“I am not Charlie”

Editors Note: On Jan. 8, 2015, the French magazine, Charlie Hebdo was attacked in Paris allegedly by Arabs living in France. Ten cartoonists and journalists were killed along with two police forces. An apparently related attack also killed four Jewish hostages and a French policewoman.

Charlie Hebdo was infamous for its anti-Muslim cartoons defaming the Prophet Mohammad and generally deriding Muslim and Arab life and culture.

In response, the French government mobilized imperialist and neocolonial governments as well as white people everywhere to defend French “free speech” with the slogan “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie).

As Chairman Omali Yeshitela teaches us, the free speech of Europeans and white people throughout the world comes from the enslavement, genocide and colonial domination of Arab, African, Asian and Indigenous peoples for the benefit of white power.

Penny Hess, Chairwoman of the African People’s Solidarity Committee, read the following statement—“I am not Charlie”—at the annual Conference of the African People’s Solidarity Committee held in St. Petersburg, FL on Jan. 11 and 12.


I am not Charlie

With their so-called “civilization,” grand boulevards and cathedrals, the French claim to be the guardians of free speech.
This is the France that sits on the spoils of an empire that slaughtered, tortured, terrorized and violently silenced twenty percent of the entire world’s population, having seized with arms nearly five million square miles of the earth’s surface.
So, for the Arab, African and Asian subjects of French imperialism there has never been free speech, only the dreaded Black Codes giving the power of life and death over the oppressed to French citizens.
I am not Charlie
This free-speech-loving France assaulted Africa and by 1680 they had already brought half a million Africans enchained to Saint-Domingue—today’s Haiti.
Africans were forced to labor twelve hours a day, with no food, on the sugar, coffee and tobacco plantations until their broken bodies collapsed and perished.
Stolen African forced labor gave the newly rich gentry of Paris their genteel lifestyle and their taste for sugar, coffee and tobacco.
It sparked the desires of the white workers to join the middle class on the pedestal of slavery, resulting in the French revolution with its cry of liberty, equality and brotherhood—for white people only.
The most brutal of all slave masters, the French were and are known to the peoples of the world as the butchers.
The French are masters of torture so vicious that Africans committed suicide and African women killed their babies rather than face this bitter reality of French civilization known for its freedom of speech.
If an African protested or resisted (in the name of free speech) the French whipped, buried alive, mutilated, burned, chopped off limbs or killed Africans by covering them with swarms of stinging insects.
They plunged Africans into vats of boiling molasses or hogtied them; they rolled Africans down hillsides stuffed into barrels embedded with sharp pegs.
And rape—the colonial sexual violence, a freedom so enjoyed by the French slave masters—was the order of the day.
It was cheaper to work an African to death and get another than to feed her. Accused of eating sugar cane starving Africans were forced by the French to wear tin muzzles in the fields.
Known as the “Pearl of the Antilles”, Haiti was thus the most profitable colony in the world, the basis for French freedoms and prosperity.
I am not Charlie
The Africans of Haiti, brilliantly fought for and won their independence in 1804—defeating Napoleon’s army, the equivalent of the U.S. military today. Liberated Haiti was the first independent state born of anti-colonial revolution.
The Africans took the name Haiti in solidarity with the Indigenous people, whom the Europeans had wiped out with genocidal violence.
Liberated Haiti was the beacon of genuine free speech, the black workers state offering freedom and safe haven to oppressed Africans and others from any place in the world.
Free-speech loving France attacked the Haiti revolution, banding together with the US and extorting Haiti at gunpoint to pay “restitution” to France for its stolen property. The stolen property, of course, was the African people themselves!
Haiti was forced to pay France at least 21 billion dollars in solid gold over the next hundred years.
In the meantime the US repeatedly invaded Haiti, stealing its treasury and turning the once-most prosperous island on earth into the most impoverished place on the planet.
No, I am not Charlie
When free-speech-loving France seized Algeria as its colony in 1830 a French army officer warned:
"All populations who do not accept our conditions must be despoiled. Everything must be seized, devastated, without age or sex distinction: grass must not grow any more where the French army has set foot.
“Who wants the end wants the means….
“I personally warn all good soldiers whom I have the honor to lead that if they happen to bring me a living Arab, they will receive a beating with the flat of the saber….
“This is how, my dear friend, we must make war against Arabs: kill all men over the age of fifteen, take all their women and children, load them onto naval vessels, send them to the Marquesas Islands or elsewhere.
“In one word, annihilate all who will not crawl beneath our feet like dogs."
I am not Charlie
When the people of Algeria fought for their liberation, for free speech and the right to oust the French butchers in the 1950s, the free speech-loving French military tortured hundreds of thousands of Algerians.
The French stripped the Algerians naked, beating them and hanging them by the feet or hands. They burned them with cigarettes, tortured them with water-boarding, electric cattle prods to the genitals and rape.
Between sessions, the tortured Algerians—including children and the elderly–were imprisoned without food in tiny, claustrophobic cells so small the prisoner could not lay down.
No, I am not Charlie
Freedom-loving France is built on the terror it inflicted in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia for a century creating drug colonies, forcing opium on the people with 3,000 French-owned drug dens that brought unprecedented wealth to France.
Freedom-loving France that willingly united with Nazi Germany and permitted the Japanese to occupy Vietnam during the Second Imperialist War, starved a million Vietnamese people to death by forcing Vietnam’s rice crop to go to Japan.
France used their free speech to justify the torture of the undernourished Vietnamese men and women freedom fighters, methods that included plucking out their finger and toe nails, rape and dropping freedom fighters from planes.
I am not Charlie
During the 1990s free speech loving France equipped and trained proxy armies in Rwanda backing and instigating the hideous slaughter of 800,000 Africans there.
It was Freedom-loving France that led the invasion of the popular government of Libya with its highest standard of living in Africa and its bounty of oil, lusted after by the colonial power.
It was France that armed thugs with the mission to destabilize and overturn the government of a country that is still in chaos and oppression today.
It was the French-trained thugs who pronounced as they carried out the unspeakably vicious and degrading murder of Qaddafi, the leader of Libya: “I repeatedly stick this knife into your anus in the name of freedom.”
In the name of free speech they videoed that murder and its still on YouTube today.
Today millions of Africans and Arabs—France’s colonial subjects—have been forced to follow their stolen resources to live in the bleak, impoverished suburbs of Paris housed in high-rise hovels.
Africans and Arabs in these modern French concentration camps have no prospect for a future except for unemployment, poverty and police repression in a society that degrades and derides their culture and civilization.
No I am not Charlie
I denounce this society where in the name of free speech our humor is nothing but an extension of colonial abasement of those whom our government has slaughtered with our complicity for the past 500 years to gain our rights, our dreams and our financial prosperity.
The colonial, garbage can “humor” of Charlie Hebdo is no different than black-faced white minstrels dancing on the bodies of lynched and burned Africans in this country.
This is the sick humor of a parasitic society with a belly full of greed and violence that calls itself the greatest civilization on earth by living off the suffering of so many.
I am not Charlie
Because it’s not just France.
The U.S. now wears the mantel of world imperialist leader, responsible for the misery of billions of people on earth. The same system, same parasite, same methods.
This is America where the stolen land is soaked in the blood of the Indigenous people and the enslaved Africans.
This is the “land of the free and home the brave” created by acts of genocide and slavery that built the banking system, Wall Street and the every-day American dream for white people of all ages and economic strata.
We have accepted the promise of prosperity and democracy available to us if we keep our mouths shut and our brains shut down, ignorance of convenience.
I am not Charlie
This means I cannot sit back, be quiet and watch one more day the suffering of humanity carried out in my name.
This means that I recognize that colonialism which has a universality anywhere on earth flourishes right here, inside these illegitimate borders where African men, women and children are slain daily by police, locked up by the millions in dungeons to feed our economy and freedom of speech.
I am not Charlie
That means I must act. I must be the voice of Black Power inside the belly of the beast that creates and fosters Charlies everywhere.
I believe African, Arab and Indigenous peoples have a right to free themselves from this terror by any means necessary.
I relinquish my place on the pedestal of slavery, genocide and oppression.
I stand in solidarity with the liberation of African and all oppressed peoples everywhere.
I believe that we have to make our choice in this time of the crisis of imperialism.
I am not Charlie.
I am an African Internationalist.
We must fight inside imperialism’s own bowels under the leadership of the African working class socialist Party for the liberation of African people everywhere—ultimately our own liberation as well.
Or we can go down with the imperialist pedestal being dragged to the ground by all those determined to be free.
I believe the African People’s Socialist Party and Chairman Omali Yeshitela are leading the struggle for genuine free speech for all human beings just as the Haitian Revolution, Marcus Garvey, Patrice Lumumba and Malcolm X did before them.
For us as the beneficiaries of the profound terror inflicted on the rest of humanity there is no other future but on the side of the oppressed.
I believe in Reparations and solidarity with the struggle for national liberation to African, Arab and oppressed peoples everywhere!


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