People Before Profit shares the near universal revulsion at the horrific murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris last week. There can be no justification for this awful act.
People Before Profit, which is strongly anti-racist and respects people’s rights to their religious beliefs would criticise many of the cartoons that appeared recently in Charlie Hebdo, some of which were deliberately offensive to Muslim people, but this in no way excuses this atrocity.
Unfortunately this dreadful event is being used and exploited by various ‘leaders’ and rulers to present themselves as defenders of free speech and freedom in general when they are anything but.
The demonstration in Paris was attended, absolutely legitimately, by a million French citizens but it was led by a group of leaders that included some of the world’s worst tyrants and violators of freedom of speech. These included the Prime Minister of Turkey which regularly jails journalists just for mentioning the Kurdish struggle, the Foreign Secretary of Egypt which recently sentenced 500 people to death and is imprisoning Al Jazeera journalists, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel which killed numerous journalist in Gaza last year, and the Foreign Minister of Bahrain which both jails and tortures journalists.
Nor do we accept the right of the French Government, or the so-called ‘West’ as a whole, to claim to be the embodiment of freedom. France has a long history of imperialist oppression of North African and Middle Eastern peoples, and there are currently high levels of racism in France often reinforced by the French state. And ‘the West’, led by the United States, has created the context for these awful reactions by means of repeated interventions and wars on Muslim countries which have claimed far .more innocent lives than all terrorist atrocities put together.
People Before Profit condemns the Charlie Hebdo murders but we also oppose any attempt to use these events to promote war, racism or hostility between peoples. We call for unity in the face of attempts to stir up hatred or sectarian divisions and for an end to the cycle of wars and military interventions that inevitably generate these conflicts.