Letters & Opinion

To Kill A Mocking Voice

From the dawn of time to the offices of Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 in Paris, France, man continues to use whatever means at his disposal to control other men. Military might, economic power, trading agreements, violence or the threat of it, prestige, and privileged position—these are all wielded by individual countries, groups of countries, and individuals, in their quest to subjugate man to their will.

Race, ethnicity, caste systems, class systems, intellectual punditry, politics, religion, and just plain greed are some of the hobgoblins that feed the shallow need for domination. And, none is immune. From “superpower” nations—and the world has seen its fair share of those—to caliphates, to kings, to transnational corporations, to the poor neighbour who lords it over his poorer neighbour, we just can’t seem to quash the urge to be “bigger”, “better”, or “purer” than somebody or everybody else, so we can enjoy the attendant “benefits” that this status brings.

Why do we continually allow our various diversities to create the imps who provoke dastardly behaviours? Why doesn’t the 20/20 vision of history guide current behaviours so we can avoid the mistakes of the past? Do we all have a rogue gene in our DNA that presupposes this cognitive state? And, if not, why, then, do so many of us still harken to religious, political, race, and other dogma to inflict severe pain, and worse, on others? And, too, why do so many of us believe that it is okay, because it is legally permissible, to heap shame, insult, or dishonour on others in the name of free speech and freedom of expression?

A little over four decades ago, I read a passage from a book wherein the writer laments: “O religion, what sins are committed in thy name!” Those sins that the writer refers to are not committed in the name of religion, per se, but in the name of a merciful God who, all such religions teach, frown on all sin. Whether we choose to call this God Yahweh, JAH, Jehovah, Allah, or something else, the characteristics we ascribe to him suggest a universality that is unassailable, and which goes beyond race, ethnicity, or a caste construct. Is this God so weak, so powerless to defend his name or that of his prophets—living or dead—that he accepts men’s vile actions perpetrated against other men based on an interpretation or misinterpretation of His written word?

Christian crusades,jihads—fought against the heathen or the infidel, in the name of God, have darkened the annals of civilization for millennia. And, the senseless slaughter has almost always been conceptualized, planned, and implemented by “holy men” whose utterances are seemingly unquestionable and absolute, and who operate from a “safe” distance; “holy men” who assume the judgment power of God and commit mayhem in his name.

The Charlie Hebdo matter simmered for years. From the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Postens, cartoon depiction of the prophet Mohammed in 2005, to the magazine, Charlie Hebdo, republishing the cartoons in February, 2006, in defiance of the violent stand taken against the Danish newspaper, it all came to a murderous head on January 7, 2015 when two men stormed the offices of the Paris magazine. And, as is always the case, the questions, the recriminations, the never-ending soul-searching begins. And, as is always the case, the oft-repeated, hollow phrase “never again” is sounded, then forgotten in the seemingly benign beginning of yet another massacre.

Why do we continue to treat God as if He were one of us? Why do we continue to use our finite reasoning to probe the infinite? What makes us think we can punish those whom we consider to have acted with impropriety towards God or his prophets? Yes, I believe it is morally repugnant for one to attack another’s religious beliefs in a manner that causes hurt, insult, or dishonour! But, I believe it is even more repugnant for one to effect a revenge killing in the name of God or his prophets! After all, didn’t God give us free will or choice in the matter of our everyday actions to which He alone, and not anyone else, has the power to hold us accountable? Why, then, do men mock God further, by claiming His Divine right to retribution against those who rebel against Him?

I leave it to the “experts” to answer most of the questions I’ve posed above. I do know this, however: with due regard to free will or choice bestowed upon us all by God, I must declare, “I am Charlie.”

By Andrew Antoine

10 Comments

  1. “… we just can’t seem to quash the urge to be “bigger”, “better”, or “purer” than somebody or everybody else, so we can enjoy the attendant “benefits” that this status brings.”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————-
    Earl, why are you picking on my good friend Son-of-man? lol

  2. This bipolar TOM-TOM needs help to obtain his Prozac. Sad to see a one time promising African loosing his mind as a result of the oppression of White Supremacy and its religious institutions.

    George Galloway boldly declared “Je ne suis pas Charlie Hebdo” during a damning address at a freedom of speech rally in Bradford on Saturday.

    The Respected MP told a crowd of protestors gathered outside Bradford City Hall that the French government should be ashamed of themselves for standing by the “racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag” in the wake of the attacks in Paris that killed 17 people last week.

    The shootings were provoked by the printing of a front cover displaying a caricature of the Prophet Mohamed.

    “No person, no human being should be subjected to violence, still less death for anything that they have said, written or drawn,” he said.

    “So we condemn utterly the murder of 17 people in the events in Paris. But we will not allow this Charlie Hebdo magazine to be described as a king of loveable, anarchic, fun book of cartoons.

    “These are not cartoons, these are not depictions of the Prophet, these are pornographic, obscene insults to the Prophet and by extension, 1.7billion human beings on this earth and there are limits.

    “There are limits. There limits to free speech and free expression especially in France.”

    Charlie Hebdo sought “to further marginalize, further alienate and further endanger exactly those parts of the community who are already alienated, already endangered,” he argued.

  3. @ Son-of-man ( when it’s a full-moon) “Tom-Tom, that’s the reason I enjoy reading your opinions in these blog. Who can rebuttal such poignant and deliberate argument so magnificently presented by you?”

    @ Son-of-man (when it’s a new-moon) “This bipolar TOM-TOM needs help to obtain his Prozac.”
    ********************************************************************

    Again, I’ll repeat; stop allowing the phases of the moon to dictate your mood swings. Never ever give people a reason to call you a lunatic. OK my boy? Now put your pacifier in your mouth and go to bed.

  4. There’s a certain shallowness to the “Blame everyone”, while completely ignoring the eight-hundred pound gorilla in the room; the belief by the Caucasian Christian nations, France, England, and USA that they possess the innate right to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression.

    These Caucasians in Europe and America yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie, “American Sniper” venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of the now-anemic open society that permits the government to read your mail and listen-in on your phone calls..

    In this movie now breaking all box-office records and nominated for several Oscars, opens with a father and his young son hunting a deer. The boy shoots the animal, drops his rifle and runs to see his kill. Chris Hedges tells it like this:

    “Get back here,” his father yells. “You don’t ever leave your rifle in the dirt.”

    “Yes, sir,” the boy answers. “That was a helluva shot, son,” the father says. “You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.”

    The camera cuts to a church interior where a congregation of white Christians—blacks appear in this film as often as in a Woody Allen movie—are listening to a sermon about God’s plan for American Christians. The film’s title character, based on Chris Kyle, who would become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, well, it appears from the sermon, be called upon by God to use his “gift” to kill evildoers.

    The scene shifts to the Kyle family dining room table as the father intones in a Texas twang: “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe evil doesn’t exist in the world. And if it ever darkened their doorstep they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep. And then you got predators.”

    The camera cuts to a schoolyard bully beating a smaller boy.

    “They use violence to prey on people,” the father goes on. “They’re the wolves. Then there are those blessed with the gift of aggression and an overpowering need to protect the flock. They are a rare breed who live to confront the wolf. They are the sheepdog. We’re not raising any sheep in this family.”

    The father lashes his belt against the dining room table.

    “I will whup your ass if you turn into a wolf,” he says to his two sons. “We protect our own. If someone tries to fight you, tries to bully your little brother, you have my permission to finish it.”

    There is no shortage of simpletons whose minds are warped by this belief system. We elected one of them, George W. Bush, as president. They populate the armed forces and the Christian right. They watch Fox News and believe it. They have little understanding or curiosity about the world outside their insular communities. They are proud of their ignorance and anti-intellectualism. They prefer drinking beer and watching football to reading a book. And when they get into power—they already control the Congress, the corporate world, most of the media and the war machine—their binary vision of good and evil and their myopic self-adulation cause severe trouble for their country. “American Sniper,” like the big-budget feature films pumped out in Germany during the Nazi era to exalt deformed values of militarism, racial self-glorification and state violence, is a piece of propaganda, a tawdry commercial for the crimes of empire. That it made a record-breaking $105.3 million over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday long weekend is a symptom of the United States’ dark malaise.

  5. (contd.)

    “The movie never asks the seminal question as to why the people of Iraq are fighting back against us in the very first place,” said Mikey Weinstein, whom I reached by phone in New Mexico. Weinstein, who worked in the Reagan White House and is a former Air Force officer, is the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which challenges the growing Christian fundamentalism within the U.S. military. “It made me physically ill with its twisted, totally one-sided distortions of wartime combat ethics and justice woven into the fabric of Chris Kyle’s personal and primal justification mantra of ‘God-Country-Family.’ It is nothing less than an odious homage, indeed a literal horrific hagiography to wholesale slaughter.”

    Weinstein noted that the embrace of extreme right-wing Christian chauvinism, or Dominionism, which calls for the creation of a theocratic “Christian” America, is especially acute among elite units such as the SEALs and the Army Special Forces.

    The evildoers don’t take long to make an appearance in the film. This happens when television—the only way the movie’s characters get news—announces the 1998 truck bombings of the American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi in which hundreds of people were killed. Chris, now grown, and his brother, aspiring rodeo riders, watch the news reports with outrage. Ted Koppel talks on the screen about a “war” against the United States.

    “Look what they did to us,” Chris whispers.

    He heads down to the recruiter to sign up to be a Navy SEAL. We get the usual boot camp scenes of green recruits subjected to punishing ordeals to make them become real men. In a bar scene, an aspiring SEAL has painted a target on his back and comrades throw darts into his skin. What little individuality these recruits have—and they don’t appear to have much—is sucked out of them until they are part of the military mass. They are unquestioningly obedient to authority, which means, of course, they are sheep.

    We get a love story too. Chris meets Taya in a bar. They do shots. The movie slips, as it often does, into clichéd dialogue.

    She tells him Navy SEALs are “arrogant, self-centered pricks who think you can lie and cheat and do whatever the fuck you want. I’d never date a SEAL.”

    “Why would you say I’m self-centered?” Kyle asks. “I’d lay down my life for my country.”

    “Why?”

    “Because it’s the greatest country on earth and I’d do everything I can to protect it,” he says.

    She drinks too much. She vomits. He is gallant. He helps her home. They fall in love. Taya is later shown watching television. She yells to Chris in the next room.

    “Oh, my God, Chris,” she says.

    “What’s wrong?” he asks.

    “No!” she yells.

    Then we hear the television announcer: “You see the first plane coming in at what looks like the east side. …”

  6. Chris and Taya watch in horror. Ominous music fills the movie’s soundtrack. The evildoers have asked for it. Kyle will go to Iraq to extract vengeance. He will go to fight in a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, a country that columnist Thomas Friedman once said we attacked “because we could.” The historical record and the reality of the Middle East don’t matter. Muslims are Muslims. And Muslims are evildoers or, as Kyle calls them, “savages.” Evildoers have to be eradicated.

    Chris and Taya marry. He wears his gold Navy SEAL trident on the white shirt under his tuxedo at the wedding. His SEAL comrades are at the ceremony.

    “Just got the call, boys—it’s on,” an officer says at the wedding reception.

    The Navy SEALs cheer. They drink. And then we switch to Fallujah. It is Tour One. Kyle, now a sniper, is told Fallujah is “the new Wild West.” This may be the only accurate analogy in the film, given the genocide we carried out against Native Americans. He hears about an enemy sniper who can do “head shots from 500 yards out. They call him Mustafa. He was in the Olympics.”

    Kyle’s first kill is a boy who is handed an anti-tank grenade by a young woman in a black chador. The woman, who expresses no emotion over the boy’s death, picks up the grenade after the boy is shot and moves toward U.S. Marines on patrol. Kyle kills her too. And here we have the template for the film and Kyle’s best-selling autobiography, “American Sniper.” Mothers and sisters in Iraq don’t love their sons or their brothers. Iraqi women breed to make little suicide bombers. Children are miniature Osama bin Ladens. Not one of the Muslim evildoers can be trusted—man, woman or child. They are beasts. They are shown in the film identifying U.S. positions to insurgents on their cellphones, hiding weapons under trapdoors in their floors, planting improvised explosive devices in roads or strapping explosives onto themselves in order to be suicide bombers. They are devoid of human qualities.

    “There was a kid who barely had any hair on his balls,” Kyle says nonchalantly after shooting the child and the woman. He is resting on his cot with a big Texas flag behind him on the wall. “Mother gives him a grenade, sends him out there to kill Marines.”

    Enter The Butcher—a fictional Iraqi character created for the film. Here we get the most evil of the evildoers. He is dressed in a long black leather jacket and dispatches his victims with an electric drill. He mutilates children—we see a child’s arm he amputated. A local sheik offers to betray The Butcher for $100,000. The Butcher kills the sheik. He murders the sheik’s small son in front of his mother with his electric drill. The Butcher shouts: “You talk to them, you die with them.”

    Kyle moves on to Tour Two after time at home with Taya, whose chief role in the film is to complain through tears and expletives about her husband being away. Kyle says before he leaves: “They’re savages. Babe, they’re fuckin’ savages.”

    He and his fellow platoon members spray-paint the white skull of the Punisher from Marvel Comics on their vehicles, body armor, weapons and helmets. The motto they paint in a circle around the skull reads: “Despite what your momma told you … violence does solve problems.”

    “And we spray-painted it on every building and walls we could,” Kyle wrote in his memoir, “American Sniper.” “We wanted people to know, we’re here and we want to fuck with you. …You see us? We’re the people kicking your ass. Fear us because we will kill you, motherfucker.”

    The book is even more disturbing than the film. In the film Kyle is a reluctant warrior, one forced to do his duty. In the book he relishes killing and war. He is consumed by hatred of all Iraqis. He is intoxicated by violence. He is credited with 160 confirmed kills, but he notes that to be confirmed a kill had to be witnessed, “so if I shot someone in the stomach and he managed to crawl around where we couldn’t see him before he bled out he didn’t count.”
    —————————-
    I will stop here.

  7. Noam Chomsky discusses terrifying “American Sniper” mentality

    “In the memoirs he describes what the experience was like, so I’ll quote him,” Chomsky said. “His first kill was a woman, who walked into the street with a grenade in her hand as the Marines attacked her village. Chris Kyle killed her with a single shot, and he explains how he felt about it.”

    “‘I hated the damn savages I’d been fighting,’” Chomsky stated, quoting a passage from Kyle’s memoir. “‘Savage, despicable, evil — that’s what we were fighting in Iraq. That’s why a lot of people, myself included, called the enemy savages. There was really no other way to describe what we encountered there.””

    Chomsky admits he has not seen the movie, but read many reviews — including laudatory reviews in the New Yorker and New York Times, along with a scathing review in Newsweek by Jeff Stein.

    “Getting back to Chris Kyle, he regarded his first kill as a terrorist — this woman who walked in the street,” Chomsky stated after discussing Stein’s review. “But we can’t really attribute that to the mentality of a psychopathic killer, because we’re all tarred by the same brush, insofar as we tolerate or keep silent about official policy.

    “Now, that mentality helps explain why it’s so easy to ignore what is most clearly the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern history — if not ever. Obama’s global assassination campaign, the drone campaign, which officially is aimed at murdering people who are suspected of maybe someday planning to harm us.”

    “I’d advise you to read some of the transcripts with drone operators,” Chomsky continued. “They’re harrowing — the guys who are sitting in front of computers in Las Vegas.”

    1. THE ONLYONE:

      I truly feel saddened how controlled your thinking is; so much so, that your vomit exactly what you are told through the mind-controllers. It is sickening that you should display a total inability to think critically.

      U.S.A. invaded another country killing millions of Iraqis who had done nothing to the people of the U.S.A., terrorizing the population of Iraq in the “video game” George Bush named “SHOCK & AWE”, when thousands of the latest weapons were rained on a captured population – men, boys, girls, women and infants. You are incapable of perceiving such mass murder as terror because you were not instructed to do so by the White Supremacist? I will not mention Ghaza Concentration Camp.

      Five years ago, on January 23 2009, a CIA drone flattened a house in Pakistan’s tribal regions. It was the third day of Barack Obama’s presidency, and this was the new commander-in-chief’s first covert drone strike.

      Initial reports said up to ten militants were killed, including foreign fighters and possibly a ‘high-value target’ – a successful first hit for the fledgling administration.

      But reports of civilian casualties began to emerge. As later reports revealed, the strike was far from a success. At least nine civilians died, most of them from one family. There was one survivor, 14-year-old Fahim Qureshi, but with horrific injuries including shrapnel wounds in his stomach, a fractured skull and a lost eye, he was as much a victim as his dead relatives.

      Across Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, the Obama administration has launched more than 390 drone strikes in the five years since the first attack that injured Qureshi – eight times as many as were launched in the entire Bush presidency. These strikes have killed more than 2,400 people, at least 273 of them reportedly civilians. The peopled killed were assassinated because someone believed they might be planning to kill Americans – no trials – simply assassinated by the real terrorist.

      Here’s a list of children killed by Christian Terrorist. You should expand your thinking and not allow yourself to be brainwashed like my rich friend who lives with Caucasians in Bergen County and thinks he is white like O.J. Simpson.

      List of children killed by drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen

      Compiled from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports

      PAKISTAN
      Name | Age | Gender
      Noor Aziz | 8 | male
      Abdul Wasit | 17 | male
      Noor Syed | 8 | male
      Wajid Noor | 9 | male
      Syed Wali Shah | 7 | male
      Ayeesha | 3 | female
      Qari Alamzeb | 14| male
      Shoaib | 8 | male
      Hayatullah KhaMohammad | 16 | male
      Tariq Aziz | 16 | male
      Sanaullah Jan | 17 | male
      Maezol Khan | 8 | female
      Nasir Khan | male
      Naeem Khan | male
      Naeemullah | male
      Mohammad Tahir | 16 | male
      Azizul Wahab | 15 | male
      Fazal Wahab | 16 | male
      Ziauddin | 16 | male
      Mohammad Yunus | 16 | male
      Fazal Hakim | 19 | male
      Ilyas | 13 | male
      Sohail | 7 | male
      Asadullah | 9 | male
      khalilullah | 9 | male
      Noor Mohammad | 8 | male
      Khalid | 12 | male
      Saifullah | 9 | male
      Mashooq Jan | 15 | male
      Nawab | 17 | male
      Sultanat Khan | 16 | male
      Ziaur Rahman | 13 | male
      Noor Mohammad | 15 | male
      Mohammad Yaas Khan | 16 | male
      Qari Alamzeb | 14 | male
      Ziaur Rahman | 17 | male
      Abdullah | 18 | male
      Ikramullah Zada | 17 | male
      Inayatur Rehman | 16 | male
      Shahbuddin | 15 | male
      Yahya Khan | 16 |male
      Rahatullah |17 | male
      Mohammad Salim | 11 | male
      Shahjehan | 15 | male
      Gul Sher Khan | 15 | male
      Bakht Muneer | 14 | male
      Numair | 14 | male
      Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
      Ihsanullah | 16 | male
      Luqman | 12 | male
      Jannatullah | 13 | male
      Ismail | 12 | male
      Taseel Khan | 18 | male
      Zaheeruddin | 16 | male
      Qari Ishaq | 19 | male
      Jamshed Khan | 14 | male
      Alam Nabi | 11 | male
      Qari Abdul Karim | 19 | male
      Rahmatullah | 14 | male
      Abdus Samad | 17 | male
      Siraj | 16 | male
      Saeedullah | 17 | male
      Abdul Waris | 16 | male
      Darvesh | 13 | male
      Ameer Said | 15 | male
      Shaukat | 14 | male
      Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
      Salman | 12 | male
      Fazal Wahab | 18 | male
      Baacha Rahman | 13 | male
      Wali-ur-Rahman | 17 | male
      Iftikhar | 17 | male
      Inayatullah | 15 | male
      Mashooq Khan | 16 | male
      Ihsanullah | 16 | male
      Luqman | 12 | male
      Jannatullah | 13 | male
      Ismail | 12 | male
      Abdul Waris | 16 | male
      Darvesh | 13 | male
      Ameer Said | 15 | male
      Shaukat | 14 | male
      Inayatur Rahman | 17 | male
      Adnan | 16 | male
      Najibullah | 13 | male
      Naeemullah | 17 | male
      Hizbullah | 10 | male
      Kitab Gul | 12 | male
      Wilayat Khan | 11 | male
      Zabihullah | 16 | male
      Shehzad Gul | 11 | male
      Shabir | 15 | male
      Qari Sharifullah | 17 | male
      Shafiullah | 16 | male
      Nimatullah | 14 | male
      Shakirullah | 16 | male
      Talha | 8 | male

      YEMEN
      Afrah Ali Mohammed Nasser | 9 | female
      Zayda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 7 | female
      Hoda Ali Mohammed Nasser | 5 | female
      Sheikha Ali Mohammed Nasser | 4 | female
      Ibrahim Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 13 | male
      Asmaa Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 9 | male
      Salma Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | female
      Fatima Abdullah Mokbel Salem Louqye | 3 | female
      Khadije Ali Mokbel Louqye | 1 | female
      Hanaa Ali Mokbel Louqye | 6 | female
      Mohammed Ali Mokbel Salem Louqye | 4 | male
      Jawass Mokbel Salem Louqye | 15 | female
      Maryam Hussein Abdullah Awad | 2 | female
      Shafiq Hussein Abdullah Awad | 1 | female
      Sheikha Nasser Mahdi Ahmad Bouh | 3 | female
      Maha Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 12 | male
      Soumaya Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 9 | female
      Shafika Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 4 | female
      Shafiq Mohammed Saleh Mohammed | 2 | male
      Mabrook Mouqbal Al Qadari | 13 | male
      Daolah Nasser 10 years | 10 | female
      AbedalGhani Mohammed Mabkhout | 12 | male
      Abdel- Rahman Anwar al Awlaki | 16 | male
      Abdel-Rahman al-Awlaki | 17 | male
      Nasser Salim | 19

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