In Other News: Charlie Hebdo

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A look at a current news item through the lens of different Gale electronic resources. For the past several months, I’ve written a (nearly) weekly post focusing on the varied types of research materials available to users of our eBook platform, GVRL. But that’s just the beginning. Starting this week, I’ll be alternating between GVRL and Gale’s other electronic resources.

By Michelle Eickmeyer

J’adore Paris au printemps. Et en été, et à l’automne, et l’hiver. Paris holds some of my favorite memories, and now a bit of heartbreak.

The attacks against the Charlie Hebdo staff was horrifying. In principle, the idea that killing someone who says/does something you don’t like is atrocious, cowardly, and undermining to your cause. But life is rarely as easy as that and understanding the values and beliefs of participants on either side often make it more difficult to see a clear common ground. Sadly, acts like this make it impossible to keep/gain a level-head. Proponents will cheer while opponents jeer. Both loudly, toward each other, without the ability to hear the other. It remains to be seen if that can be improved with time. History would indicate a cautious probably not.

Here are a few resources that look at the Charlie Hebdo/Paris attacks from different perspectives (This post was researched and written on January 13th and 16th):

Academic OneFile

I remember where I was when the attacks of September 11th, 2001 happened. I remember what my coworker told me, and my response, and my feeling as I realized quickly this was much more than I expected. Crucial to any hope of normal that day, and many which followed, was access to news. Like, right now news. New news. All the time. I watched or listened to news nearly every minute of that first week. None of it made sense, and I was sure Peter Jennings would be able to help me. He couldn’t, sadly.

After Paris attacks, search widens for accomplices. CNN Wire, 13 January 2015.voltaire

If the last few days had a “subtitle,” it would involve sleeper cells, lone wolves, homegrown terrorists, and hidden networks. While the world mourns the attacks in Paris, we also quietly and self-consciously wonder … could it happen to us? Key to understanding a reasonable answer to that question (though if we’re being honest, in 2015, there is a possibility of anything, all the time, everywhere) is rooting out all members of the “team” which executed this plan. What does the takeover of American government websites imply about safety here? And what does Anonymous’ declaration of retaliation for last week’s attacks mean for anyone? While the wife of one Charlie Hebdo shooter has left France for Syria, leading to speculations of involvement, the wife of the other has condemned her husband’s actions. In the midst of fear, the largest gathering to support peace in France saw 3.7M marchers across the country, including 1.5 M in Paris. Some good in a city of sadness.

Islam and free speech: What’s so funny?. Al Jazeera America, 13 January 2015.

The role of a free press is to uphold the right to free speech. And each side of a story has a right to present their side. This article from (today’s) Al Jazeera America questions the widespread adoption of the “Je Suis Charlie” mantra, “Many would never condone Charlie Hebdo’s content, so why self-identify with the magazine?” When Charlie Hebdo previously fired someone for producing anti-Semitic materials (in France, as all of Europe, it is illegal to deny the Holocaust), why does it routinely press an anti-Islamic agenda without consequence? Consider this thought-provoking question: Is someone’s Muslim faith only relevant in a negative context?

Global Issues in Context

France currently has the largest population of Muslims in Europe. Sadly, this (relatively young) religion of peace is often cast in an air of distrust, malice, and extremism. While there are elements which may justify this, how does someone justify the fear? Should all Christians be judged by the Klu Klux Klan or the group of extremist who shot and killed innocent people in the Sikh Temple massacre of 2012? Is every battle involving a Muslim extremist a battle of Islam?

France’s burqa ban: Has Europe forgotten the gas chambers?(Opinion) The Christian Science Monitor, 14 April 2011

 Islamaphobia is a real thing, first referenced in the 1997 report “Islamaphobia: A Challenge for Us All.” Outlined in this, ahem, study are 8 tenants of Islamaphobes. This Christian Science article looks at the affects of (then) newly voted-upon regulations for wearing traditional religions dress in public. (It should be noted that these laws apply to all types of dress, including Jewish yarmulkes.) This opinion piece seeks to draw parallels between social and political prejudice of current Muslims and past examples of religious minority intolerance. What lessons can, should and should not be drawn from this analogy?

An Assault on the French Identity.(OpEd) The New York Times, 10 January 2015.

How do you reconcile a French identity which is more Muslim than many other “Western” countries, and yet publishes the most anti-Islamic magazine in just about the entire world? This week, following the attacks in Paris, a book was released by a French author, on the likely scenario of France becoming an Islamic state in 2022. In this editorial piece, the commentary speaks to the fear of what is to come, but in a rather unexpected way. Michel Houellebecq, the book’s author, indicates that he does not fear what he sees as the enivitable control of Muslims in France, but the rocky years which lay between now and then. His stance, at least in this article, is that the transition will be contemptuous and bloddy… but because the resistance will make it so. Is the struggle that of an overly critical parent, or a wildly disobedient child? Do you believe it when they say “that radical Islam can only be fought with the support of moderate Islam“?



photoAbout the Author

Michelle is an “anytime!” traveler and language enthusiast. She has degrees in talking from Central Michigan and Michigan State University. She is currently becoming a runner and used to play golf in high school.


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