Joe Gandelman, 1/15/2015 [Archive]

Is 'Je suis Charlie' an Accurate Slogan?

Independent's Eye by Joe Gandelman

In the wake of the terrorist massacre in Paris, the new battle cry throughout the civilized world is "Je suis Charlie," meaning "I am Charlie." The phrase expresses solidarity for the four cartoonists and 13 others butchered by Islamic terrorists who attacked the satirical newspaper and a kosher market. But, actually, it's clear now that the slogan for this century should be another one: "We are screwed."

Because we are.

The 21st century will feature terrorists focusing on "soft targets." Terrorism experts, government officials and military officials now seem resigned to a new era where terrorists opt for lower-cost operationsdeath-cult "soldiers" to select groups of people of all ages who'll be shot or have their heads sliced off.The world will likely see some more big9/11 terrorist extravaganzas, but the name of the game will be to butcher innocent people in more every day, vulnerable venues.

We're back to the days immediately following 9/11 when many felt terrorists would shoot people in the street, poison water supplies, or use dirty bombs. More deja vu: World War II saw Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler join with Italy and Japan to battle the rest of the world. Terrorist groups are competing with but also cooperating with each other. Can western countries create transatlantic cooperation to short-circuit -- and take-out -- terrorists who've declared war on them and their populations?

News headlines suggest some flinching and cowardice on the part of governments or news organizations who don't want to provoke terrorists. But the terrorists don't really need provocation: they are looking for justifications to murder, grab headlines, foment fear, and recruit disaffected young people who can hide behind a religious cover-story to satisfy their dreams of being combatants in a real movie, or having total control over others.

You almost run out of breath following depressing headlines and developments.

Cartoonist Daryl Cagle produced some outspoken cartoons and columns, documenting how some in the media reacted to the attack on cartoonists by stealing Charlie Hebdo cartoons, not showing or censoring more controversial cartoons on TV, firing a cartoonist and giving unconvincing reasons why they won't show the cartoons. Then (coincidentally, "of course") his website,, was hacked.

NEWS: A new ISIS video seems to show a child executing two supposed Russian spies.

HEADLINE: "Charlie Hebdo Writer Holds up Muhammed Cover on Sky News; Network Cuts Away and Apologizes."

The Daily Beast notes that CNN and ABC wouldn't run the new Charlie Hebdo cartoon cover publishedafter the murders to protect their staffs. The BBC did, with an explanation. AP said it consistently doesn't run material meant to provoke. Etc.

If all the world's a stage, then Al Qaeda and ISIS over the past few months got "big B.O." (Box Office) in operations and recruitments.

ISIS is also known as IS, short for Islamic State. But it should be known as KS: Kinky State: it's the ultimate sadistic, snuff-video producing cult.As the allies advanced, Adolf Hitler tried hiding some of his mass murder with Nazis frantically trying to destroy evidence at concentration camps. ISIS and Al Qaeda want to SHOWCASEtheir butchery to weaken foes' resolve,alter opponents' policies -- and because some disaffected youths really think it's cool.

On his popular website, Andrew Sullivan argues that ignoring this terrorism's religious component is mistake, noting that in some parts of the Islamic world Islam blasphemy is still punishable by death. Sullivan foresees "a series of slaughters to come, and the possible erosion of support for free speech outside these rare moments of cherished unity. I see no other way of getting through this: surveillance, vigilance, an end to invasion, occupation and torture, and patience. And to give not an inch to any infringement on free speech."

On January 1, cartoon depictions of 2015 showed the new year as an innocent, happy infant. Today, 2015 is a menacing, smiling kid out of "Children of the Corn," coming at you with a knife dripping with blood.


Copyright 2015 Joe Gandelman, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

Joe Gandelman is a veteran journalist who wrote for newspapers overseas and in the United States. He has appeared on cable news show political panelsand is Editor-in-Chief of The Moderate Voice, an Internet hub for independents, centrists and moderates. He also writes for The Week's online edition. CNN's John Avlon named him as one of the top 25 Centrists Columnists and Commentators. He can be reached at and can be booked to speak at Follow him on Twitter:

This column has been edited by the author. Representations of fact and opinion are solely those of the author.

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