The Western reaction to the massacre at a French magazine this week is sickening. Western leaders, from US President Barack Obama to Pope Francis, from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth to United Nation Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, have all come out in force to issue statements of condemnation and condolences over the mass killing of 12 people by two gunmen at a Parisienne office.
French President Francois Hollande declared a national day of mourning, flags are being flown at half-mast on government buildings and town halls, and the bells of Notre Dame Cathedral in the French capital rang out to pay respect for the victims.
But let’s put the slaughter of the French journalists and twopolicemen in perspective. Almost every week, a similar number of people are killed in air strikes and aerial drone attacks carried out by the US and its NATO allies, including France, in countries across Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
From these latter attacks, thousands of civilians have been murdered in recent years from indiscriminate Western military violence in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia - the toll added to by victims in Syria and Iraq since a US-led bombing coalition began operations last September.
Where are high-profile international condemnations and condolences over these victims? Where are the candlelit vigils? Exactly, none. Where are the Western media front page headlines declaring: “Nous Sommes Yemen” (We are Yemen)? Or “Pakistan,” “Somalia,” or wherever?
Western leaders and media are affecting moral outrage over the massacre at the French publication, Charlie Hebdo, this week. But in their posturing, they display a reprehensible double standard and hypocrisy towards other victims of terrorism.
The actions of officially designated terrorists - such as al-Qaeda and its offshoots linked to the Paris atrocity - are deplored with maximum rhetorical force. But not so the actions of state terrorists, such as Washington and its Western allies, including the French government, when they launch air strikes on villages in foreign countries - in total violation of international law and morality.
What is even more sickening is the way Western governments are using the massacre in Paris as a means to claw some moral authority from the incident.
President Obama condemned the killings, saying: “Time and again, the French people have stood up for the universal values that generations of our people have defended.” In other words, Obama is insinuating his government on the side of the victims, as if they are one and the same standing up to evil.
Obama added, “France, and the great city of Paris where this outrageous attack took place, offer the world a timeless example that will endure well beyond the hateful vision of these killers.”
Hollande addressed his nation in a TV broadcast calling for “unity” and claiming that the victims of the Paris shooting were “heroes” who died for France.
“Our best weapon is our unity. Nothing should oppose us, divide us, to separate us,” Hollande said in sombre tone, adding: “Freedom is always stronger than barbarism... Today the French Republic as a whole was the target.”
The rhetoric is narcissistic, hypocritical, deceitful and nauseating.
Despicably, as in similar recent attacks in Australia, Canada and Britain, the Western leaders are using the violence as a way of justifying their “war on terror” pretensions and their own criminality.
Western governments led by Washington have for nearly 15 years used the threadbare pretext of "fighting terrorism" to launch illegal wars and murder campaigns all around the globe, and in Muslim countries in particular. So audacious are these Western countries that their self-justified “fight against terrorism” has now morphed into regime-change operations in other countries using covert state-sponsored terrorism, as in Libya, Syria and Ukraine.
In addition to the Middle East and North Africa, France has ordained itself the moral and legal right to launch military aggressions in Mali and the Central Africa Republic causing thousands of deaths and millions of refugees over the past two years.
Western governments, foremost Washington, London and Paris, are running amok with state terrorism and gangsterism in their pursuit of imperialist interests.
When forms of terrorism rebound in Western capitals, the appropriate logical conclusion is that this is blowback from the wanton vandalism of these Western governments towards international law and moral standards. Their heinous culpability needs to be condemned and understood as the source of all consequences. We should not allow the ultimate authors of international violence to hide behind the selective mourning for victims of terrorism.
By allowing Western leaders to manipulate public sentiments and infiltrate these sentiments for their own undeserved moral authority - that will inevitably lead to further violence and conflict. Already, there are reports of violent backlash against Muslim communities across France and no doubt far-right Islamophobic groups will seek to exploit to the hilt.
But any proper public backlash should be directed at Western governments and Western leaders like Obama, Hollande, Cameron, Harper and Abbott who are plunging the world into further mayhem from their reckless state-sponsored terrorism.