Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Paris - January 11: A Disturbing Event > Shmuel Trigano

A longish, but rather interesting article, contemplating the Charlie Hebdo murders in Paris in January, and the deeper meanings of the mass demonstrations that followed. Note the comment in the second excerpted para below, that French sympathy morphed from the victims of the murders to Muslims in France.
The "pas d'amalgame" syndrome
Once again, as following all recent attacks in the West, the "pas d'amalgame" syndrome was immediately reactivated. "Pas d'amalgame" can be translated as "let's not blur distinction" or "let's not conflate" or "lump together," it being understood, though not expressly stated, that the object of this confusion is between terrorists and Muslims. What I mean by the "pas d'amalgame" syndrome is the automatic, almost ritualistic warning against blurring the distinction between terrorists and Muslims that is formulated in the same breath as the condemnation of the attack, if not beforehand; so much so that attention is first focused on the general Muslim population rather than on the victims of the attack or on the Islamic motivation for the crime. So instead of showing support for the victims, the weight of public opinion is thrown behind innocent Muslims. In this way the Muslim population became once again the focus of public debates. A "special attacks" evening of broadcasts on M6 the day of the rally, featured first a report on "Muslims families in France, caught in the storm," and then, only in second position, a report on the Jews of France. During the debates, Tarek Oubrou, Imam of Bordeaux and an adherent of the Muslim Brotherhood, invited to comment on the departure of Jews, declared that Muslims too were leaving France, in a very typical attitude that can be described as a form of symbolic ping-pong. Then there were calls to bestow the legion of Honor on "the Muslim [expressis verbis] Malian hero of the kosher supermarket." Six days after the attack, the president himself stated that, "Muslims are the first victim of fanaticism, fundamentalism, and intolerance." And, in response to the threats against Jews coming from fundamentalist mosques, the government extended security measures to mosques. The "pas d'amalgame" syndrome thus serves to position Muslims in the category of victims and collaterally stamp out any consideration of a specifically Islamic form of anti-Semitism.
The fact is that the blurring of distinctions is widespread amongst political leaders on the highest level (Cameron, Hollande, Obama, and others). After every attack they repeat the selfsame profession of faith, asserting urbi et orbi that the publicly stated reason for the attacks – namely, Islam – is being falsely cited by the assailants whose acts are actually "unrelated to Islam." It is obvious to everyone, however, that Islam is the unique motivation of the attackers, a fact that is corroborated by the rapidity with which some new converts to Islam commit terrorist acts for which they had no grounds prior to their conversion. The blurring of distinctions is thus surreptitiously reproduced whenever political leaders speak of Islam as an absolute or of the betrayal by these Islamists of Muslims as a whole. Their very need to defend Muslims as a whole, when there is no reason why they should ALL be held accountable for the fundamentalists among them (even if the latter claim to be motivated by Islam), is a sign that at bottom they believe there's a reason for suspicion..../end snip.

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