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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Charlie Hebdo

My personal reaction to the events that rocked the Hexagon recently has been to avoid the media reports domestic (France) or foreign (the US and others).  Alas, the media reached out for me which was a huge surprise.  I came home one day and a Seattle (my hometown) news radio station  had sent mail and a tweet asking me to give a live report from Paris on their morning show.  I declined.  And then they called me on my cell phone and I found myself talking to a reporter who said she just wanted a few comments.  That seemed doable (and harder to refuse with an actual human being on the line) and so we chatted for a few minutes.

In that interview I committed the great sin - I was boring.   She wanted stories of a city paralyzed by terrorism whose denizens were living in fear.  What she got was: Well, things are actually pretty normal.  The only exceptions to that that I experienced were the announcements or at the train station asking us to be extra vigilant and the locked doors at the American Cathedral in Paris which meant that you had to ask to be let in.  That was it.  Really.

And then the conversation took a dark turn with talk of 911 and an attempt to link what happened to Charlie Hebdo to US efforts against terrorism and the "Islamofacists."  That left a very bad taste in my mouth to the point where I lost my serenity and asked if she thought that Seattle was a hotbed of terrorism as well.  "They are everywhere," she replied.

After that my resolve to avoid the media doubled and I stopped even reading the headlines.  I have an instinctive distrust of any "analysis" that is made in the heat of the moment.  I am even more dubious of foreign (US) news reports that attempt to tie what happened in Paris to past events (and present efforts) in that country.  If anyone would like to make that case then I would like to see it done with humility and sober reflection and not as part of a media frenzy.  But that's not my call, is it?

Enough said on the subject.  Arun has run several nice pieces on his blog with links to other good articles and so I will again send you over to Arun with a View and his latest blog post:  Understanding Charlie Hebdo.

And this was kindly passed along by Leila on Facebook.  Here is a French news program poking fun at Fox News - it's pretty good.  Enjoy.


Unknown said...

“Terrorism” is a product of the judging governing bodies and the media. “Terror” is a reactionary state of fear which you can possess. Or, you could choose to not possess fear and terror.

Unknown said...

Since 6 Europeans died of terrorist acts last year, media can then say that terrorism in Europe is already running double over last year\s total.

Anonymous said...

Actually, Victoria, I think more "boring" voices like yours are needed :)

bubblebustin said...

Famous American (now French resident) cartoonist Robert Crumb is right, the US media is mostly made up of public relations people. I find it extremely annoying that someone would attempt to use you, an advocate for Americans abroad, as an ally in their sensational "War on Terror" while still largely ignoring the US government's war on its own diaspora. This is the most imminent threat to the existence of Americans abroad, not some real or imaginary zealot down the street. But then it's not about us, is it? It's about using us as 'fellow' Americans to shape the narrative in the US - while caring little about us. It's insulting.

Victoria FERAUGE said...

@Here and There, Like the link. Thank you.

To be fair the media is like everyone else trying to make a living. Not unusual for the local news to try and add a local angle to an international story. But I didn't care for it much and I won't do it again.