If the Kouachi brothers thought that the massacre at the offices of Charlie Hebdo would keep people from publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, they were sadly mistaken. The “Survivors’ issue” of the magazine was just published today, with a cartoon of the Prophet right on the cover, and it sold out 5,000,000 copies (compared to its normal commercial run of about 60,000 copies). Mon Dieu! Oh, and it was also translated into, like, five languages. And the front cover is now available on Wikipedia.
When 9/11 happened, what was our response? First, we invaded Afghanistan. Then — in a move that not many people saw coming since it had nothing to do with 9/11 — we invaded Iraq. We also transferred prisoners to the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, where some of them are still languish more than 13 years later. We enacted the USA Patriot Act. And we eventually got bin Laden, and just about all of his top lieutenants.
If the intent of the 9/11 hijackers was to drive us out of Muslim lands, that obviously backfired. If the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo offices was intended to keep people from publishing blasphemous cartoons, that didn’t work either. The fact is that their side doesn’t know us any better than we know them. They have the ability to annoy us, to pester us, to kill a few of us in random and unfortified locations. But that is not going to shut us up or drive us out of Muslim lands. Or help them create the next caliphate. No, all that will do is galvanize us. The best thing they can do, if they want us out of Muslim lands, is stop producing oil down there. Then we won’t care anymore.
The purpose of the attack on Charlie Hebdo was not to punish anyone for racist, blasphemous cartoons. The purpose was to drive an ever larger wedge between Islam and the west and to exacerbate the already fraught relationship between the French state and Muslims in that country. By producing the ‘Survivors Issue’ and deliberately offending many of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslims (even the moderates who spoke out against the Paris murders), Charlie Hebdo has completed the job the gunmen started in a way they could never have dreamed of. They have done more to recruit angry, disillusioned and misguided young Jihadis to the fundamentalist cause than any amount of Isis propaganda could ever hope to..
Can’t argue with you there, unfortunately.