Socialist Worker

Sickening hypocrisy of leaders' response to Paris attack

Repressive politicians rushed to grandstand on freedom of expression in Paris, writes Charlie Kimber

Issue No. 2436

Cartoon by Tim Sanders of world leaders

Cartoon by Tim Sanders of world leaders (Pic: Tim Sanders)

The march for “peace and freedom” in Paris last Sunday was headed by some of the most brutal and violent women and men on the planet. Their presence reeked of hypocrisy. 

Blood-soaked butchers were claiming to stand for universal values of tolerance and respect. In fact they were pausing only briefly from jailing, assassinating and torturing people.

The competition for the greatest fraud was close. Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu was in the front rank. 

It’s not just that Israel almost daily kills Palestinians and has repeatedly invaded Gaza at the cost of thousands of lives. Israel also has a record of murdering journalists. Last summer Israeli forces killed 17 journalists in Gaza, deliberately bombed five media outlets and shelled three offices of Al-Aqsa TV, where 325 people worked.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s economy minister, also marched. He was once quoted as saying, “I’ve killed many Arabs in my life, and there’s no problem with that.” 

The US sent ambassador Jane Hartley to the march. The US has killed millions of people in its wars for profit and power, among them many media figures.

In 2007, US Apache gunships killed two Reuters journalists in Baghdad. The film of this was released by Wikileaks and the revelation of the murders led eventually to Chelsea Manning being convicted of espionage and sentenced to 35 years in jail.


The US military claimed this killing was accidental. But the US air to surface missile attack in 2003 on Al-Jazeera in Baghdad was intentional. That killed three journalists.

At least 16 people died when Nato planes targeted the public broadcaster RTS in 1999 during part of the war on Serbia. Nato also deliberately bombed the Chinese embassy in the capital Belgrade, killing three Chinese journalists.

The only person in prison for the CIA’s torture regime is John Kiriakou—who revealed what had gone on. Edward Snowden is a hunted man for divulging information about mass surveillance. 

David Cameron has ordered the bombing of Iraq, and his Tory party backed all of the US’s imperialist wars.  

The Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu was there on Sunday. Turkey has not only restarted its murderous war on the Kurds, but was named the world’s biggest jailer of journalists in 2012 and 2013. It ended 2014 by detaining another 23 journalists.

Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry came to Paris despite his government jailing 30,000 political prisoners. These included three Al-Jazeera journalists sentenced to between seven and ten years on “terrorism” charges.

And in France, demonstrations in support of the Palestinians were banned last year. In September 2012 the state banned protests against Charlie Hebdo printing cartoons denigrating Islam. 

Manuel Valls, who was then the interior minister and is now prime minister, said, “There will be strictly no exceptions. Demonstrations will be banned and broken up.”

In 2005 the French government passed a law which imposed on high school (lycée) teachers a requirement to teach the “positive role” of colonialism. It took a year of protests to force it to retreat.

The heads of state who came to Paris sought to cover their crimes and hijack the shock and horror at the killings for their own despicable ends. We should not let them. 

Muslims in Britain speak out: 'No one at all should have to live in fear’ 

Muslims spoke to Socialist Worker about resisting the Islamophobic backlash following the Paris attacks. 

Dilowar Khan, director of the London Muslim Centre, said, “In France, we’ve already seen reprisal attacks on mosques and Muslims. 

“It saddens me to see groups here such as Britain First and the English Defence League using the tragic incidents for their own gain. 

“Since the attacks these groups have used their networks to stir up hatred towards Muslims.

“Equally, parts of the right wing media are to blame for provocative articles about Muslims. They’re filled with misinformation and stereotypes, which play into the hands of both extremists and far right groups, who then justify their hatred based on distortions.”

Saleem Kidwai, head of the Muslim Council of Wales, said, “When we hear about what happened in France the most important thing is condemnation. 

“But we also need to be united and live in harmony. 

“No Muslim should live in fear that someone will stab them in the back or that someone will pull their headscarf off.”

Rise in Islamophobic attacks

  • 54 Islamophobic incidents were reported within six days of the massacre, not counting Paris, according to the French Muslim Council
  • 33 were threats or insults. They included pigs heads left at mosques and graffiti saying “death to Arabs”
  • 21 were attacks, some using weapons including a bomb
  • 15 mosques and prayer sites were targeted in the first two nights. One of these was later set on fire 

The press pushes the prejudice

Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch headed a wave of commentators using the massacre in Paris to attack all Muslims. 

He tweeted last Saturday, “Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognize and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible.” 

The right wing British press has been keen to stir prejudice with Britain. Tony Parsons, columnist in Murdoch’s Sun on Sunday, echoed the owner’s views, demanding that all Muslims denounce the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The Daily Mail rushed last Friday to expose “immigrant ghettoes” in France. Visiting a Paris suburb it said, “Half a century ago, Gennevilliers was an archetypically French community.”

But to its horror, “Today, you can walk the length of a crowded boulevard here without seeing a solitary white Frenchman.”

The Daily Star meanwhile crammed in the welfare state as last Sunday’s edition led with “Terror Family on UK Benefits”.


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