#IlSontHypocrites: Why should Charlie Hebdo deaths mean more than those in E.Ukraine?

AFP Photo / Eric Feferberg
The Western public justly condemns the murders at Charlie Hebdo, but continues to behave as if Kiev's terror victims in Donetsk are “subhuman.”

On January 7, masked terrorists massacred the staff of the French magazine Charlie Hebdo in downtown Paris, killing ten. Two police officers (one of them a French Muslim, Ahmed Merabet) were also gunned down in the attack, while five more innocents lost their lives during a subsequent hostage standoff at a Parisian kosher store. Three male suspects were killed by the police, while their female accomplice is reported to have fled to ISIS-held parts of Syria. The attack was allegedly a reprisal for the magazine's cartoon covers, condemned as “blasphemous” for mocking Islam and its prophet, Mohammed.

Meanwhile, in eastern Ukraine, forces loyal to the NATO-backed government in Kiev renewed the terror-bombing of civilians in Donetsk, killing and maiming indiscriminately. While the slain French cartoonists were declared martyrs on the altar of free speech in a social media campaign under the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie (I am Charlie), a similar Twitter campaign to raise awareness of civilian deaths in Donbass (#IamVanya) was soon hijacked by Russophobic propaganda.


Part of the problem is that free speech is demonstratively not a sacred value in the West. The same general public in Europe or the United States that is proclaiming #JeSuisCharlie today, has in recent years organized increasingly frequent public witch hunts in the name of political correctness, targeting individuals whose words or deeds had somehow “offended”, from scientists who dared mention IQ (or wear “sexist” shirts) to celebrities and video game producers. In 2009, Charlie Hebdo sacked its cartoonist Maurice Sinet (now 80); over one allegedly “anti-Semitic” cartoon. And France has arrested dozens of people, including the comedian Dieudonné, on charges of “hate speech” in the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

Meanwhile, using the pretext of the attacks in Paris, the U.S. and British governments pushed for expanding their already extensive surveillance of the general public. This despite the fact that the alleged attackers on Charlie Hebdo were known terrorists and under constant surveillance, but were able to carry out the massacre unhindered.

There was further hypocrisy at the march for solidarity held on Sunday, January 11. While more than a million French marched peacefully through Paris to honor the slain, some forty world leaders supposedly led the way. However, raw footage shows them marching separately for a photo-op, separated from the “common folk” by quite a distance and heavy police protection.


Though US pundits have been the loudest in calling for another “war on terror,” American officials were nowhere to be seen on the Sunday march. Only the US Ambassador attended the event, while President Obama, Vice President Biden, or even top diplomat John Kerry was conspicuously absent. The highest-ranking US official in Paris was Attorney General Eric Holder, who had announced his resignation in September 2014.

The leaders that did attend weren't above using the march for their own political purposes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to the march, even though the French government asked him not to. Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also attended, but as soon as he returned, President Recep Erdogan publicly declared the massacre a French false-flag operation, for which the mayor of the Turkish capital Ankara, Melih Gokcek, blamed the Israeli Mossad.
Perhaps the most hypocritical of all was the Kiev junta, whose leader, Petro Poroshenko, hastened to Paris to claim he too was a victim of “terrorism”, even as his forces restarted the terror shelling of civilians in dissenting Donetsk. Poroshenko paraded before the cameras, dutifully made accusations of yet another “Russian invasion,” again accused Russia of being behind the downing of flight MH17, and begged for money from the West to bail out his bankrupt government, and fund another military expedition against the civilians of Donetsk and Lugansk.

While Poroshenko was pretending his heart bled for French cartoonists, the civilians targeted for extermination by his government were bleeding literally: dozens, including children, have been killed in renewed shelling of Donetsk by Kiev's military that weekend. Among them was a boy of eight named Vanya, who lost his legs, a hand and an eye (Warning: graphic imagery) to Kiev's “humanitarian” bombs. When critics of the junta's campaign of artillery terrorism posted news of this on Twitter with the hashtag “#IamVanya” (#Яваня) – Russophobic trolls quickly responded with displays of hatred.
Hypocrisy is the order of the day in the West. Frenchmen and other ‘NATO-sphere’ subjects are supposed to simultaneously champion free speech and crack down on “offensive” speech; profess love of Islam and endless tolerance, while their governments sponsor Islamic terrorists in places like Libya, Syria, Iraq or the Balkans; and protest the murder of innocents while backing Kiev's regime doing precisely that, in the name of - you guessed it - “fighting terrorism.”


Of course, NATO's puppets in Kiev have the perfectly “rational” explanation why it's different when they kill: their victims are “subhumans,” as US-backed PM Arseny Yatsenyuk once put it. The same man, during his visit to Germany just a day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, claimed that Russia had “invaded Ukraine and Germany” in WW2. His German hosts, normally sensitive to pro-Nazi rhetoric, chose to remain silent.

Nebojsa Malic for RT

Nebojsa Malic is a foreign policy analyst and blogger, working in Washington, DC. A columnist for Antiwar.com and Strategic Culture Foundation, he occasionally appears on RT.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.