Why did the Paris attack go viral, while previous attacks on Jews did not?

I was reading an exchange between some US writers and the French ambassador to the US about why France never held massive nationwide rallies after the numerous deadly attacks on the nation’s Jewish community.

And while I find the question a bit unnecessarily snippy in a “my suffering is greater than your suffering” kind of way, the question isn’t entirely off-base.

You hear similar questions asked in America every time a young blonde woman goes missing. Where is the nationwide media attention about the young African-Americans who die every day?

"We are one people."

“We are one people.”

The thing is, it’s difficult getting news stories to go viral; and it’s often even more difficult predicting which ones will.

Much of my professional career has been devoted to making stories explode in the media. And while there’s certainly an art to it — I’ve had multiple stories go viral over the years, so it’s not just a fluke — it’s still not easy predicting which ones will enrage the masses and excite the media. Nor is it particularly easy detailing exactly how one makes a story go viral.

It’s hard to explain why, but some stories just smell viral. Often, but not always, when I hear a story that has the potential to go viral, I get a pit in my stomach (I call it my “spider sense”).

Now, the question is “why” those particular stories smell viral. And I’m not entirely sure. Sometimes the crime (if it’s a crime story) just particularly shocks. And I suspect that crimes that shock the majority are crimes that make the majority think “that could have been me.” Thus, air disasters tend to shock, as any of us could have been on that plane.

Which brings us back to Charlie Hebdo. I’m really struggling with this, because a part of me thinks that whether it be anti-semitic attacks, or violence in the black community, non-Jews and non-blacks tend to think “that couldn’t be me because I’m not black or Jewish.” But even that argument doesn’t hold total sway: We’ve had great success making stories go viral in the gay community, even though most people aren’t gay. (The Matthew Shepard story comes to mind.) And the recent suicide of a teenage transgender girl went super-viral worldwide, even though most of us aren’t transgender.

Then again, Matthew Shepard was white, as was Leelah Alcorn (the trans teen). And it’s entirely possible that America’s white majority reacts more strongly to stories about white people. And in France, it’s entirely possible that people don’t react as strongly to attacks on Jews as they do attacks on journalists. And whether that’s overt racism, or a more subtle form of emotional segregation, it’s hard to say. But I do think a lot of it comes down to people feeling that they can relate with the victim, and that but for the grace of God it could have been them.

And in the end, perhaps the non-viral nature of some stories is discriminatory at its core. I don’t know. But I can’t help feeling that something else is also going on. Some stories, for whatever reason, touch our common sense of humanity. And others, though equally worth, simply don’t.

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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41 Responses to “Why did the Paris attack go viral, while previous attacks on Jews did not?”

  1. John Doe says:

    More bigotry and lunacy. Try telling Catholics that all they have is a religion. Catholicism is much more than a religion. Islam is probably the deepest sense of more than a religion, which sometimes part of the problem. Seems that too many groups today want to be different or special, until they are labelled as different. Then they don’t want that label. Again, the simple fact is that to proclaim or believe that land or identity belongs to a particular group of people because of god is religious extremism and should be squashed. Apparently, the concept of equality, sanity and science are alien concepts to you.

  2. Bill_Perdue says:

    Given the fact that Palestinine belongs to the Palestininas all the justifications for zionsit colonization are incorrect and unimportant.

  3. kurtsteinbach says:

    They are the Jewish people for a reason. It is more than a religion. Many Jews are ethnically Jewish and do not even practice the Jewish religion. it is why Jews have been persecuted when they do not even practice their religion. Try reading history. Unlike Christianity, Judaism is more than just a religion. I know the concept is unfamiliar and even alien to you, but then so are many things. . . .

  4. kurtsteinbach says:

    The Palestinian Brigades that fought with the British during WWII and fought against the Nazis, yeah, they were all Jewish. When the Romans stopped calling that land Eretz Yisrael, and redesignated it Palastine after 70 C.E. to mean foreigner or alien, so that they could designate the Jews as aliens in our own land, yeah they were doing that to Jews and Jewish land. 250 000 Jews remained and never left. After 1850, when the Ottoman Empire was still falling, thousands of Jews joined those who had never left to reclaim their Ancient homeland from Byzantine, Otttoman, Turkish, Arab, and Muslim conquerors and thieves by buying the land around them. The Muslims agreed to self-governance for themselves in 1947, but not for the Jews. they want Jews to remain as their Dhimmis (slaves) as it is written in the Koran. By the way, the only place in the Middle East where Arabs/Muslims have freedom, equal rights, and a voice in government are israeli-Arabs. In every other Muslim nation, they rule through warlord-dictatorship rule where the Royal familyies keep their Muslim populations in poverty. Israel is the only Middle East nation where Muslims do not all live in poverty. . . .

  5. Bill_Perdue says:

    I have no religious views – I’m a militant athiest.

    Palestine belongs to the Palestinians.

  6. John Doe says:

    No land belongs to any religious group. That is just lunacy. To make such a statement is, well, religious extremism. Believing and publicly proclaiming that a particular piece of dirt on this planet “belongs” to one religious sect implies that they then have the god given right to expel or kill others that want to also live on that dirt. Again, that is insanity. That is particularly true if you have any sense of science. Since the earth is millions of years old i hardly see how one religious group living somewhere for a few thousand years gives that group any greater claim than another.

    This is magnified when in fact it is men who decide who can be a member of that religious group. For example, if I decide tomorrow to convert to Judaism, does that give me the right to go into Israel and expel some Muslim guy from his house? No, that is insanity. So what is the difference between me and a Turkic or Caucus guy who converted a few hundred years ago to Judaism? The answer – not much. Claiming that a piece of land belongs to a religious group is the height of religious extremism and craziness. That claim should be shouted down from the mountain tops no matter where it is made. What we need are lands that protect equal rights for all inhabitants, not a patchwork of ethnocentric states that discriminate against each other based on religion. The last time I checked the golden rule doesn’t say “he does it, so I am going to do it as well.”

  7. kurtsteinbach says:

    Yes, you are pretty sorry. The inquisitions were aimed at apostate Jews and began before the moves to kick the Muslims out of Spain. In fact, said Inquisitions date back to the Middle Ages, and the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion of the Moors is Renaissance and happened in the Middle of the 1400s. The Inquisition or questioning of Jews who had converted to were questioned going back to the late Dark Ages, around 1000 C.E. the first Inquisitions or Questionings of Jewish Converts to Christianity began before the Crusades; continued throughout, and has been going on since the ascendance of Christianity, just like the pograms.

  8. kurtsteinbach says:

    The Jews have lived in the land of Israel for over 3500 years. It IS their land, not someone else’s country. You can keep telling yourself and your friends the lie that Jews have not lived in Eretz Yisrael since before the Romans and before the Greeks, but the facts of history prove you a liar every time. That is the Ancient Jewish homeland since before Arabs left the Arabian Peninsula and spread out into the rest of the Middle East during and after the Dark Ages. Even after the Roman Expulsion in 70- C.E., about a quarter million Jews lived in that land. In the 19 century, when Samuel Clemens visited the land, he found the city of Jerusalem inhabited and run by Jews, not Muslims. You really are a lunatic. You probably also believe that the eldest of the 3 religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is Christianity. Judaism existed over 3000 years before Chistianity was even a thought.

  9. John Doe says:

    You are incorrect, im sorry. After the christian armies kicked out the Moors there was mass hysteria to get rid of Muslims. In many outposts Muslims and Jews fought together against Christians. The Christian hysterics started with Muslim paranoia and that then turned to Jews.

  10. Bill_Perdue says:

    I don’t think I or Brenner forgot the plans of Nazi anti-Semites. I also think Hitler always wanted to murder Jews and that led to Wanasee, which was held at the high tide on Nazi conquest when they thought they could get away with the Holocaust. They assumed they’d rule the world.

    Brenners point is that zionist infatuation with colonization did nothing to help European Jews who, when faced with the dawning truth of what
    was happening, found no friends in Western governments. Brenner is critical of zionists for busying themselves building a colony in someone else’s country, Palestine, instead or organizing in Europe itself. That seems true on the face of it.

    Is it true and shameful that US dominated regimes in places like Jordan and Egypt cooperate with the zionists and the US and refuse to help Palestinians or join their fight to reunify and free their country from colonialism. Those and other right wing, royalist and reactionary regimes will be replaced either by the Arab Spring which is proceeding by fits and starts or by completely right wing states like ISIS, which is entirely a creation of US marauding in the region.

  11. Tatts says:

    They don’t “get nothing”. I don’t know where you are, but it’s very much in the news locally and nationally. The major news services and networks cover it, newspapers cover it (at least in major cities). It’s all over the web news sites and in aggregator news feeds.

  12. Tatts says:

    “Where is the nationwide media attention about the young African-Americans who die every day?”

    More importantly…

    Where is the nationwide African-American attention about the young African-Americans who die every day?

    The silence from the African-American leadership in this country and their constituents is deafening.

  13. kurtsteinbach says:

    I think you’re forgetting the part of history where the Nazis wanted to, in the 1930s, get the Jews out of Nazi territory. before the Final Solution, the chosen Nazi solution to the “Jewish Question” was expulsion. They essentially wanted to expel Jews from Germany and eventually all of Europe. They considered Madagascar and the Ancient Jewish Homeland, called by Jews, “Eretz Yisrael.” Such plans proved to be a logistical nightmare. Despite the fact that a continuous Jewish presence existed in the land of Israel of a quarter of a million Jews or more for over 3000 years, the Nazis abandoned the expulsion plan in favor of annihilation.

    The Jews have been expelled from various lands for over 2000 years, including all but 250 000 from Israel itself. Without exception, every region or country that has expelled its Jewish population, has done so to such peril and self-harm, that the result is within a generation or two, the Jews are asked to move back. Muslims rule 98% of the Middle East. When those Muslim nations expelled all of their Jews, almost a million, after six armies attacked Israel in 1948, no less; Israel absorbed the refugees, including, over the decades, over 2 million Arabs, who live as equal citizens with equal rights, unheard of and unparalleled even in the U.S. However, none of the Muslim nations of the Middle East or North Africa have seen fit to take in even 10% of the people they often refer to as, “their Muslim brothers. In fact, the nations of the Middle East and North Africa have explicitly and specifically passed laws mandating that any Palestinian refugee who moves into a Middle East or North African nation shall continue to be a refugee, and so will their children and grandchildren, in perpetuity. They will not allow them to have jobs. The UN refugee agency for the world has resettled millions from conflicts around the world since its inception, yet the UNRWA, the refugee agency for Palestinians continues to be the most inept refugee agency in human history. It is so inept, by design of the 23 Muslim states, the UN, Hamas, Fatah, and the PA. . . .

  14. Richard Thompson says:

    Why are the French attacks the major focus of the news, and the thousands killed in Africa thru terrorism, on the exact same day, get nothing.

  15. Bill_Perdue says:

    The inquisition was highly political – a papal attempt to impose its will on other states.

    They were also rabidly homophobic and misogynistic, murdering thousands of midwives and female healers.

    They were racists who went after Jews, muslims, Aztecs, Incans, Mayans and others as part of wars of aggression. During those wars they always made it a point to steal the wealth of those they attacked. Often as not, their goal was to fill the coffers of the catholic cult and catholic royalty. On more than a few occasions they went after groups of well to do but vulnerable groups, and then tortured, convicted and killed them so they could confiscate their wealth.

    They killed uncounted hundreds of thousands in Arab lands and in the Americas and uncounted tens of thousands in Europe.

    The catholic cult is one of the deadliest insitutions in human history.

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    My understanding of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, zionism and the zionist bunkerstaat is partly based on the works of Lenni Brenner, a socialist and author of ZIONISM IN THE AGE OF THE DICTATORS, A reapparaisal which can be read online free at this link: http://www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres/LBzad.pdf

    It puts the tragedy of the Holocaust under the bright light of exhaustive historical research and explains the origins of the tragedy that continues to affect Palestinians.

  17. Baal says:

    Three of my four grandparents were Jewish immigrants to the US. I was not raised in a religion and I am an atheist. I am 57 years old and a university professor. Personally I think that all of the religions that I have studied (many of them extensively) are idiotic. A lot of people are prejudiced against atheists too, but there are many more of us than any opinion poll ever reveals, since it depends more or less on how the question is asked. In any case, let god botherers think what they will, I don’t give a shit.

    I remember my very Jewish great aunt who I was close to (my grandmother died before I was born and she loved my father) going absolutely ape shit when she found out I was dating an African-American women because she did not like schvartzes. That may be as close as I have come to experiencing overt prejudice directed in my (sort of) general direction — prejudice by ricochet if you will. So I take your word for it.

    I also weep for the victims of these kinds of bigotry and extensive tribal bullshit, far too much of which is done in the name of gods who don’t exist.*

    * By the way, probably a perfect description of the program followed by the Third Reich was outlined by Martin Luther in his book “On the Jews and Their Lies”. Even the forced labor camps. So sure, there was some of this in the US. But they certainly didn’t need an inspiration from here. My grandparents never worried about a pogrom here.

  18. kurtsteinbach says:

    I think you misunderstand just how ethnocentric Europe really is. . . .

  19. kurtsteinbach says:

    The Inquisitions started with the Jews. It was an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church (Christians) to find and root out apostate Christians. In other words, they were looking for Christians who had been forcibly converted from Judaism to Christianity years, decades, generations, and even centuries earlier under threat of death and had returned to Judaism. Later, in Spain, around 1500, Torquemada and others used the already ongoing Christian Inquisition to expel and rid the Iberian Peninsula of Smites (Jews and Muslims). Europe has a long history of anti-Jewish sentiment and behavior that goes back to the Ancient Romans. Anti-Jewish includes and encompasses Antisemitic behavior, but not all Antisemitic behavior and sentiments are truly anti-Jewish. Anti-Judaism requires the presence of Jews whereas Antisemitism does not. There is rampant Antisemitism in Poland, despite a zero sum Jewish population. That’s because Antisemitism is sometimes irrational and nonsensical. Anti-Judaism focuses on actions, but the two terms are often used interchangeably, with Antisemitism being used most of the time because people argue that Anti-Judaism is religious, it’s not, necessarily; whereas Antisemitic can be both or either. Anti-Jewish, Anti-Judaic, and Anti-Judaism are the same thing. We are the Jewish people, and our religion is called Jewish. I am Jewish, but I do not go to synagogue every week. How religious I am is personal. . . .

  20. Axe22 says:

    I think that the two attacks are very different in their nature from a French standpoint. Jews have been getting tortured and killed in France for centuries by ethnically French. The fact that in recent years they are being persecuted by another group does not shock the French sensibilities. The folks in the National Front who hate the Muslims also hate the Jews so if they are hurting each other it serves their goals. Anti-Semitism has a long and deep tradition in France from the Vichy regime sending Jews to the gas chambers to the Dreyfus affair to multiple exiles to the Crusades to Inquisitions all the way back to the Tenth and Eleventh centuries when King Robert II ordered Jews to be converted or killed.

  21. kurtsteinbach says:

    You forgot to mention that the Russian forgery, “The protocols of the Elders of Zion,” made its Western debut in the France around the time of the Dreyfus Affair, but then again, most Americans don’t know what they Dreyfus Affair is or that the protocols were exposed as a fraud in the 1920s, over 20 years later. They also don’t understand how all the events you mentioned go together. I don’t know if you knew those things already, or if you researched them to write this, but either way, very well written. . . .

  22. kurtsteinbach says:

    I take it that you’re not Jewish. Ask any Jewish friends or teachers you have why they don’t casually tell their friends and co-workers they’re Jewish. Most of my friends don’t know I’m Jewish, and they don’t ask until autumn. Then they ask me why I missed a day or evening of work or school for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur, or until I miss an evening something for Passover Sedar or bring Matzah in my lunch for a week in April. Then, they try to keep things casual, but over time, I will start getting treated like some kind of alien. I’ve seen it when a co-worker or friend finally confides that he or she is Jewish, gay, or lesbian. Very few of my bi-sexual friends who have confided in me will confide in other co-workers, friends, or acquaintances that they are bisexual. I am a teacher. I studied and teach, History, English, ESL, and psychology. Fear of the other and lack of identification with those who we consider alien or other is one of the most basic human phenomena. It is not out-an-out bigotry, but it is prejudice. There is a difference between prejudice and bigotry. The fact that Antisemitism doesn’t get much attention in the U.S. or in Europe is because of that aforementioned prejudice. It gets very little attention unless it is something big like The Holocaust, or unless it comes with an attack like what happened in France last week with the attack on the Kosher Grocery Store last Friday. America doesn’t think of itself as a place where Antisemitism occurs despite figures such as Father Coughlin, The American Nazi Party, The KKK hatred of Jews such that it is part of their creed as much as African-American hatred is, and the fact that much of the Nazi propaganda and techniques such as forced sterilization were inspired by their U.S fascist counterparts in the 1920s and ’30s. Trust me, America has much experience with Antisemitism. It is on the rise, and it is dismissed in America most of them time, much as it is dismissed in Europe despite almost every European nation having collaborated with the Nazis in the Final Solution. Every single S.S. Auxiliary was told where those trains were going and what was going to happen. Whether it was Matthew Shepard, James Byrd, Jr., Anne Frank, Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Reneisha McBride, Jonathan Ferrell, or Michael Brown, I sympathized with them and their families, and I didn’t need them to look or be anything like me, nor did I need to know anything about them in order to weep for them. . . . .

  23. Ron Robertson says:

    My thought is that this was an attack on a foundation of a democracy, however imperfect that democracy is. The nature of the crime was terrible, but others are pretty much just as bad. What happened here is that it is a direct attack on the right to say what you want. That sort of attack applies to everyone, because if anyone can be attacked because of what they say (or draw, in this case), then everyone is a potential victim of this sort of fascism. So, my view is that this is the reason for the enormous response, and in addition, that the response is justified. You simply cannot have idiots deciding that they can shut you down because they don’t like your not accepting their views. Does that mean we shouldn’t talk about other aspects? No, but I think it’s correct to fight back in this regard. If we don’t have the right to lampoon the self-righteous and bloody-hands manipulators, then we’re in big trouble all the way round.

  24. gratuitous says:

    Good point about the footage and its impact for the visual media. A lot of really terrible acts still occur without the benefit of being filmed for the general public; in competing for the attention of a capricious audience, that’s a big handicap.

  25. goulo says:

    I agree; an attack which murders journalists and is thus viewable as a direct attack against freedom of the press will unsurprisingly get more journalistic coverage from fellow journalists.

    But the simple explanation (discussed in John’s blog post) of the mainstream “viewing audience” and news producers caring less about Jews, blacks, non-Christians, etc is surely also unfortunately a factor.

    Another 3rd relevent factor these days is also probably whether there is dramatic film footage and photos of the event. Seeing images of real-life gunmen dressed in black suits like in a Hollywood action move probably significantly helps sell a story.

  26. John Doe says:

    The Spanish Inquisition started with Muslims. History repeats itself. Racism in Europe has always preceded anti-Semitism. This is a dangerous trend and one that liberals should be very careful of. Once one enemy is targeted the racists look for another.

  27. BeccaM says:

    It’s hard to say what causes a story to ‘go viral’ these days, but there seems to be some required elements:

    1. The victim(s) need to be sympathetic to the general public, esp. the majority. The Boko Haram story did go viral for a time because it was a whole bunch of schoolgirls who were kidnapped, to be sold off into marital slavery, for example. Charlie Hebdo was satirist/journalists, although honestly if more people saw the comics they liked to publish, I’d bet the sympathy level would go down — raunchy barely begins to describe some of them. Still, they were journalists of a sort, and nobody likes it when someone else tries to forbid something.

    2. It needs to be novel in some way. The September 11 2001 attacks in the U.S. were the archetype of novel, in that there’d never before been a terrorist attack using jetliners. Contrast this with almost daily mass-shootings and gay-bashing attacks and cops gunning down unarmed African Americans, and it requires a special ‘hook’ to the story for it to go viral. Such as graphic video of the event happening, or something else to make whatever it is stand out. A man gasping for breath and wheezing “I can’t breathe” while cops do nothing to help him, or a cop car rolling right up next to a kid and blowing him away in less than two seconds. For another example, LGBT youths tragically are committing suicide at an alarming rate; what made Leelah Alcorn’s stand out was she posthumously posted her suicide note online and pointed the finger directly at who she felt had driven her to it. The fact Leelah’s mother then tried to pretend it was just an accident that had happened to her son inflamed the general outrage. Which brings me to…

    3. Emotion. There needs to be some kind of strong emotional, visceral reaction. Something that makes people not just read a story and have strong feelings about it, but also to have the urge to repost and share it via their social networks and via word-of-mouth. Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons are indisputably offensive to some, but the idea those people deserved to die for it was and is utterly repugnant to anybody with a sense of moral conscience.

    Anyway, as far as the situation goes in France, it’s actually both Jewish and Muslim and immigrant communities in general that are being attacked. Same in the UK and in a number of other European nations. The reason those aren’t going viral? For one, they’ve been happening repeatedly — just like shootings in the U.S. and incidents of police brutality — so they’re no longer ‘novel.’ For another, there are unfortunately enough people who either don’t care or who somehow think the victimized communities actually deserve what’s happening to them. Hence in order to evoke emotion, the attack needs to be especially egregious and sensationalized.

    To answer your question, John: Yes, I do feel that quite often there’s prejudice and discrimination going on with the fact that so many larger horrors don’t go as viral as the disappearance of one pretty blonde woman in America, for instance.

  28. heimaey says:

    Well let’s just say some are way more offensively hypocritical than others.

  29. Houndentenor says:

    I only lived in Europe for about four months but imagine the level of antisemitism and racism that I must have heard that I, someone who grew up in East Texas, was sometimes shocked at the things that people would say in front of me completely unaware that such things would be considered offensive. Yes, I think things like this show a level of antisemitism in Europe (not just France) just as the media ignoring violence against minority people but going into 24/7 freakout mode if something bad happens to a blond girl. Remember that the one act of anti-gay violence that gripped the US was Matthew Shepard. Yes, it was awful, but there were plenty of other equally heinous acts of violence against minority gays that were mostly ignored by the mainstream media. So yes, there’s a lot of racism and this is where it’s most easily spotted.

  30. Baal says:

    I was also thinking this too.

  31. Baal says:

    Yes this is what I think too. Also, in the US, Jews (at least ones who don’t wear medieval outfits) probably stopped being “the other” a long time ago, but perhaps less so in France. However, in the US, gays are still viewed as the “other” by too many people.

  32. Baal says:

    Yes. This.

  33. Baal says:

    Also, maybe 2,000 people killed in Nigeria in the same week by people with more or less the same ideology. I’ts not viral because how many times have you heard the same story before? My guess is same with attacks on Jews in France, it’s just happened enough times that it fails to shock (sufficiently). The Charlie Hebdo attack was something a bit new in that a threat on cartoonists was actually carried out this time. In France, of course, these cartoonists were pretty well known, so there was not way it would not immediately make headlines.

    I’m still wondering why Cliven Bundy is not in prison.

  34. Indigo says:

    Of course it’s hypocritical. I can’t imagine a system that is not. Utopianism? That’s never the fact of day-to-day operations. Hypocrisy is the dark side of every human system. Why kid ourselves about that?

  35. gratuitous says:

    I would say don’t overlook the fact that the victims of the Paris massacre were mostly journalists, and journalists still act as gatekeepers for a lot of what does and doesn’t get reported in the popular media. Even the most hidebound ideologues at Fox recognize a certain kinship with the dead at Charlie Hebdo.

    You might as well ask why the latest atrocity by Boko Haram in Nigeria has gone largely unnoticed. If many of the victims weren’t members of EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, I’m pretty sure our congregation wouldn’t have spent 20 minutes discussing it in worship yesterday. As it is, many of our congregants know or have met some of the victims or their relatives, so we have a much more personal connection to those 2,000 dead.

  36. TampaZeke says:

    And likewise, where has the national outrage been on the HUNDREDS of occasions when gay and trans people have been murdered in the streets by terrorists? How many of the people marching against “all fascism”today were the very same who loudly and proudly marched with the fascist in the rabidly anti-gay, anti-marriage equality demonstrations attended by millions a mere few months ago?

  37. heimaey says:

    I think you’re wrong. These atrocities are more horrible, as portrayed by the media, when it happens to “our” side. Look at Netanyahu’s appearance in Paris – he certainly had no problem killing thousands of innocent Gaza citizens and certainly didn’t mourn for them. The Western leaders did not go to Gaza and mourn for the atrocities that Israel committed.

    We have a generally peaceful and stable society and when that’s threatened then we freak out. Understandably so but it’s hypocritical.

  38. FLL says:

    And I suspect that crimes that shock the majority are crimes that make the majority think “that could have been me.”

    In a nutshell, that’s the formula for a story to go viral. Jon Green wrote an article about Bibi Asia, a Christian Pakistani woman who has been sentenced to death for blasphemy because of an argument with a neighbor trying to prevent her from drinking water from a well that Muslims drank from. That story did not go viral because the circumstances of the altercation are so alien to readers in the West. Western readers can’t imagine that they themselves would ever have a problem getting water, based on their lack of religious affiliation. On the other hand, the Charlie Hebdo attack strikes a chord because people think “I could have been working at the offices of a magazine that got targeted by al Qaeda for some reason.” In other words, “that could have been me.” Hence, a viral story.

  39. keirmeister says:

    John, I think perhaps you are conflating two different things: a story going viral vs. demonstrations in the streets.

    With regard to these recent incidents in France, it seems that people considered the attack on Charlie Hebdo to be an attack on France itself (Je Suis Charlie, Nous Sommes Tous Charlie); whereas attacks on Jewish communities are still like “The Other”…as it often is in the US.

    The attacks on Boston and NYC brought people out because those were attacks on “all of us.”

    I have not seen the same for gay killings and suicides. Sure the stories are talked about – even heavily, but they don’t bring people out into the streets. That’s a different thing altogether.

  40. Bill_Perdue says:

    France, with millions of immigrants from its former colonies in north and central Africa, like the US, has a large Arab and African immigrant population that’s very badly treated, brutalized by the police, defame by the right and subjected to all the racist trappings of societies in their death agony. http://www.globalresearch.ca/french-ghettos-police-violence-and-racism/1214

    That’s one aspect of racism in France and anti-Semitism is another. It has a long history in France and western Europe where it was promoted by catholic and protestant cults. Jews, along with women, gays, and people from other cults were subject to the Inquisition and uncounted numbers were killed after being tortured and having their estates confiscated. France has always been a center of anti-Semitism from the Dreyfus affair, the tiniest tip of a massive iceberg to the cooperation of the French government and police in the 1942 “Vel d’Hiv” roundup of 11,000 Jews, all citizens of France, who were shipped off to Nazi extermination camps.

    Today’s right wing christers, French nationalists and right wing islamists are modern expressions of a long history of anti-Semitism in France, long one of the most anti-Semitic nations in the world. That racism, more recently, has morphed into Islamophobic racism.

  41. Indigo says:

    I think your question is misplaced. The issue is freedom of speech and a noted satirist was murdered. For the intellectual French community, that’s an unacceptable transgression. Satirically speaking, it’s almost as insulting to the French as attacking the rich is to Americans. Ethno-centrism, antisemitism, and related ideologies are not a part of that paradigm.

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