The late, great illustrator Charles M. Schulz – creator of the famous comic strip Peanuts – is not around to comment on the jihad against satirists and Jews in Paris two weeks ago. But the words of his characters, which have rung true since their debut in the 1940s, give us an idea.
One musing, uttered by the hero of the series, the lovable and self-deprecating Charlie Brown, is particularly apt. “It always looks darkest just before it gets totally black,” he said, making a humorous play on a more uplifting adage.
What is happening in the Islamist world today, however, is no laughing matter.
Nor should any of us take comfort in the “unity rally” in France last Sunday, attended by an estimated 3.7 million people, many of whom were waving “Je suis Charlie” (“I am Charlie”) banners. Referring to the targeted slaughter of 10 staff members at the anarchist weekly Charlie Hebdo – and incidentally to the murder of two policemen stationed outside the newspaper’s headquarters, another police officer in a separate incident, as well as four Jewish hostages at a kosher supermarket – most of the demonstrators and world leaders who joined them were missing the point.
Even while calling the related killings of 17 people at the hands of Islamist terrorists “France’s 9/11,” officials and journalists across the West were rushing to condemn and warn against anti-Muslim sentiment.
Indeed, though the post-massacre edition of Charlie Hebdo was purchased in the millions, most American and European TV media outlets decided not to show its cover, which depicts Muhammad holding a “Je suis Charlie” sign below the headline “Tout est pardonné” (“All is forgiven”).
The pope, too, was more concerned about not arousing the wrath of angry Muslims by taking free speech too far than about the mass murder of his flock at their hands.
“If my good friend... says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch,” the pontiff said on Thursday. “It’s normal. You cannot provoke.
You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.”
Of the world leaders at the rally, only Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemed to grasp that the events in France were not about freedom of the press or religious tolerance. They were part of the global assault on Judeo-Christian values – and the actual killing of Jews, Christians and “infidel” Muslims – that has been taking place everywhere.
He was aware of the fact that, over the course of the days prior to and during the attacks in France, Boko Haram terrorists went on a killing spree in Nigeria, massacring more than 2,000 people and burning down entire communities. He knew that the mutilated and scorched bodies of men, women and children were still strewn in the streets of more than a dozen towns and villages, courtesy of Islamist bloodlust, while the French were marching in Paris for Charlie Hebdo.
He also understood the direct correlation between those geographically separate travesties.
Yet Netanyahu was the sole head of state told by French President Francois Hollande not to come to Paris. You know, so as not to cause a commotion by reminding everybody about global jihad. (US President Barack Obama, who would have been welcomed with open arms, did not show up.) Meanwhile, state sponsors of Islamist terrorism, such as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, were there in all their glory, giving hypocrisy a bad name.
Then, when they returned to their respective Muslim enclaves, each slammed Netanyahu for having had the audacity to attend the rally. And Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of Hamas and jailer of journalists, went as far as to compare the Israeli premier to the terrorists in France.
Even George Orwell could not have made this stuff up. He could have envisioned, however, the propaganda that followed: blaming Israel for the Islamist attacks in France – and everywhere else, for that matter.
Enter Jimmy Carter. Of course, the former US president and author of Palestine: Peace, not Apartheid
can always be dusted off and counted on to link global jihad to Israeli behavior. On Monday, Carter appeared on Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show. When asked about the motivation behind the attacks in France, Carter said: “Well, one of the origins for it is the Palestinian problem, and this aggravates people who are affiliated in any way with the Arab people who live in the West Bank and Gaza, what they are doing now – what’s being done to them.”
Carter’s recycled platitudes would not be worth mentioning if Obama, who shares his dim view of Israel, were not sitting in the White House, leading the free world from behind. Nor would Carter deserve the slightest attention if his stale arguments did not signal the arrival of a polemical escape route for those in the West who are too weary or frightened to acknowledge that Islamism is its own phenomenon.
If there is any “cause and effect” involved, the cause is the Koran (whether or not by interpretation) and the effect is world domination through the sword.
Oh, and nuclear bombs, which US Secretary of State John Kerry is busy enabling Iran to acquire before the next deadline for a deal in June.
Charles M. Schulz was prescient.
It certainly does look darkest before going completely black. Je suis Charlie Brown.The writer is the author of
To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the ‘Arab Spring.’