blowback

I imagine myself leaving Europe and returning to Canada. From my Paris perspective, I view my homeland as a safe haven, a country of peace and tolerance. Seen through the lens of the half-dozen terrorist attacks that have occurred on French soil in 2015 alone, and the threats we are receiving for future attacks, I do not view my adopted country in the same light. 

France has become a prime target for terrorists for a variety of reasons – (a) recent military intervention in Mali, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, (b) not-so-recent historical colonialism and crimes in North Africa (Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco), West and Equatorial Africa that have left deep and lingering grudges, (c) the ghettoization, marginalization and/or stigmatization of a percentage of French Muslims, not all, who in total represent 10% of the country’s population, (d) high unemployment in France, especially among young Muslim men who already feel excluded from society, (e) policies and cultural practices that are seen as anti-Muslim (those absurd and inflammatory Charlie Hebdo satirical cartoons, the burka-niqab ban, Marine Le Pen and her far-right, xenophobic National Front party and, yes, an undeniable, ingrained racism in the DNA of a majority of white, Catholic French citizens, a racism that I have personally witnessed.)

Vous récoltez ce que vous semez.  (You reap what you sow.)

There are other factors that add fuel to the fire – the Schengen Agreement – since the dismantling of European border controls in 1985, France is geographically vulnerable.  Antiterrorist organizations are woefully underfunded and overwhelmed.  Example – it was Morocco who alerted French authorities to the fact that the ringleader of the Paris attacks, Abelhamid Abaaoud, was hiding in a Parisian suburb, right under the noses of French intelligence agencies.

Criticism is mounting against French officials for not doing more to prevent last Friday’s multiple terrorist attacks

The general sentiment of Parisians today, aside from shock and grief, is one of anger.  “We thought we were protected,” is the general refrain. The tragic consequence of government laxism are the deaths of 131 innocents and over 300 wounded. 

In response to the carnage of Friday November 13, 2015, Manual Valls, French prime minister, announced that stricter anti-terror measures will be put into place. Will be put into place?? We thought that had already been done (after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015.)  Other problems include – 

  • Salafist non-French imams who are allowed to come into France and preach hate-filled invective to their congregations.  Not in ALL mosques, but in enough clandestine fringe mosques to radicalize disenfranchized young Muslim men;
  • Under-surveillance in French prisons, hotbeds of  Islamist indoctrination amongst inmates;
  • Under-surveillance of departing and returning French jihadists to and from Syria;
  • The continued financing of mosques by Saudi-Wahhabis, purveyors of a medieval form of radical ideology and terror (not only mosques in France, but in the U.K., the U.S.A., Canada and elsewhere.)

What makes our countries unsafe?  Our own governments.

Blowback, backlash, vengeance, payback, retribution…call it what you want, the message is the same. There’s an expression in French – de payer leurs erreurs (to pay for their errors.) The problem is, it’s not the politicians who pay for their errors, it’s us, the honest tax-paying, law-abiding citizens. And that’s why I envisage myself living on a safe island somewhere in Canada – Prince Edward Island, say, or one of those sleepy islands off the coast of British Columbia. Far, far away from the toxicity of politicians’ lies and terrorist threats. 

I blame American, French and other Western politicians for the mess we find ourselves in today (let’s not even mention Israel here, that’s a whole different topic). Islamist terrorist forces of today are the direct results of Western Neoconservative Foreign Policy in the Middle East. Neoconservative ideology is wholly relevant to our current situation. In short, neocon warmongering threatens us, has threatened us already.

An example – Hillary Clinton, Sarkozy and Cameron in Libya in 2011. What was that all about? Under the pretext of “rescuing the Libyan people”, “promoting freedom and democracy”, and “aiding the Arab Spring uprising” that had occurred in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, they had decided it was time for a regime change. Why oust Gaddafi? Because he was guilty of insubordination to US imperialism and its allies.  (And only a few years earlier, Gaddafi had contributed 50 million euros to Sarkozy’s election campaign. While visiting Paris, he was allowed to pitch his Bedouin tent in the Elysée backyard.)

Bombing Libya and toppling Gaddafi destabilized the entire region, just like it had in Iraq 8 years earlier when those same Western allies bombed Baghdad and then toppled Saddam.  Today, Islamist militias terrorize Libya while hundreds of thousands of migrants, coming up from sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere, attempt to leave Tripoli for Europe.  In small boats.

Look how sheepish Sarko + Blair look in these photos. They should be in jail.

Sarkozy-Kadhafi2blair and gaddafi

Westerners can hold grudges too and here’s mine – the genesis of ISIS can be traced back to May 2003 when errand boy Paul Bremer, under orders from George W. Bush’s government, disbanded the entire Sunni-dominated Iraqi army. It was a move that put 250,000 young Iraqi men out of a job, out on the streets, angry, and armed—and guaranteed the violent chaos to come.

And if that wasn’t enough, senior members were then expelled from Saddam’s Ba’ath party. This utterly disastrous decision led many Sunni Iraqis to conclude that they had no hope of a prominent place in a future Iraq. 

Why the meddling?  What right did Bush’s government have to even be in Iraq in the first place??  They had no right whatsoever.  They had illegally invaded Iraq.

Sunnis were the technocrats who populated the ministries and staffed the army — members of Iraq’s experienced middle class who would happily have supported new leadership, had they been offered a serious role. Instead, they felt banished, and by the end of 2003, an insurgency had taken hold.

Deep down, I can’t help thinking that all this was intentional. I cannot believe that U.S. intelligence, along with American and British experts on Iraq, did not foresee the consequences of the above actions.

As for the members of this Neoconservative cabal, the vile and abhorrent “Dick and Don”, aka Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Karl Rove, Richard Perle, Tony Blair and others? None have been held accountable for their crimes, not a single one. Where are they today? Playing golf in the sun. Writing their memoirs. Peddling their stories on the speaking circuit. Raking in millions of dollars a year. It’s almost as if they’ve been rewarded for their sins. Where’s the justice in that?

20 thoughts on “blowback

    • Not only the Muslim world, antbeeknits. The Arab world of which there were millions of Christians (who had to flee.)

      Neocon policy is of course linked to Israel and the Likuds/far-right parties…but that’s a whole different game.

  1. Juliet, as a New Yorker who lived through September 11, I understand and sympathize totally with your feelings of anger and anxiety. As for the rest of your post, you are right. Our own politicians and governments are part of the problem. I myself would dearly love to see Bush and his gang of thieves, esp. Cheney, behind bars.

    • I have the utmost respect and admiration for New Yorkers who – out of a clear, blue September sky in 2001 – witnessed the apocalyptic devastation of the Twin Towers, the disappearance of friends, colleagues, neighbours, family members and a way of life that would be no longer.

      I’m going to NYC in April 2016. Can’t wait.

      Thanks for your supportive comment, Lynda.

  2. You are right to speak of Libya. The killing of Gaddafi was one of the most shameful chapters in the long history of shameful acts of U.S. imperial foreign policy. Libya was using its oil wealth to gradually close the doors to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the hegemony of the U.S. dollar in the economic domination of Africa. For a number of reasons and in the eyes of the Neocons, Gaddafi had to go.

  3. Even if they made a movie about the brutal murder of Mouammar Gadhafi, no-one would believe it. French security forces killed him, it was a U.S. initiative and they were all in on it (the U.K., the United Nations, the IMF, World Bank, etc.) They killed him because he was opposed to US imperialistic foreign policy, it’s as simple as that. He was no-one’s puppet and he had an oil-rich country.

  4. You seem to forget that it as Obama and Hillary that led the charge into Libya. Who are these neocons that you talk about involved is this fiasco? You Leftists see life in a distorted prism. Still blaming Bush et al for the Obama sins of the past 7 years. Not once did she put any of the onus on the Muslims who have been creating worldwide mayhem for nearly 1500 years. No mention of the Muslim slave traders who provided their prey to the Portuguese for over 200 years. Leftist just love to preach to the choir; making each other feel good by bashing any ideas that are counter to your preconceived notions. Such arrogance! To all you scared Francophiles living in the U.S., I say to you, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out to that bucolic island of yours”. You’re pRt of the problem.

    • Let me guess…Trump supporter?

      Why would I forget that it was Obama who led the charge into Libya, Ralph?
      Barack Obama is more of a neocon than George Bush ever was. And who said that only Republicans are Neocons? I didn’t.

    • Flocon,

      I see no correlation whatsoever between the recent terrorist attacks and wanting to become a French citizen. The two events are completely unrelated. I’m afraid that I have become far too cynical and distrustful of our own Western governments to manifest any sign of sentimentality in that respect.

      I already have dual citizenship – Canadian and British – so I have no interest in becoming French. Believe me, I pay enough in taxes to already feel French. Mes impôts ont augmenté de 37% cette année (sans augmentation de salaire !)

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