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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/20/15

Charlie Hebdo: A Missed Bottom-Up, Kumbaya, Opportunity?

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Is the Paris Charlie Hebdo affair, the subsequent march in Paris and the surrounding furor a missed opportunity for the growing bottom-up movement? And, probably missed intentionally by our government because maybe it truly was a "Kumbaya" (in the spirit of the song) moment? We didn't send anyone of real importance to the rally because we didn't want to be trapped in a "Kumbaya" statement? Did we simply want to sit back and eventually send out drones to kill the "guilty ones"? Does America not have the moral, political or social will to honestly find solutions informed by historical realities and a philosophy engendered by our better angels? Are we the bad guys in all of this -- invading Iraq, killing innocents, wrecking sane, intelligent discourse on the subject by propagandizing Americans and folks in the wider world? Have we allowed the military to completely cease to be our servant and become our master?

Osama Bin Laden was possibly the most successful ideological and military strategist since Ghengis Kahn. What he wrought is bringing down the West, not because of 9/11, because of our absolutely failed response -- we are not safer -- we are wrecked. America has perverted itself to such an extent that it is almost unrecognizable as the thing we say we want it to be. We have allowed fear and hate to foster the rise of paranoiacs, demagogues, opportunists and fools, driving our attention and resources away from immediate, dire situations: climate change, globalism, economic inequality and the degradation of education and the national infrastructure.

I don't like much of what Charlie Hebdo did to supposedly bring on the murder of eleven people. I think there are lines that indecency should not cross. However, I had a neighbor once that called me a "MotherF**ker" -- which I think is significantly more morally reprehensible than drawing a bad cartoon of the prophet -- I didn't shoot the sorry son of a b**ch!

The equivocating, exploitation of, parsing and excusing or flattening of the murder of twelve human beings is very interesting. Because, it is mostly being done in service to one or another personal prejudices, conspiracy theories, nationalistic manias or ideological allegiances. Eleven people are dead. Eleven individuals with wives and children and lovers and dogs and cats and cousins and aunts and mothers and college roommates and drinking buddies are dead.

Did George W. Bush shoot 'em --no. Did Capitalism shoot 'em -- no. Did the War on Terror shoot 'em --no. It appears that two men shot them. Two men pulled the trigger and the hard thing for us to stomach is, just like the deaths of JFK or John Lennon, is that they simply died, albeit violently. What if, On Sunday 28 June 1914, Gavrilo Princip would have simply been perceived to have murdered Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife? What if citizens would have taken to the streets simply to mourn the deaths? Does bottom-up thinking have the potential to see these acts primarily as the depraved acts of individuals and not attacks on society and flags and slogans? Can bottom-up thinking steal the narrative away from the top-downers?

I believe that bottom-up thinking and acting can indeed steal the bellicose, martial narrative from the top-downers. The average citizen of the world does not murder his neighbor for calling him a "Motherf**ker. The key to a successful bottom-up, world wide paradigm shift is contained in the song "Kumbaya": "Hear me crying...Hear me praying...Hear me singing..I need you..."


(Article changed on January 23, 2015 at 12:33)

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Kevin is an Artist, Writer, Carpenter and Gallerist in Texas.

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