Questions, doubts as France grieves


The Wednesday attack at a Paris office of Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine indeed was a tragic incident. The police say they have launched a manhunt for two suspects in the case and that a third has already surrendered. With France now in a high state of alert, things look set for the case to be over soon. Nevertheless, serious doubts still exist over what prompted the massacre and who will eventually benefit from Paris’ most violence attack in many years.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, an American political commentator, has told Press TV that the incident is being seen from different angles by analysts. However, Sepahpour-Ulrich believes that there is already a consensus among many that the violence was the result of the Western policies toward the Middle East.

Some circles, she said, see the Paris shooting as a blow-back from Western support for creating instability in the Middle East and the creation of ISIL. Some reports, she added, indicate that the two brothers implicated in the attacks had just returned from Syria.

“Another thinking is that this was a false flag attack. Like any other event, the truth will remain shrouded, but we can help understand the events by looking at who benefits from these attacks,” she told Press TV’s UK Desk.

“But fear can paralyze rationale and prompt people to accept whatever narrative is given them or demands placed upon them.”

Sepahpour-Ulrich said the French officials this past September were reported to be working on a new anti-terror measure and the main impetus was to use instruments to go after “individuals” and after websites deemed as ‘defending’ or ‘provoking’ terror.

“Incidents such as the Paris shooting will justify such actions,” she said.

Sepahpour-Ulrich further criticized those who attribute the Paris violence as an attack on “free speech”.

This, she said, does not make sense as ‘there is only selective free speech’.

“In France, one cannot debate the Holocaust and as with most Europe, if one even attempts to reconsider the number of the victims, this is considered a crime.

“At the same time, woman in France have been banned from wearing the burka. Regardless of whether one likes the burka or not, it is as much self- expression as any other form of free speech”.

Sepahpour-Ulrich further expressed regret that in order to demonize Islam, every act committed or presumed to be committed by a national from the Islamic faith is automatically dubbed terrorism “whereas heinous terrorist acts by others is not considered terrorism”.

“For example, when the movie “The Last Temptation of Christ” was shown in Paris in 1988, there were attacks against movie theaters and movie-goers assaulted. The incident was reported as being the work of Christian fundamentalists, not Christian terrorists.

“So framing of the issue is very important and in this instance, the underlying message is to paint Muslims as terrorists,” she said.

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