Miguel Afonso Caetano on Wed, 14 Jan 2015 17:44:45 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Crisis 2.0 - the political turn (some comments)

2015-01-14 8:07 GMT+00:00 Brian Holmes <bhcontinentaldrift@gmail.com>:

Hello, Brian.

     On an opposite end of the spectrum, I encourage you to read the
     interview with Luz, the cartoonist of Charlie Hebdo, which Patrice
     Riemens sent to this list. Some of the things this man says are just
     astonishing to me. He claims that the group of caricaturists at
     Charlie did not want to deal with grand symbolic figures but with
     very specific things, images that make sense and are funny in
     France. But on what planet does this guy live? How can he see
     caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad as anything else but a symbol, a
     charged cliche, a hot-button item, a waving red cloak in a vast
     international bull ring? I am sorry to criticize someone whose loss
     has been so great, but it's pure narcissism, this idea of a
     cherished France that could be held in your hand and protected from
     the world into which it nonetheless sends its armies and its oil
     majors. The sacrosanct caricature of Charlie, brandished in the air
     as a fetish of liberty, is exactly the reification of the self that
     O'Connor describes. I don't know what will come of these events, and
     I don't want to prejudge what French society will make of them, but
     I can see the potential for the very facile patriotic and chauvinist
     defence of a supposedly secular freedom of expression which would
     justify the complete absence of any reflection on the griefs that
     push people to the insanity of terrorism. I have seen this worst
     case happen in the US, with the results that we have before our
     eyes. What we need is not just reflection but action to change the
     way that the world economy functions. Otherwise its necropolitical
     character will inevitably poison whatever fine lands we imagine
     ourselves to live in.

Personally, I think this kind of reasoning can lead to very dangerous
"dead-ends". Do you just need to speak of "colonialism" to take away
all individual responsabilities of human beings in their actions
towards others? In the politically correct/postmodern left, it just
seems so. Moreover. it seems that this feeling of collective "guilt"
automatically legitimizes any curtailment of freedom of speech... "You
can't say or express what you think because of your government's
actions" doesn't seem like my kind of politics... This seems to be the
same think that Zizek tried to say in an article for New Statesman:Â

"Such thinking has nothing whatsoever to do with the cheap
relativisation of the crime (the mantra of "who are we in the West,
perpetrators of terrible massacres in the Third World, to condemn such
acts"). It has even less to do with the pathological fear of many
Western liberal Leftists to be guilty of Islamophobia. For these false
Leftists, any critique of Islam is denounced as an expression of
Western Islamophobia; Salman Rushdie was denounced for unnecessarily
provoking Muslims and thus (partially, at least) responsible for the
fatwa condemning him to death, etc. The result of such stance is what
one can expect in such cases: the more the Western liberal Leftists
probe into their guilt, the more they are accused by Muslim
fundamentalists of being hypocrites who try to conceal their hatred of
Islam. This constellation perfectly reproduces the paradox of the
superego: the more you obey what the Other demands of you, the guiltier
you are. It is as if the more you tolerate Islam, the stronger its
pressure on you will be . . ."


Best regards from Portugal
Miguel Caetano

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