Wednesday 7 January 2015

Charlie Hebdo attack - don't be divided!

This is my attempt at an accurate translation of an article posted tonight on the website of Gauche R√©volutionnaire, the French section of the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI/CIO):

Deadly attack against Charlie Hebdo: for the right to freedom of expression! Don’t let them divide us!

The attack by heavily armed men on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and the killing of 12 people is a tragic event. We strongly condemn this cowardly and barbaric attack.

Such brilliant cartoonists as Wolinski, Charb', Tignous and Cabu have, in many ways, fought intolerance, racism, censorship ... That they died under the bullets of intolerant madmen, revolts us. At the same time, in this indiscriminate attack, many workers, "ordinary” employees of the newspaper, were also killed.

By targeting this satirical left-wing newspaper, these Islamic reactionaries (according to the latest information), claim to act against attacks suffered by Muslims in France. This is false! We didn’t agree with Charlie's approach on certain issues. Charlie Hebdo had chosen to publish cartoons of Mohammed. This had not aroused much interest nor seemed to us to be particularly funny or necessary. But freedom of expression and opinion is a total right that we defend at all costs. We know that this right can be attacked very quickly by the ruling class.

In no way will the situation facing Muslims in France be alleviated by this act, quite the contrary. They will most often be the ones who will now pay the consequences in the street, each time a reactionary and indiscriminate act is committed. These terrorists who claim to defend a "religion" are no better than the Islamophobic reactionaries. In fact, they go hand in hand together to build intolerance and obscurantism. This heinous and cowardly terrorist act strengthens the reactionaries of all stripes who want to divide workers and young people on a religious or communal basis.

This attack will serve the ruling classes and the capitalists. Hollande, Sarkozy or Le Pen can try to claim that they are the defenders of our freedom, when they are the ones who suppress struggles, stigmatise migrants, and attack our rights.

The climate of Islamophobia is becoming ever stronger.

This climate leads some Muslims in France to understandably feel under attack. We reject any form of racism, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism ... and we are fighting for a world of solidarity, friendship and tolerance, a world which has nothing in common with those who want to take advantage of these events.

This attack is indeed gold to all racists and reactionaries who want to impose a strengthening of the ‘Vigipirate’ internal security system and repression, especially on the North African population.

We will not take part in "Republican" demonstrations with the right and the far-right to denounce this attack. Islamophobic intellectuals, right-wing politicians, government policies supporting war in Africa and the Middle East and supporting the transfer of wealth to the rich have created the nauseous climate which leads to this murderous madness in response.

No form of ‘national unity’ can be made with those looking to ride a wave of racism and xenophobia. On the contrary, in this climate, the clear voice of the workers’ organisations must be heard. Trade unions, labour movement organizations and associations should put out a call to rally and pay tribute to the victims of Charlie Hebdo on their own platform: for the unity of workers, youth and the great majority of the population regardless of their origin or belief, for freedom of expression, against all reactionary and fundamentalist terrorists, against the racist and imperialist policies of French governments that increase sectarian divisions, intolerance and obscurantism.

A mass movement against racism, and against the policies that force millions into poverty and insecurity, must be built. It is on that basis that we must show support for the journalists and employees of Charlie Hebdo.

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