Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Satire versus Kalashnikovs

Satire versus Kalashnikovsharlie Hebdo that killed at least 12 people and injuring 7, have a number of lessons we all need to learn.

The first and most obvious is that an assault by a group of armed gunmen is almost impossible for most businesses and institutions to resist.  This should be a reminder that a Mumbai or Nairobi style of attack with Kalashnikov-equipped gunmen in the heart of any of our cities is a threat that almost no police force is adequately prepared to meet.  The next attack like this could be in a hospital, a TV station, or another school (does anyone really remember Beslan?).
The second point to remember is that we know more attacks like this are coming.  In the grand plan long articulated by the strategists of al Qaeda, the plan for the Grand Jihad was first to start toppling Arab governments, then recreate the Caliphate, and then go on to general terroristic-warfare against the West. The attack in Paris suggests some of the Jihadists think it is time to get stage III started.
The pre-planned and carefully articulated “spontaneous” outrage to the Danish Cartoons of 2006 was only a warm-up exercise, but it was aimed at a central tenet of Western civilization – free expression and inquiry.  In return for the Jylands-Posten cartoon depictions of Mohammed, a campaign of mass intimidation was launched to give notice to our media about what was now off-limits.
The initial coverage of the attack on Charlie Hebdo has already seen many news commentators implying that the fearlessness the magazine has shown in the past incited the attack.  That may be true but it is also irrelevant.