Even had I not had the flu, I would not have attended or participated in the mass psychosis billed as “Je Suis Charlie” following the murder of journalists, cops, and deli patrons last week in Paris. But I did watch a lot of the live tv coverage of these strange events, and a few images keep coming back to mind.
The car parked in the middle of a strangely deserted street around noon in the center of Paris on a Wednesday. The no blood execution of the wounded cop on the sidewalk of the same street. The near immediate appearance of more than 80,000 police and auxiliary personnel.
Where did all those “Je Suis Charlie” pieces of paper come from?
The near miraculous “hidden informant” at the printing facility.
The young man from Mali (of all places) who hid some of the deli hostages in cold storage and managed to escape.
And then there was the Big March in Paris. Did anyone else notice that Hollande, in greeting the arriving dignitaries, usually remained on the terrace of the Elysee, while his guests usually stopped one step below (per protocol?) to shake hands? But that, with the arrival of former French President Nicholas Sarkozy and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he descended a step or two to greet them?
Or that, while waiting to get on the buses which were to take the gaggle of heads of state to their isolated symbolic “march,” we see an impatient and obviously frustrated and indignant Netanyahu push his way to the head of the line of the first bus, only to be told to go to the second.
Or how, during their solitary and symbolic “march” of a couple of hundred meters, the same Netanyahu, with body guards on either side, managed to insert himself into the front row, waving and smiling to no one in particular.
Or the now classic embrace of a cop by one of the marchers.
Or how, on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, Hollande stated that a planned increase in arms manufacturing was a positive development, was good for the economy.
Or the collective madness of all those people running to buy the newest edition of Charlie Hebdo.
These are the images with which I am left.
And I keep asking myself: Why can’t people come together like this to stop all the unnecessary military interventions that have murdered, wounded, or displaced millions of people when they can do it for a few journalists and shoppers?
Why can’t they do the same to boycott the criminal financial institutions or free trade treaties? What is it about people today that they can’t distinguish between their collective interests and the interests of a minuscule group of warmongering psychopaths?