The attack on Charlie Hebdo was exploited as an excuse by the French government to crack down on freedom of thought and expression.
In an interview transcript published at Counterpunch, Saïd Bouamama, one of the co-authors of the book Fuck France, described Charlie Hebdo's history of support for US-led aggression in the Middle East. He characterized the publication as being obsessed with justifying imperialism and arrogant ideology responsible for causing wars that have cost the lives of millions of innocent people.
More disturbing, especially to many readers who may have initially favored Charlie Hebdo for apparently expanding the frontiers of freedom of expression, is the extent to which the French government now opposes criticism of Charlie Hebdo. This has led to a staggering form of blatant hypocrisy, in which anyone deviating from an idiotic regime's supposed commitment to "freedom of speech" is going to get censored.
The crackdown on freedom of expression led to police interrogations of children - a moral crime that stoops even lower than attacking journalists or cartoonists. From the interview:
A first consequence was to impose a minute of silence in every school, around the slogan “Je suis Charlie”. Of course, a whole wide range of pupils (not to say too many of them) could not say “Je suis Charlie”, and then they expressed their opinion. They were told that it was a debate and that they could speak up, so they gave their opinion, but when they did then they were summoned to report to the police, some of them are now facing legal proceedings… France considered that not being Charlie implied an apology for terrorism. Eight-year old children were summoned to the police station to be audited for terrorism apology. The first reaction to have if we want to go further in the future, is not to leave these children alone, and to organize solidarity so that this offense against freedom of speech comes to an end, since they say it’s about freedom of speech… These pupils expressed themselves, and instead of getting an educational answer, instead of getting an answer in terms of debate, we get an answer in terms of repression. This is really the first step: when human beings are attacked you have to defend them. In the longer term we have to build popular unity to confront the national unity. Which means that in front of the national unity we could put forward again those who share a same interests. And it is absolutely essential to fight everything that divides the popular classes. What divides them today is an Islamophobia secretely planned and broadcasted from the top.Such findings indicate that the the vision of nationhood now being adopted by "liberal democratic" regimes like France appears to be about defending constitutional freedom from actual freedom: in essence, defending your freedom to obey government from the anarchy of your own dangerous ideas. One is free under a constitution, but using freedom to subvert that constitution or defy the government and its morals will be demonized as an attack on freedom itself.
We are living in the "#twilight period of #democracy itself": Tariq Ali http://t.co/s4pLGFhhS2 pic.twitter.com/009AgqgTu2Do you have "freedom of speech" only to agree with moral narcissists and dunces lucky enough to own the government and the press - the propaganda machine of "values" - but if you say anything you're not allowed to say, you're called a criminal and taken away to prison?
— The clubof.info Blog (@ClubOfInfo) April 22, 2015
Is freedom to be cheapened to an idol, the altar upon which the true freedoms of the citizen are sacrificed in defense against the specter of terrorism, and only the freedoms of the rulers and their courtiers in the press (and yes, at Charlie Hebdo) have any value?