08/01/2015

Statement from the Centre Delàs about that attack on Charlie Hebdo

May this violence not bring us more violence

From the Delàs Centre we would like to express our firm condemnation of the attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo on the 7th of January, in which 12 people – 10 workers of Charlie Hebdo and 2 policemen – were murdered in cold blood, also causing 11 injuries.

We reiterate our commitment to freedom of the press and freedom of expression, while sending our condolences to the families and friends of the victims. Such tragedies reaffirm us in our work to denounce violence and the arms race, and force us to become aware of the social drama of armed aggression.

From the Delàs Centre we are also concerned about the use of this massacre to justify new repressive measures, cuts in fundamental rights and the progressive militarization of public security that has been carried out for some years now not only in France but also in a large part of Europe.

We also reject the xenophobia and Islamophobia that is spreading throughout Europe and that extreme right-wing parties both here and in France have already begun to use this tragedy to criminalise the entire Muslim community and to demand explanations for acts for which only the perpetrators are responsible. Islam is not terrorism, and today more than ever we are extending our support to the Muslim men and women who live on our territory.

Thus, we take advantage of this statement to express our concern regarding the political scenario that is now playing out, and which will surely lead to the adoption of “exceptional measures” aimed at strengthening state control and surveillance over citizens (the situation of “political emergency” precipitates an ideal political framework for carrying out measures that would otherwise not be possible to implement and which violate fundamental rights), to which we are totally opposed. The “war on terror” is returning to the United States and the countries of Western Europe in the form of massive spying programs against the civilian population and punitive reforms aimed at protest or the increasing militarization of civilian police. We fear that the regrettable events in Paris may be exploited to persist in the imposition of a political programme that threatens civil liberties and democratic guarantees.

We cannot avoid being concerned about the “selective indignation” of states and the media when political violence shakes Europe, and the unequal coverage given, for example, to the frequent killings by American armed drones in Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia. Condemning an unilateral attack on Charlie Hebdo, without highlighting the social drama that always accompanies political violence throughout the world, may end up becoming a dangerous exercise of Eurocentrism, which feeds xenophobia and racism. We consider it essential to stress the equal right of all lost lives to be mourned and to persist in the struggle for a non-violent society here in France and elsewhere.