I made a rather long comment on a guest post in Ophelia Benson's site Butterflies & Wheels, titled "If you say 'I am not Charlie', you are not a liberal". Then, Ophelia published my comment as a guest post of it's own. I'm sharing it with you.
Originally a comment by Carlos Cabanita on If you say “I’m not Charlie,” you are not a liberal.
I agree. How come Western liberals love their liberties so much, conquered through centuries of bloody wars and revolutions (and we aren’t halfway through, I think), but for the oppressed people of the rest of the world they show the middle finger?
Stay with your mullahs, accept your theocratic dictators, hide under your burkas and leave us alone! As long as you let us play our world chess and get cheap oil to finish poisoning the planet, it’s all right for us.
This position is imperialist, the same as that other one that demonizes Islam as an unhistorical evil power that threatens the West and against which all neocon aggression is justified. It’s like the good cop-bad cop routine of the enhanced interrogation (torture).
I’ve seen the Maghrebi women working in a Paris saturday morning, happy to show off their miniskirts and fashion. Paris gives them a taste of freedom, so precious we can’t imagine, because it’s scarce. Returning home they have to cover again, but they were able to taste a bit of freedom and it’s addictive. So those defending the rights of the religious Islamic patriarchic men want to police them even in France, under the pretext of respecting their culture. Why respect the culture if we don’t respect people?
If we denounce the terrorist attacks of Islamists, we are accused of playing into the neocon discourse. If we denounce the imperialist “war on terror”, we are accused of supporting the terrorists. The only solution is to take a clear stance against terrorism but also give support to those of our sisters and brothers who fight for freedom and human rights in the developing countries and among the migrant communities. After all, they are the only hope that their countries one day would become really democratic, progressive and peaceful.
Despite all the obfuscation happening now, this position will win in the long run, I hope.
The building of healthy working nations, with increasing openness and civil freedom is the only way of development that works for their societies. That’s what they have been doing all along, as soon as they managed to come out of the colonial stranglehold. Look at all those Latin American countries. Who liberated them? Themselves. Who torpedoed their independence and wealth all the way? The US.
Who scuttled the Sukarno Indonesian government in a terrible bloodbath to impose Suharto? Who chased Mosadegh to enthrone the Shah? More recently, who destroyed Libya? (No, they did not destroy the Qaddafi regime, they destroyed the country with Al Qaeda troops under the command of NATO military cadres and covered by the attacks of their Air Forces.)
Now the US/NATO is trying to do the same to Syria, after destroying Iraq (once more, they did much more than destroying the regime, they ruined the country).
Why do I say all this? Because racism, as much as it is prevalent in Europe and the USA against the Muslim immigrants, is not what stings the millions that are still in their countries. It’s imperialism.
And I return to Obama. He gloats that the US is the mightiest country in the world. Sure. And shows his hands red with the blood of the people he has been killing in illegal covert wars and drone attacks. His hands are not cleaner than Bush/Cheney’s, they are perhaps dirtier. Nobody knows, it’s all secret now.
So fuck him.