Hebdo: An Abolitionist’s Point of View

Thoughts on Terrorism Inflicted Upon Writers

On 7 January 2015, two Islamic terrorists forced their way into and opened fire in the Paris headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, killing twelve.  The aspect of personnel in the journalism field being murdered for, well, journalism, gave me something to really think about.

In my mind, I think “well damn, technically I’m a journalist.”  If I’m not a journalist, I’m definitely something that can suffer a huge backlash and criticism — an abolitionist writer.  Because of the subject matter of what I write, I find myself standing on a bridge between the international terrorism of Hebdo and the domestic terrorism of white supremacy.  Very much technically, Onyx Truth (or simply, just I) can be killed by terrorism…. because of a disagreement of something we write.

Terrorism is a tool of violence to change socio-political behavior; this can be anything from petrol-politics, government intervention, to a black child ogling at a white woman, or an attempt at breaking institutional racism.  Terrorism is simply put, using the politics of fear (of death or maiming) to control people.  Bodies are placed on display for a message.

So, the problem I have here is this:  due to the dead silence and lack of criticism on the terrorism inflicted upon the NAACP (which historically has happened), I can find it highly feasible that any abolitionist writers, talkers, or activists can be killed with near impunity with no media critical review.  In short, if someone ran into the Onyx Truth headquarters (because we got journalism-famous) and killed a few writers in the next couple of years, I can totally picture no media coverage.  And that’s scary.

Artificial Heroism

While I sincerely do not condone the murder of anyone because of or a mere disagreement, I have a severe problem with the artificial heroism constructed for the Charlie Hebdo staff.  While I am deeply sorry for their unfortunate loss, I simply cannot co-sign stating that these people are heroes of some sort.  They are not.

To put this into perspective, these illustrations are no different than the political cartoons of the past which only spoke of the public indoctrination of racism against Afro-Americans, Jews of Germany, Irish immigrants, Italian immigrants, and the list goes on.  On a superficial basis it’s easy to say “I am Charlie” when you don’t know the facts, but once you actually look at the bigger picture, I’ll have to vehemently say I am NOT Charlie Hebdo.

You see when it comes to satire, the poking of fun travels in the direction of upward, not downward.  What I mean is this:  satire has always been aimed at those who are more powerful than oneself (the elite, the rich, the royalty, the dominant social, economic, or political group), rather than being aimed at those who have less social capital, less socio-political power or influence.  This is precisely why Jon Stewart targets politicians, and O’Reilly simply doesn’t engage in satire.

So when we sit back and attempt to suggest that “it’s all cool because it’s satire”, I’m going have to ask you to play matador and cut the bull.  I’ll reiterate — I do NOT condone, support or defend the notion of killing journalists and cartoonists.  But get this right here:  I don’t support the notion of subtracting from others of lesser socio-political power for the sake of disturbing “sense of humor”.

And one more thing…

Due to the fact that the white self can infinitely remove himself for the white collective, I suggest that Muslims should do the same.  Why do a Muslim have to “denounce” the actions of others when whites NEVER apologize for any action in the collective sense?  If a white person doesn’t have to denounce the ever-so Christian Klu Klux Clan, then maybe a Muslim doesn’t doesn’t have to denounce a Muslim terrorist.  Maybe.

 Illustration by: Riber Hansson
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  • Johnny Silvercloud

    Heroes or not? Anyone in agreement or disagreement? Lay it down.

  • DaMarcus

    You make some good points about Charlie Hebdo and their message. I think most people see them as a kind of Robin Hood, standing up to the evil terrorists. I think that is partly true, but a lot their stuff was rooted in hate it seems. Anyway you slice it insults do not warrant bullets so Charlie Hebdo still comes out on top and all the terrorists did was give people another reason to hate them.

    I gotta disagree with you on that last point. I think the reason white people can separate themselves from other white people is because they don’t see themselves as a group. White people don’t have “white solidarity”. When was the last time you saw a bunch of white people marching or protesting in the name of white unity? Maybe the KKK or some other racist, skinhead group but white people as a whole don’t view themselves as a united group of people the way we do. And the reason people want Muslims to denounce Muslim terrorism is because at the root of it all Muslims share a common belief, they share a common way of life and ideology. They don’t all view their beliefs the same way which is why not all Muslims are terrorists, but they do all share the same common ideology and belief system. That’s why their Muslim. White people don’t have anything like that. They have different religions, different political views, different social standings and beliefs. White people, at least in America, are mostly independent. The only thing they have in common is their skin color and most all the white people I’ve ever met don’t really give a damn about that.

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