Following the unfortunate events that transpired in France in relation to cartoons and satirical expression regarding Islam and Muslim affairs, the world populace was adamant about joining the "Je Suis Charlie" movement- a supposed demonstration and response to the attacks as a symbolic and protective message in connection to "freedom of speech." Notwithstanding the fact that this is an unquestionably important and protected negative right under domestic and international law, it is a reminder that the human race remains to be belligerently ignorant when it comes to the politics of genocide and genocide education.
Two of the major genocides that have occurred in our world have been the Holocaust and the Rwandan genocide. What the "Je Suis Charlie's" fail to understand is that it is through caricatures and cartoons about a specific race, ethnicity or religion that are foundational and systemic tools that facilitate events leading to a successful genocide campaign whereby the use of such forms of expression are portraying an overt or covert stereotypical message regarding the specific race, ethnicity or religion targeted; especially in a systemic form of incitement in collusion and with impunity by the political-legal system in place.
Examining the history that led to the events of the Holocaust, evidence shows that one of the known and successful tools used by the Nazi regime was the use of caricatures, cartoons and satire about Jews to aid and abet in the incitement of genocide and genocidal politics. Some of the magazines that were involved in this are but not limited to Lustige Blatter and Der Stuermer. It was through such potent use of expression about Jews that the European powers used including France that were later perfected by the Nazi regime are what played a major and significant role leading to the disastrous events of the Holocaust. Therefore, the political-legal system was null and void when it came to protecting Jews as this was merely an issue of "freedom of speech", "freedom of expression" and "freedom of opinion."- causing the death and destruction of 6 million Jews.
The Rwandan genocide demonstrates evidence that is disturbingly similar. Setting aside the fact that European colonial powers such as Belgium were responsible in creating and facilitating the terrain and ground work for the divide and conquer framework in which the Hutu's and Tutsi's massacred each other causing the death and genocide of 1 million people, the genocidal events were fuelled by propaganda with the use of cartoons, caricatures and satirical media by both sides. As in the case of the Holocaust with the Nazi regime and other European powers, these forms of expression were dehumanizing a particular group of people based on race, ethnic or religious lines in the name of freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of opinion-again in collusion and with impunity by the political-legal system in place.
Islam, Arabs and Muslims: New material for genocidal 'othering'
Upon an analysis of the institutional history of Charlie Hebdo, its functioning as a media outlet demonstrates the same above mentioned dynamics as the magazines and media forums that were fuelling the events that led to the Holocaust as well as the situation in Rwanda through the use of cartoons and caricatures targeting a specific group of people based on their racial, ethnic or religious lines; including the impunity and support for the said genocidal politics by the political-legal system in place. Starting in 2000, one of Charlie Hebdo's journalist's was dismissed for criticism of an article that referred to Palestinians as "non-civilized." This was followed by a 2006 edition whereby cartoons in relation to Islam, Arabs and Prophet Mohammad were condemned and a lawsuit was filed by the Grand Mosque, The Muslim World League and the Union of French Islamic Organizations for incitement of racism and Islamaphobia. Due to the sheer political support received in court for Charlie Hebdo, the case was dismissed and the editor charged was acquitted. After the court incident, two more incidents occurred with editions published in 2011 and 2012, which received equal political support as well.
Therefore the systemic incitement of racism and hate demonstrated in the dehumanizing and stereotypical nature of Charlie Hebdo's cartoons and caricatures embedded in the editions released both before and after the events, from referring to the Prophet Mohammad as a "womanizing baffoon" to the overall covert and overt messages of inferiority and barbarism in relation to Arabs, Muslims and Islam are prompting the justification for incitement of hate and dehumanization against a particular group of people based on racial, ethnic or religious lines- evident in the perception and overall situational circumstances of Arabs and Muslims across the European continent. Yet the response by the world populace is joining the "Je Suis Charlie" rant en masse-the same people who would be crying their crocodile tears at genocide commemorations and saying Never Again.