In 1898, as French-Jewish army officer Alfred Dreyfus languished behind bars in solitary confinement after a botched misrepresentation of justice that saw him court-martialed for treason on account of his Jewish background – preeminent novelist and playwright, Emile Zola sprung to his defense with his seminal and jarring letter of accusation, splashed on the front pages of influential Paris daily, L’Aurore.
J’accuse! – I Accuse!
Simple yet powerful, Zola laid bare the gross miscarriage of justice and incessant antisemitism sweeping the Republic that endangered the very tenets and democratic values that post-Napoleon France claimed to epitomize.
And now, mere days after terrorists, French citizens purporting to act in the name of Islam, killed 12 at the offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine and then an additional 4 at a Jewish supermarket, the durability of French, nay European democracy is once more coming into question.
But this was not an isolated event. The pressure cooker was boiling for a while, and it was only a matter of time before it burst:
Europe’s fast growing Muslim minority has alarmed politicians and laypeople across the continent; for their rigid and conspicuous refusal to integrate into society, for importing Islamic antisemitism and for exporting young and healthy men and women to man the Islamic State’s front lines in Syria and Iraq, among other things.
Therefore, in the spirit of the times and less than a day after the end of last week’s terror spree, J’accuse – I accuse.
I accuse the the French government of completely failing its Jews.
Instead of beefing up security in heavily Jewish neighborhoods (especially in the wake of the 2012 Toulouse attack) and taking an effective hardline stance against extremist imams and suspected Islamist terrorists, France, like most of Europe, is paralyzed by overt political correctness and does not dare offend the religious sensibilities of its increasingly radicalized Muslim minority, even at the expense of the security of it’s own citizens.
If and when France’s 400,000 strong Jewish community dwindles to a handful in the coming years, the blame will rest first and foremost with the France’s leaders.
I accuse the media of shallow, populist reporting, pandering to soapified political correctness and a strikingly oblivious misrepresentations of the facts.
We have another 4 dead Jews whose blood is being wiped as we speak from the floor of the supermarket where they went to do pre-shabbat shopping. Killed of course, because they were Jews, and not because they drew an offensive picture of the prophet Muhammad.
Judging by the coverage of the attack, hidden behind titles such ‘kosher supermarket raid’ and ‘second siege’ one could assume that the perpetrators only had beef with the kosher food on sale at store – and not the Jews inside.
And indeed, Jewish blood could not be cheaper, when a slew of opinion articles posted in FP, US media outlets and the Guardian quickly rush to paint France’s 5 million strong Muslim ‘minority’ as the real victims in the entire story with pre-programmed knee-jerk condemnations of any perceived Islamaphobia that might result in the future.
Who are the victims? Who are the perpetrators?
I accuse France’s Muslim community, of not doing enough to distance themselves from the fundamentalists within their fold, and not doing enough to prevent the radicalization of their youth.
Of course, there does exist a hostile atmosphere against Europe’s Muslims. Some of it is unwarranted, and castigating individual Muslims for the actions of their co-coreligionists is wrong and hypocritical.
However it’s no coincidence that after attacking the Charlie Hebdo offices – a symbol of Western ideals and free speech – the terrorists went straight for a Jewish deli during its busiest hour.
As a community, Muslim laymen, leaders and figureheads must come out en-masse to condemn the actions of those who they claim have ‘hijacked’ the Islamic faith and those who kill in their name and in the name of their prophet.
For if they don’t, not only will their silence be deafening.
No, such silence can only be interpreted as tacit approval and thus, indirect culpability for the actions that we witness today – actions which will probably become more violent and spectacular in the coming years.
I accuse for all those whose blood cries out from the violence of the past few days, and for all those whose blood is yet to spilled in the name of radical Islam.