Charlie Hebdo must not justify Islamophobia, war and militarization!
The indications are that the horrendous killings at the the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in
Paris will unfortunately be used by the governments of the US, France, Australia and other Western
powers to ratchet up Islamophobia and to justify the continuation of their post 9/11 program of
endless wars, as well as the increased militarisation of Asia and other Third World regions. As we
condemn the killings, we also oppose any and every attempt to use them as a pretext to promote
anti-Muslim prejudice and Islamophobia.
In the same week that the Charlie Hebdo killings took place, in the Philippines another journalist,
Nerlita Ladesma, was gunned down, adding to the total of 145 journalists killed since the overthrow
of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. Five years ago 32 journalists were killed in the Maguindanao
massacre in the lead-up to the 2010 Presidential elections. On January 11 one of the prime suspects
was allowed to walk free on bail.
Experience tells us that democratic rights are hard won and always conditional — hence referred to
as ‘elite democracy’, under our present system. They require sustained mass mobilisations to be
defended and extended. We hope that the mass mobilizations in Europe condemning the Charlie
Hebdo killings will be replicated around each and every attack on democratic rights. This includes
mobilizations in opposition to the French government’s ban on demonstrations in solidarity with
the Palestinian people, the criminalization of Muslim women wearing the veil or hijab, and racist
attacks against Muslims and other migrant communities.
We also need to expose the cynical hypocrisy of the governments that have feigned support for the
“freedom of speech” and who led the march in Paris. The Prime Minister of Turkey, the country which
has jailed many journalists and has carried out a policy of systematic and brutal oppression of the
Kurdish people. The Foreign Minister of Egypt, which has three Al Jazeera staff serving 10-year prison
terms on absurd convictions. The Prime Minister of Ireland, where blasphemy remains an enforced
criminal offence. The Saudi Arabian ambassador to France, representing a government which is a
dictatorship against women and which has just handed out a thousand lashes to a man convicted of
blasphemy. Qatar, where people are serving 15-year terms for "blasphemous" poetry. Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu, responsible for the genocidal war against the people of Gaza, whose military forces
targeted journalists during the Gaza invasion. The UK Prime Minister David Cameron and the US
Attorney General, whose governments are responsible for having killed more than one million Iraqis
and thousands in murderous drone attacks. The US has brutally cracked down on whistle blowers
who have exposed the governments routine spying operations, including against its own people.
To cap it all the US has now called for a conference against violence!
We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in the Middle East, as well as our Muslim brothers
and sisters, especially those living in the West, who must brace themselves against the fallout of these
events and the rising anti-Muslim prejudice. We oppose any attempts by international powers to use
the recent events to intensify their program of endless war and interventions in the Middle East and
against other Third World countries. We will continue to struggle against the US policy of increased
militarization in Asia and our region.#