Jan 9, 2015
commented on Looking for the "Sense to Be Made" in the Charlie Hebdo Massacre
I did French studies in college and had the experience of living in France during the riots in the mid-'00s. Today, in a moment of total emotional ruggedness after hearing everyone miss the subtext of why this happens, I took to Facebox to vent:
"In response to all these well-intentioned albeit knee-jerk reactions in solidarity with those who were "murdered for free expression," the responses have been incredibly reductionist and simplistic. Not once have I seen or read a think-piece vivisecting modern, post-industrial France's byzantine relationship with its own past; one of over-reaching colonialism and horrific attempts at maintaining empire. I would go as far as to say, and forgive me for making this stretch, that France's relationship with its imperial past is as complex as our own country's relationship with race (slavery and immigration.) The two nations share a willed inability to reconcile with state trauma and a theme that is constantly whispered at an unbearable volume - IDENTITY; identity in language, in character, culture, pastime, policy, and economy. In our continued efforts to assert national identity, those who are the most afflicted in our society are those we deem unfit to include to enjoy it: people of color, religious minorities, foreign nationals or immigrants, or people with varying degrees of gender expression and sexual proclivities. Now, given that these communities suffer the brunt of an society unequal under advanced capital and the withering away of the public, is it really just to exercise your right to free expression toward the abasement of those to whom your identity is not extended? Practicing said right only to fulfill your a need to criticize marginalized persons is nothing short of wasting it. Go ahead and spew your free expression on the disempowered, but many people are seeking various means to speak truth to power, which is, correct if I'm wrong, what free speech is all about. That said, please stop referring to this as an attack on expression and speech. Please stop talking about violence in religion. This is only about identity and power."