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Sympathisants Jihadists: In Paris Neighborhood Heavily Hit by Terrorists, Bobo Hipster Residents View Attackers as Victims 

‘They’re stupid, but they aren’t evil,’ says Parisian woman who works in 11th arrondissement, and in Place de la Republique, no one wanted to talk about Islamists or the Islamic State.

PARIS – Ansel Pfeffer reports: On the day after the terror campaign in Paris that left 129 people dead and more than 300 wounded, residents of the French capital are still trying to absorb what hit them.

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“They are victims of a system that excluded them from society, that’s why they felt this doesn’t belong to them and they could attack. There are those who live here in alienation, and we are all to blame for this alienation.”

By evening, after they had avoided gathering outdoors all day on the orders of police, hundreds of people started to assemble at the Place de la Republique, only a few hundred meters from the Bataclan concert hall where four terrorists had held hostage hundreds of people for more than two hours, killing 89 of them. From Boulevard Voltaire, where the hall is located and which was closed by police, ambulances carrying the bodies of the victims would emerge every few minutes, sirens wailing. As of last night only a handful of the victims had been named.

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“They don’t want us to think that maybe it’s connected to the policies of our government and of the United States in the Middle East. These are people the government gave up on, and you have to ask why.” 

A group of friends was standing near the candles that had been lit at the foot of the monument at the square, trying to find out if the waiter that had served them at La Belle Equipe, one of the restaurants attacked in the 11th arrondissement, had been killed.

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“One member of the group said they had come to the square to demonstrate ‘unity,’ but they didn’t seem to feel solidarity with the victims of the last wave of terror. There were signs calling for unity, but it wasn’t clear what they were meant to unite around.”

“It’s very personal, what’s happened,” said Stephan Byatt, an actor who lives on a nearby street. He has a hard time finding the words to describe what he’s feeling. His friend, Bruno Michlaud, a graphic artist, tries to help out. “It’s a symbol of Paris, a symbol of life. They hurt us in the center of our lives and each of us could have been one of those killed.”

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But they aren’t angry, at least not at the perpetrators. “They’re stupid, but they aren’t evil,” their friend Sabrina, an administrative worker in one of the theaters in the 11th arrondissement, said. “They are victims of a system that excluded them from society, that’s why they felt this doesn’t belong to them and they could attack. There are those who live here in alienation, and we are all to blame for this alienation.”

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“Perhaps it’s correct to bomb them in the name of democracy and freedom, but it brought the war in Syria to us in France. I don’t think it’s worth it.”

Ten months after the previous wave of terror in Paris that hit the editorial offices of Charlie Hebdo and the Hypercacher kosher supermarket, one might assume that residents would feel a sense of continuity, but that didn’t seem to be the case. “Then they harmed journalists and Jews, those were defined targets,” said one of the young people who had come to the square. “Now it was an attack with no objective, anyone could have been hurt.” Read the rest of this entry »

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‘The Last Thing President Obama is Going to Do is Take Some Sort of Personal Action that Indicates a Real Show of Solidarity with Cartoonists Who Offend Muslims’

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Why didn’t President Obama go to Paris?

Jim Geraghty writes:

…The simplest explanation…is that President Barack Obama doesn’t want to put his personal stature and credibility on the line to support something like Charlie Hebdo. Since those awful attacks, we’ve witnessed a lot of allegedly intellectual leftists offer versions of “the attacks were terrible, but —” and then explaining why Hebdo was offensive, hate speech, and unnecessary provocation, foolish, etc., and imply that the magazine isn’t really worth defending and that the world would be a better place if these immature, impudent cartoonists would stop making fun of one of the world’s great religions.

[Also see Mollie Hemingway’s 4 Reasons We Shouldn’t Be Surprised Obama Snubbed Paris at The Federalist]

There’s very little evidence to suggest that Obama disagrees with this progressive intellectual reaction, that while satire of Islam is theoretically legal, the consequences of enraging Muslims is too much trouble and risk to be worthwhile.

“Obama’s absence from Paris smashes America’s reputation as the world’s physical and philosophical anchor for freedom.”

— Tom Rogan

We saw this in the response to Hebdo before, and the infamous YouTube video that the administration cited as a scapegoat for the Benghazi attacks. To a lot of progressives, while depicting Muhammad or mocking Islam shouldn’t be banned,

[Also see – White House: President Will Fight Media To Stop Anti-Jihad Articles – The Daily Caller]

it should be discouraged, and a presidential appearance at that rally and march would be too close to an official endorsement of the magazine and its contents…

Obama would never support going into a magazine and shooting people. But he’s a famously thin-skinned public figure who thinks he has a particularly powerful connection and understanding of the Muslim world because he spent some childhood years in Indonesia. He is so mono-focused on “de-escalating” tensions with the Muslim world that he thinks about how he would advise ISIS(read more)

National Review Online

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Obama’s Paris Snub Wasn’t an Oversight 

Byron York dismisses the White House’s falsehoods and explores the intentional decision to be absent:

The White House reaction to the attacks in France, going back to the first reports of shots fired at Charlie Hebdo, has been noticeably subdued. Obama had scheduled last week as a time to roll out some upcoming State of the Union proposals in trips to Michigan, Arizona and Tennessee.

Get this – Jon Stewart Is Angry At Obama For Keeping His Word About Criticism Of Muslims – The Daily Caller]

When world events intruded, the president stubbornly stuck to his schedule, mentioning France only briefly before introducing his plan for free tuition at community colleges.

[More – see ‘s Let’s Blame Christianity For Everything, And Islam For Nothing at The Federalist]

Then came the unity march. No, it was not essential that Obama himself attend. But there’s no doubt he should have sent Vice President Joe Biden — why is there a VP, if not to go to big foreign events? — or at least Secretary of State John Kerry.

[Also see 3 reasons the Paris no-show matters Tom Rogan]

Even as the march wound its way through Paris, the White House sent out yet another sign of its unseriousness. Read the rest of this entry »


REWIND: White House Slams French Cartoons

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“We are aware that a French magazine published cartoons featuring a figure resembling the prophet Muhammad, and obviously we have questions about the judgment of publishing something like this.”

Carney told reporters during a midday press briefing at the White House.

“We know these images will be deeply offensive to many and have the potential be be inflammatory.”

Carney said in a prepared statement.

The French government reacted to the expected threats by temporarily shutting down embassies and schools in 20 countries with significant Muslim populations.

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The White House’s criticism of a French magazine’s editorial choices comes as a wave of Islamist attacks threatened to upset the president’s election campaign, during which has has claimed that his policies have reduced conflict with Islamic countries.

The administration’s new criticism of the famous French magazine Charlie Hebdo follows the administration’s Sept. 14 effort to persuade Google to take down a short and cheap satirical video on YouTube that also angered Islamists.

Competing leaders in the fractious Islamic political movement — which now dominates the governments of Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iran, Saudi Arabia and nearly all Arab countries — say criticism of their claimed prophet, Muhammad, is blasphemous and deserving of the death penalty. Read the rest of this entry »


The Real Public Servants

Public-Service

Private enterprise does more for the national good than it gets credit for

hoover_logo_diJames Huffman  writes:  Alexis de Tocqueville reported that “Americans of all ages, all conditions, all minds constantly unite. . . . Everywhere that, at the head of a new undertaking, you see the government in France and a great lord in England, count on it that you will perceive an association in the United States.”

    [Alexis de Tocqueville‘s Democracy in America is available in paperback from Amazon ]

Tocqueville went on to observe that these civil associations serving every imaginable end were the product of what he called “self-interest well understood.” Tocqueville reflected that “the beauties of virtue were constantly spoken of” in “aristocratic centuries,” but he doubted that men were more virtuous in those times than in others. 

In the United States, he had observed, “it is almost never said that virtue is beautiful.” Rather Americans “maintain that . . . [virtue] is useful and they prove it every day.” This is what Tocqueville meant by “self-interest well understood,” which he illustrated with this quotation from Montaigne: “When I do not follow the right path for the sake of righteousness, I follow it for having found by experience that all things considered, it is commonly the happiest and most useful.”

“self-interest well understood” “forms a multitude of citizens who are regulated, temperate, moderate, farsighted, masters of themselves; and if it does not lead directly to virtue through will, it brings them near to it insensibly through habits.”

Twenty-first century Americans have forgotten this ancestral insight—that “self-interest well understood” “forms a multitude of citizens who are regulated, temperate, moderate, farsighted, masters of themselves; and if it does not lead directly to virtue through will, it brings them near to it insensibly through habits.” Perhaps “self-interest well understood” sounds too much of Adam Smith’s invisible hand for present day Americans whose habit, like the French of Tocqueville’s time, increasingly is to look for solutions not to private collaboration but to an omnipresent government. Nineteenth-century Americans who turned to both neighbors and strangers in pursuit of mutual interests would be puzzled at the hard and fast boundary their twenty-first century descendants draw between public and private interest.

Read the rest of this entry »