Once again our cherished "Western values" are under attack. It didn't take long for commentators across the political spectrum to conclude that today's "terror" attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo was nothing less than an all-out assault on freedom of speech.
This blog first commented on Charlie with "Blasphemous buffoonery" and "Death to France" more than two years ago, when the CH offices were fire-bombed. I didn't buy into their free speech argument then and I don't today.
The CH strategy has consistently been to court controversy as a tool to get attention and goose circulation. Mocking the religion of France's underclass is an easy way to do that. It taps into a racist vein among France's "French," who are so blind to their privileges that they are for the most part unaware of them.
The millions of African immigrants, most of whom are not immigrants at all but second and third generation citizens, are most definitely NOT blind to them. They see them every day. They see the difference in housing, in opportunity for education, in employment prospects. This underclass has been seething with resentment for years, a resentment that has more than once exploded into street riots.
And all the while, Charlie Hebdo kept on ramping up the ridicule. It's the rich kids in the school yard relentlessly taunting and bullying the poor kid.
Today's tragedy may well leave us shocked, appalled, saddened...
But it should not leave us surprised.