Terror in France (and All Over the Place)

In 1793-94, the Reign of Terror led by Maximilien Robespierre resulted in the execution by guillotine of thousands of “enemies of the state”, as labeled by the Committee for Public Safety. The official number of death sentences served during the Terror is 16,594 infamously including Marie Antoinette of lemony cake fame.  According to the website HistoryToday:

For the first time in history terror  became an official government policy, with the stated aim to use violence in order to achieve a higher political goal. Unlike the later meaning of ‘terrorists’ as people who use violence against a government, the terrorists of the French Revolution were the government. The Terror was legal, having been voted for by the Convention.

Ironic that the use of terror as policy started in France. Not that the French government supports terror or has in centuries, but still an interesting bit of trivia. Honestly, nothing against France at ALL, just an observation.

I spent a semester of my junior year in college in Dijon, France. In 1986, there were terrorist bombings throughout France and Europe and the U.S. was battling Libya and Iran. One lovely spring day in 1986, I was walking home from class with one of my group’s French student advisers. I looked like a typical American goof ball in my Reebok high tops, drinking a Coke (because they didn’t have Diet Coke in France then), sporting a Sony Walkman and that’s all. No, I had clothes on, just joking. Christophe and I were walking down Rue Charles de Gaulle, chatting away and we passed a couple of guys of middle-Eastern descent who made some comments. I have no idea what they said. We kept on walking and then the Middle Eastern guys started yelling and chasing us and I realized they were yelling “You Fucking American” at ME. What?! Christophe and I took off running and we kept running past the house where I was staying so these assholes wouldn’t know where the American lived. We kept running till the jerks lost interest and turned around.

I'm just an 80s chick with a bad perm, what do you want from me?!
I’m just an 80s chick with a bad perm, what do you want from me?!

On Wednesday 12 people were killed in Paris by terrorists angered by magazine Charlie Hebdo‘s cartoons mocking Islam and the prophet Mohammed. Charlie Hebdo satirizes all religions but this tragedy was due to their cartoons regarding Islam.


Sadly terrorism isn’t new to France and yesterday’s slaughter is the latest attack by Islamic terrorists on Western freedoms.

That’s what I think it all comes down to… Islam doesn’t like Western society’s freedoms of speech, assembly, religion and the press. They don’t like women having the right to an education or to be able to show their faces in public or to have a driver’s license.

Those of us of a certain age will remember what happened to Salman Rushdie upon the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses. After a “fatwa” was issued against him, Rushdie went into hiding for 10 years. Rushdie, born to a Muslim family in India, wrote a book that Muslim clerics didn’t like and he was in fear for his life for 10 years. As a matter of fact, the fatwa was restored about a year ago but Rushdie is not going back into hiding.

The following quote is from an interview of Rushdie by the New York Times:

There have been arguments made even by liberal-minded people, which seem to me very dangerous, which are basically cultural relativist arguments: We’ve got to let them do this because it’s their culture. My view is no. Female circumcision — that’s a bad thing. Killing people because you don’t like their ideas — it’s a bad thing. We have to be able to have a sense of right and wrong which is not diluted by this kind of relativistic argument. And if we don’t we really have stopped living in a moral universe.

Read more from Rushdie here

Theo Van Gogh was murdered in 2004 by a Dutch Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri, unhappy with Van Gogh’s film “Submission” criticizing Islam’s treatment of women. Van Gogh was shot about 10-12 times, then the killer slit his throat in an attempt to decapitate him.

It seems almost every day we hear about a journalist being kidnapped or beheaded by ISIS.

Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head three times (and lived to tell about it) for daring to blog about her life under Taliban rule and for advocating education for girls. She is a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and is going to turn the ripe old age of 18 this July.

There seems to be some commonality here. Islam is at war with the West and Western ideals no matter where in the world they are espoused. And I, like you I’m sure, am getting damn tired of it.

Yesterday I read quite a bit about the savage attack in Paris. My reading included comments steeped in what I think of as historical and moral relativism. What about the Inquisition? What about slavery? What about the awful things done in the name of Christianity? What about the treatment of Native Americans? Blah. Blah. Blah.

Those things happened and they were awful but the glory of time is that it continues to move forward and civilization moves with it. Forward, better, new, improved. If the Inquisition was still going on. If Americans were still owning slaves. So on and so forth, then all of that ugliness could be compared to Islamic terror today but they’re not.

I am a practicing Catholic and I was horribly upset by the sexual abuse (rape) scandal in the Church that was going on long before I was born but really came to a head in the US in the 1990s. I never once sided with the priests or the Church hierarchy. I spoke out loudly against the abuse and the cover up. I refused to give money to the Archdiocese of Portland because I was not going to waste a penny on their legal expenses. Millions of Catholics in the U.S. and around the globe raised Holy Hell about the scandal and demanded recourse and change. It’s not over but it is glacially moving in the right direction.


Where are the millions of peaceful Muslims protesting the terrorism done in the name of their religion? Where is their Million Man March? Why are they not turning in those they know are terrorists and reporting those they suspect? Why are they not decrying the wearing of burkas by women and demanding that women everywhere deserve the same rights as men? Why are there no Islamic uprisings against stoning of women and girls? I don’t see it. I am told this is a peaceful religion and if that is true the peaceful branch must retake their religion from the savages that are causing death and chaos around the globe.

There is plenty of evil throughout the world but I ask anyone to name another group who is actively at war with modern Western civilization like these Islamic savages are.

I’ve been in trouble here before and I’m sure I will be in trouble again but this is my house and I’ll write what I want to write, just as everyone should. Ross Douthat wrote in yesterday’s New York Times, “If a large enough group of someones is willing to kill you for saying something, then it’s something that almost certainly needs to be said.”


12 thoughts on “Terror in France (and All Over the Place)

  1. It really wasn’t all that long ago that the whole world went to war to stop an Austrian madman and a Japanese Imperialist. But each had millions marching in support. Where are the millions supporting these nut jobs? Sitting quietly in their homes and mosques contributing their treasure and silence.

    There really is no border to cross or industrial base to cripple. This is much more personal and the terror can erupt like an engorged pimple anywhere and at anytime. Kid glove treatment of this “movement” only enables and emboldens them. Denial is what stage of insanity?

    Back when I chased bad guys, we kept after their asses until we got them. The courts made it difficult but if we did our jobs right they went off the the gray walled country clubs for rehabilitation. Are the governments of the “free” world relentlessly going afer these creeps? Makes you wonder and then run down to Walmart for ammo.

    1. “engorged pimple” Gah!!! But good one.
      I don’t understand the world’s hesitation to upset these stone age monsters. I don’t need to understand them, just stop them. I don’t think we (the free world) are going after them relentlessly, I fear that we tie our good soldiers hands when we try to be the good guy. There is plenty I would like my government to do, I don’t need the details….just go take care of it.

      Thank you for chiming in!

  2. These are criminals- Islamofascists, who say “live by my rules, or die”. Religion is not my favorite, but I think it will take away some of their power if we stop talking about reforming an entire religion. Pick off the human detritus as it floats to the surface and hope that the spread of knowledge and information (due to that darn Westen technology) allows young Islamic people to see how much of the rest of the world lives…and lets live.

  3. I couldn’t agree with this post more. It’s a difficult topic and I think you handled it beautifully. To say all Muslims are terrorists is discrimination; to say that horrible things are being committed by Muslims in the name of their religion is fact. It’s hard for me to differentiate my personal feelings of suspicion of the unknown from blatant disgust that so many women are persecuted in the name of a “religion”. Ugh. I wish I had better words. I guess what I’m trying to say is I don’t want to harbor feelings of distrust or bigotry, but damn they make it hard, don’t they?

  4. Thank you for discussing this topic, Maggie (loud applause!).

    From where I sit, saying that horrible things were perpetrated in this country, such as slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, blah, blah, blah, but it’s been acknowledged, move on, nothing to see here, progress is better…well, dear friend, to me that’s a little disingenuous.

    The current turmoil in this country over race; women’s right to choose what happens in the sacredness of their own consciences and bodies; the curtailment and, in some cases, abrogation of voting rights; even separation of State from church so that we may all be protected from overzealous ideologues; would seem to indicate that these are continued expressions of wrongs and wounds that are still healing. We rip off the scab, treat the newly bleeding wound, let a new scab form, rinse and repeat.

    Terrorism is wrong. Given the recent revelations on CIA activities, it could be argued that the U.S. Government engages in terrorist activities. What’s that you say? It’s to protect you and me? Well, from the perverted viewpoint of the Charlie Hebdo murderers, they were protecting something as well. Do the ends justify the means? I don’t think so. Perhaps others do.

    There is no US and Them, Maggie. There is ONLY WE. We are on this planet (not just this neighborhood, city, county, state, country, continent) together. The separation that we see on the maps is arbitrary and artificial. How about we remember the old 70’s exhortation: act locally, think globally. Meaning: what I do in the privacy of my heart and mind has implications for all of us living on this planet right now. How do I contribute to my individual, and our collective, well-being?

    Maybe a few more people walking this precious Earth with an expanded awareness of our communal and individual responsibilities could help start tilting the scale. Remember, it only took a straw to break the camel’s back. What if I’m the one who with a simple shift of awareness tilts the scale, ever so subtly and slightly, in the direction of win/win?

    I’ll give it a go… xoxoxoM

    1. Thank you for this Margarita. I hear what you are saying and it’s funny, I think that “act locally, think globally” phrase regularly!

      I have a post on the racial divide in this country which I have been working on for weeks but can’t get it to a point where I think it’s ready for publication. There are so many big topics, this post was on just one and every time I look at it, I think of something else I should have put in it.

      Thank you, as always, for your words of wisdom
      xoxo mag

  5. Ask 100 people to cast a secret ballot re Yes/No Islam is a religion of terror and I bet 99 will say yes. Ask them to say out loud and 99 will say the standard, Muslim is a religion of peace. Perception and optics play a huge role in how we determine everything in our lives. Look at Obama and optics. Holy cow, that’s a blog entry unto itself.

    I figure the reason the mainstream Muslims aren’t marching in opposition to the faction that is Muslim terrorists is because they don’t want attention brought to their own families, their own mosque, their own neighborhoods. I wouldn’t want it.

    PS: I gave up on your other blog, checked in here and wow, lo and behold, you’ve been secret-blogging behind my back. Yippee!! Happy New Year.

  6. Addie

    I believe with my whole heart humans have perfected three things during our time on earth–one is killing each other, the second is finding an excuse to do so. (The third has to do with children, and is a post in and of itself) Sadly, God is at the top of said excuse list. How ironic is it that Mohammad, like Christ, stopped his followers from harming those who harmed them, asking instead for peace–yet, some of his followers cry for unbelievers to die in his name.

    Brava, Maggie. Well, and bravely, said.

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