The horrible crime against producers of the satiric weekly Charlie Hebdo and the hostage in a Jewish grocery have many consequences. It is not easy to mention these consequences, but questions can be raised. What is the background of the people, who committed this crime? What are the goals of them? Who will take profit from it? What stimulated them to commit these crimes?
These criminals see themselves as excluded from the French society, in which they live. This is a huge problem. Even if they see themselves as Muslims, Muslims will not recognize them as Muslims, because their crime is against Islam. But many people will identify the perpetrators with Islam with violent consequences. For the upcoming time it is hard to stop this violence. (The wars in the Koran is just about self-defence by Mohammed.) But we have to think further.
I start from an experience some years ago. I was walking from Beit Jala to Bethlehem, when two young men came to me, 19 and 20 years old. They asked me to provide them a wife. I thought it was a joke. But then it figured out that they failed for their Tawjihi exam, the final exam of secondary school. They didn’t have a job, which means no money and no chance to marry. They wanted to study. Otherwise they will become a terrorist. I offered them to give lessons English, but they didn’t react on it. Maybe they feel themselves to be a looser.
Here I heard some background from people, who can become a terrorist, but not necessary. They feel that they are not a part of the society and don’t see any future for them. It is all about to offer young people an outlook on a meaningful future.
We talk about globalization. An aspect of globalization is trade in hands of the haves, but the gap with the have not’s is growing. This can make poor people angry and violent, but not necessary.
I hear sometimes from people from outside the West that they still experience an attitude of superiority by people from the West. This is a part of a worldwide problem of division between haves and have not’s.
We live in a disintegrated world. In such a world it is difficult to see nuances and to oversee the fragments. Let us try.
What get attention is violence. Perpetrators of violence are often identified as belonging to a bigger group, who you have to fear like Jews in the past. Look out for propaganda by media!
In this case fear for Muslims can grow. This leads to more tensions between Muslims and other people, especially in Europe. Forgotten is that the influx of Muslims in Europe started in the sixties as labours for doing dirty jobs, while there was a lack of labours. I remember an article with the title: we looked for labours, but there came human people. This was in the seventies.
Further Muslims are nowadays seen in Europe as that they only came to have profit from the well-fare state. England has the problem that it had Had many colonies in the past, from where people came to England.
Another problem is the influx of (Muslim) refugees in Europe caused by wars elsewhere, but in which Western countries had been involved, directly like in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria (remember the friends of Syria) or by the interests of companies, eager to control areas by armed forces, where raw materials are found like in Africa.
How to overcome this tensions? Here is a task for people who have contacts with the other side. But this is just one step. We have also to think about what cartoons mean. In my opinion you can compare a cartoon with a funhouse mirror. It lets you laugh about yourself. A cartoon is enlargement of a characteristic or trait. You can laugh about this.
But there raises a problem if a cartoon expresses superiority from one above the other and humiliate the other. This is an abuse of the so-called freedom of speech. Freedom of speech supposes always respect for the other as how adults treat each other as human beings.
The main point is in my eyes our basic attitude. Here I will refer to a song from the Moody Blues with their magnificent Album Question of Balance, released in August 1970. It is a part of the last song ‘The Balance’:
And he thought of those he angered/For he was not a violent man
And he thought of those he hurt/For he was not a cruel man
And he thought of those he frightened/For he was not an evil man
And he understood.../He understood himself
Upon this he saw/That when he was of anger/Or knew hurt/Or felt fear
It was because he was not understanding/And he learned/ ~~Compassion~~
And with his eye of compassion/He saw his enemies like unto himself
And he learned/ ~~Love~~
The basic attitude here is showed is compassion. We have to develop this attitude towards people, with whom we have to deal. It makes us vulnerable. I realize this. Therefore it is necessary to develop support to each other to make this world more viable by our peaceful behavior.
A problem is lack of trust among each other. I can’t solve this problem from outside. It has to be developed by yourself, step by step. But I will give support as far it is possible. Let me know
PS We reject physical violence. But what about verbal violence?
Louis Bohte ofm
See link http://anonhq.com/charlie-hebdo-fired-anti-semitic-cartoonist-ridiculing-judaism-2009/
It is about double standard in the West.