Muslim violence has returned to Paris, after nine years, with the murder of editorial-staff members of Charlie Hebdo. But the jihad of today looks different from the one that took place there in the fall of 2005. The previous jihadist was an aggressive and illiterate teenager with a baseball bat in one hand and a canister of gasoline in the other. He yelled, smashed store windows, set cars on fire, but did not murder anyone. This January, jihad appeared before Parisians as a mature young man, a trained and qualified fighter, a cold-blooded killer. Paris, which gave jihad the time and opportunity to mature, is now in a state of deep shock.
The biographies of the jihadist Kouachi brothers and their accomplice Amedy Coulibaly testify to all the mistakes that French authorities made over the past decade. As illiterate teenagers and urban hooligans, the terrorists were recruited in a mosque in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. The mullah, whose ties to terror groups are widely known, preaches there to this day. The terrorists visited countries of the Islamic world, and no one bothered to think on whose dime and with what purpose those trips were taken. The Kouachi brothers, by the way, visited Syria. Without a doubt, their arms were drenched to the elbows in the blood of Syrian Christians.
The terrorists demonstrated an uncanny ability to wage urban warfare. Paris still does not understand that it could have been not 3, but 30 or 300 attackers. The weapons were purchased and smuggled in, and you have to have no imagination at all to think that only those three were recruited, trained, and armed.
What will happen? Will France try again to convince herself that the Islamic expansion is not taking place? From all parts of French society, one hears the recommendations not to “foment discord,” not to “provoke”—as if one who possesses the intent to conquer, the power to arrange for it, and the weapons to carry it out needs provocation to proceed. As the wolf in the Russian rendering of Aesop’s fable said to the lamb before devouring the poor creature, “Your only fault is that I am hungry.” The utter ridiculousness of the elites, both in France and throughout Europe, in the days after the double terror attacks is evidence only of their total helplessness in the face of the Islamists’ challenge.
France did not have it in her to say that the enemy is jihad. So the mass marches were based on the idea of dying for freedom of speech. At least that is the explanation for the indifference accorded to those victims who did not work for Charlie Hebdo. The hostages from the kosher supermarket, the bystander, and the murdered policemen were left out by the slogan “Je suis Charlie.” This unifying slogan also explains the indifference to the horrid anti-Christian terror attack in Nigeria, performed by an underage “human bomb”; to the death of three schoolchildren kidnapped and murdered in Israel this past summer; and to the bloody slaughter in the Jerusalem synagogue. No need even to mention the children of Novorossiya who are murdered every day by bombs banned by international law, considering the peculiar position of the European Union vis-à-vis Ukraine.
Who cares about all of those victims? After all, unlike the staff of Charlie Hebdo, they had the misfortune of not being members of the journalistic fraternity. (The Charlie victims were pretty shoddy representatives of it, but let us try to contain ourselves, out of respect for the death of any law-abiding citizen.) They were simply victims of terrorism.
The march in Paris had only one aim: to calm society by creating an illusion of unity in the face of danger. But is unity even possible when the real nature of the danger is willfully obfuscated? This was a march of disgrace. The leader of the one political party that makes serious efforts to try to prevent tragedies like the one in January was not allowed to take part in the march. Maybe that was for the best; after all, Marine Le Pen is above such cheap and false endeavors. Benjamin Netanyahu, a coreligionist of several of the victims, came to Paris practically against François Hollande’s wishes. On the other hand, Mahmoud Abbas, a coreligionist of the murderers and the head of the terrorist group Fatah, was invited without any reservations.
Petro Poroshenko, on whose orders civilians in Southeast Ukraine were dying during the very days of the Parisians’ sorrow, was also invited to the march. Wake up, France! The rampant neo-Nazism in the Ukraine flew under the radar for a long time. But now, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has asserted on live television that “Russia invaded Germany” during World War II. France, do you no longer honor the memory of the Normandie-Niemen Regiment and the Maquis heroes?
The leaders of Europe marched by a different route, separate from the people. What a sinister symbol: Following today’s leaders of Europe one finds only a tight row of bodyguards.
The unfortunate employees of Charlie Hebdo were not Christians. Judging by their caricatures, they hated Christianity. But in the weeks after the Parisian massacre, several Christian churches were burned to the ground in West Africa, “in protest against the caricatures of Charlie Hebdo.” Five people were killed, one of them a Catholic who was burned alive in his church. I could not find the name of this martyr in the news stories. Apparently, it is too insignificant. After all, he was not a martyr for Charlie.
Some Muslims, feeling insulted by caricatures, murder journalists. Other Muslims, in effect, express solidarity with the murderers; a few do so by participating in the murders, many others by taking part in demonstrations, but virtually all of them sympathize with the killers. That is real unity: true, genuine, purposeful unity. All of Western society was in the sights of the bazooka of the Kouachi brothers. They did not care whether you drew caricatures, prayed, or went to a grocery store to do shopping.
The lack of political will to understand the true nature of the rapidly coming catastrophe is all too apparent. Without this understanding, and without the ability to call things by their real names, it is simply impossible to seek a solution to this colossal problem.
If no new terror attacks take place in Western European capitals for some time, an illusory calm will descend upon France. Yet if no immediate and harsh measures are taken, next time there will be hundreds of Kouachi brothers.