Monday, January 12, 2015
Paris Solidarity Rally at SF City Hall
Polk Street was blocked in front of San Francisco City Hall on Sunday afternoon for a rally intended to show solidarity with Parisians after the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack last week.
The varying reactions worldwide to the murder of a dozen satirical journalists and police by Muslim gunmen has been something of a Rorschach test.
For some, the main issue has been the sanctity of free speech in a Western democracy, while others have questioned the wisdom of publishing racist cartoons lampooning Muslims and their faith.
Still others are questioning why these deaths in particular are being mourned in such a public fashion worldwide, while other violent deaths are not, such as the murder in Pakistan of 132 children last month at a military school or the murder of 43 young schoolteachers by an unholy mixture of the state and drug traffickers in Mexico last year.
Part of the answer may lie in the fact that the Charlie Hebdo attack was a classic case of terrorism as theater, not intended to kill lots of people so much as make a huge impression. In that regard, it was extremely successful.
In the midst of all the online news and chatter and arguing about the meaning of the event over the last week, I must admit my favorite moment has been a Twitter war between pugnacious publisher Rupert Murdoch and Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling. Murdoch was calling on all Muslims to condemn the "cancer" in their midst and Rowling responded, "I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I'll auto-excommunicate."