Charlie Hebdo and the End of History

Posted on January 10, 2015

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Manos_encadenadasIn the wake of the shocking murders in Paris I was requested to write an article and an illustration for the Rio Negro daily. So, I called my beloved Escher to help me with such a task. Here is a translation of the last paragraphs I wrote:

And it’s hard to consider the effects of Islamist religious radicalization (of young French citizens) without doing the same with the ‘clash of civilizations’ announced after the Cold War, when supposedly we had reached the end of history. It was in these early years of the 90’s that sociologist Olivier Mongin noted that behind the ‘flowing of a placid river’ which it thought it had reached, the French society incubated a kind of violence, but no longer to be manifested as confrontation between states, but as an ‘internalized’ and particularistic one, caused by a ‘fear of emptiness’ previously unknown. The fires lit in the Middle East found suitable material into the millions of young immigrants workers from North Africa marginalized in the ‘banlieues’, the non-places of a society indifferent to the inclusion and recognition of differences. What may have begun as moderate cultural claims (such as the use of headscarf by scholar girls) ended up becoming the claim for anachronistic values, assuming a tradition mystified by hatred and contempt.

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