By: Mehdi Hasan
Dear liberal pundit,
You and I didn’t like George W Bush. Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubya’s slogan: either you are with free speech… or you are against it. Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo… or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic.
I’m writing to you to make a simple request: please stop. You think you’re defying the terrorists when, in reality, you’re playing into their bloodstained hands by dividing and demonising. Us and them. The enlightened and liberal west v the backward, barbaric Muslims. The massacre in Paris on 7 January was, you keep telling us, an attack on free speech. The conservative former French president Nicolas Sarkozy agrees, calling it “a war declared on civilisation”. So, too, does the liberal-left pin-up Jon Snow, who crassly tweeted about a “clash of civilisations” and referred to “Europe’s belief in freedom of expression”.
War of the Worlds Radio Drama and the Power of the Media. A classic example of how the masses are mindlessly moved by the media.
If you still do not believe that your television is used to spread propaganda then this video will open your eyes.
An interesting new paper recently published in Gender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, discusses the impact of the 2011 campaign, carried out by the French government, to publicize and promote the law banning the full veil from public spaces. The paper goes on to discuss how this campaign used specific norms of female dress in order to establish a certain understanding of French citizenship, which in turn only served to further alienate young Muslim women in France.
In 2007 President Sarkozy pledged to ‘protect’ women from oppression. He led a nationwide consultation and political campaign centred on gender and nationalism to publicise and promote the law banning the full veil from public spaces. This brought forward tensions with Islam and raised questions about the exclusionary nature of French citizenship. In 2011 an act was passed prohibiting the concealment of the face in public spaces; the burqa ban. A new article by Claire Hancock in Gender, Place and Culture studies the implications for gender, race, religion and citizenship in France. Can a veiled woman be truly French?