and social media outlets.
In fact, as of January 15, it has been reported that the French government has opened nearly 54 criminal cases for “condoning terrorism” and it subsequently “ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism and glorifying terrorism.”
Even the president of France himself, Francois Hollande, has demonstrated high levels of hypocrisy in terms of the question of free speech and expression. After giving the tired nods to his country’s resolve to continue to support and promote freedom of speech and expression (Americans should be familiar with these types of speeches), Hollande stated that many of these third world “Muslim” countries, particularly the ones experiencing protests, riots, and violence as a result of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, were reacting in such a way because they simply do not understand the concept of free speech and expression.
“I’m thinking of countries where sometimes they don’t understand what freedom of expression is because they have been deprived of it,” he said.
Yet nearly in the same breath, Hollande stated that those individuals who engaged in their freedom of expression to burn the French flag as a form of protest should be punished. When asked about the protesters who burned the flags, he responded, “They have to be punished. Because when it happens in France, it’s intolerable – but it is also intolerable abroad.”
Of course, in the aftermath of a tragedy, particularly one that the entire Western population was forced to witness on virtually every television channel, there comes the paranoia regarding future terrorist attacks, rampant militarism, fearmongering, the promotion of a greater police state, and, of course, the social media memes and hashtags commemorating the dead people and the dead values of their nation.
Millions of French people hashtagging #JeSuisCharlie and “I stand with Free Speech” was nothing more than an insulting joke being played upon a public that has been subjected to a relentless police state and surveillance apparatus, the use of its people as cannon fodder for NATO imperialism, and the total eradication of whatever concept of true free speech and expression France may once have laid claim to.
But, of course, Americans should not look down on the French for their hypocritical government, lack of freedom, and lagging economy. And they don’t.
After all, America is also hated “for our freedoms” and hated because we are such an “exceptional people.” Americans are glad that the French have finally re-animated their militarist spirit and are once again willing to traipse around the globe, slaughtering innocent men, women, and children for the good of international banks, corporations, and geopolitical interests.
In the meantime, a few more Tweets of “I stand with Free Speech” and “Je suis Charlie” will erase the memory of Charlie Hebdo and all the inconsistencies of the official story out of the minds of the Americans and the French. That is, until the incident is needed to drum up support for war or further police state measures waiting to be put into place. Then the Western public will be asked to stand with Charlie in the Middle East, or Africa, or even Russia.
They can stand with Free Speech in these far off places as well. Just so long as they do not do so at home.
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Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of six books, Codex Alimentarius — The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident, volume 1 and volume 2, and The Road to Damascus: The Anglo-American Assault on Syria. Turbeville has published over 300 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville’s podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV. He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.