Charlie Hebdo, the name kept resonating in my head for a while after the issue of the Danish cartoons and the riot that spread in the Arab and Muslim countries after the case (including Lebanon).
It was back in 2013, on my way back to Lebanon from France that I bought as one of the souvenirs a copy of Charlie Hebdo. I was fascinated by the audacity of the caricatures and I laughed at the same time for the satirical photos depicting either religious or political figures. The magazine is a leftist magazine who criticizes religious behaviors, right wing parties … that was enough for me.
Probably, Charlie Hebdo is sold in some big libraries in Beirut however it never reaches the public and I can confirm that some issues never reach Lebanon especially those that insult God, Religion (Either Christian or Muslim) or those that include sexual content, this is due to the censorship in Lebanon supported by religious authorities. In fact, there is a charge in Lebanon that criminalizes any abuse to the divine self. This is in the so-said only democracy in the Arab world.
In fact, the Lebanese system based on “consensual democracy” between the sects was a result of the cooperation between the French occupation and the francophone Lebanese elite (mainly Christian). Even, Lebanon the country that we know it today was a result of this cooperation along with the Sykes–Picot Agreement between the English and French colonial powers that divided natural Syria (Bilad-El-Sham) between UK and France and gave Palestine to the Zionist movement.
This Lebanese system (as imagined by one of the founders of the Lebanese ideology: Michel Chiha) is a hybrid system that was the root of the Lebanese civil war (1975-1990), along with many smaller civil wars (1958, 2008, … ) .it is a generator of wars and problems due to its sectarian basis. By creating the system, France thought to keep a base for its interests in the Middle East after leaving Lebanon & Syria.
The situation for France in Lebanon, was much easier than in Syria where the refusal of the occupation was wider and intense through the great Syrian revolution launched by the Syrian Druze Leader Sultan Basha AlAtrash (1925) and much easier than in the Arabian “Maghreb” : Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. For example, Algeria was occupied by France for 130 years, many revolutions erupted against France starting from Abdel Kader until the revolution in 1954 and lasted until Algeria’s independence in 1962 causing a “one million Algerian martyr”.
The Algerian revolution, happened in a period where the Arab Nationalist movement was reaching its peak with the presence of Abdul Nasser as a symbol in Egypt and the whole Arab world, along with the Palestinian revolution, the Yemen war, the rise of National-Leftist regimes in many countries.
In this period you could read a book criticizing the religious ideologies by Sadik Galal Adhm or analyzing Coran by Muhammad Arakon or Nasr Hamed Abou Zeid. Some extremist leftist organizations like DFLP were writing revolutionary slogans on the walls of the mosques in Jordan (Before Black September 1970)… there was signals of Liberation and unity in all the Arab world.
Those events were not in the best interests of the western countries: USA as an emerging imperialist power or UK and France as past colonial powers, along with the Zionist entity. Noting that the Arab progressive regimes and parties were allied with the URSS. Thus, the western powers used their tools in the Arab world in the gulf regimes with mainly the Saudi Wahhabi Salafi regime along with the Muslim brotherhood (mainly in Egypt) to fight this phenomenon.
The fight that started in Afghanistan against the communist regime there backed by URSS, was the result of the cooperation between USA, Pakistan, KSA and the Jihadi groups led by Abdallah Azzam first and by Ben Lade after it which planted the seeds of “Al-Qaida” and “Taliban”.
After the fall of the URSS and the end of Afghanistan war, the returning so-called “Mujahidin” or “Arab-Afghan” ignited civil wars in many Arab countries (Algeria and Egypt for example in the 90s).
However, the creation of this extremist Islamic monster culminated with the 9-11 attacks which gave a reason for the US to occupy Afghanistan and then Iraq, helping to deteriorate the Iraqi state and “Lebanonising” it.
The situation will get even more dangerous after the “Arab Spring” that started in Tunisia and Egypt. The people ambition’s to toggle the dictatorship was transformed into a nightmare by western powers like NATO and Arab reactionary regimes backing the Salafist powers. And causing the creation of many failed states in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
The emergence of ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Sham)) known as “Daesh” in Arabic signalized a red alarm for the west. Although Daesh, is funded and supported by KSA, Qatar, Turkey gathering many opposition Syrian Islamist groups along with Salafi brigades from all around the world. Daesh continue to commit its crimes against minorities (Kurds, Yezedis, Christians, Shiites, Druze, Ismaelite, Alawite and even Sunnis who do not abide by its rules of Sharia) in Iraq and Syria (Extending to Lebanon also). The western powers who helped the creation of this monster to toggle the secular dictatorship of Al-Assad, is cooperating now with the Syrian regime to bomb Daesh.
But this monster is not easy to fight. And it seems that it is willing to extend its terror far behind Syria and Iraq. The massacre of Charlie Hebdo is only a sign.
However after all that many questions will be asked that I don’t have answers for: who will profit from this massacre except the Fascism everywhere (either the Fascist Islamism as Daesh, the Fascist Zionist entity and the Fascist parties in Europe from Le pen in France to Svoboda in Ukraine passing through Germany)? How can we avoid such racism and extremism? What is the root of the problem? Is it in Islam? Maybe? Is it in all kind of religion? Probably? Is it in all the Arabic culture? What is the fault of Arab immigrants in France and Europe in all of this? What will be their destiny? What will be the reaction of the European societies...
Many questions will rise however in this moment we cannot do anything other than expressing our solidarity with the victims of the above contradicting history.
The martyrs of Charlie Hebdo will be added to a list of victims in the Arab world killed by extremists from thinkers like Hussein Mroueh and Mahdi Amel in Lebanon to Farag Fouda in Egypt, to thousands of people killed by those terrorists from Algeria to Syria and from Iraq to Libya.
However the fight will continue against every extremism and racism from Europe to the Arab world. I summarize by the words of Charb:
« Je n’ai pas peur de représailles, je n’ai pas peur de gosses, pas de femmes, pas de voiture, pas de crédit. ca fait surement un peu pompeux, mais je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux. »
Ihsan El Masri