In the wake of islamophobia and xenophobia in France following President Emmanuel Macron’s latest statement, calls to boycott French products are spreading mostly in Islamic countries.
What’s Going on In France?
If you missed what has been going on lately, here’s a little recap. This October, 47-year-old teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in a terror attack after displaying the controversial Charlie Hebdo caricature depicting Prophet Muhammad in a satirical way.
Killing is something, but I’m talking about beheading. Cutting a person’s head. Dead. This teacher was just displaying it for an educational purpose. He even told the peers that if there’s any Muslims in the class, they could get out earlier because it might hurt their feelings.
The terror act woke up a new deradicalization effort in French society. President Emmanuel Macron has recently taken action to tackle extreme Islamism. Even worse, he’s no longer hiding it. President blatantly called Islam the root of the problem.
Macron condemned the attack, and on the other hand, also fiercely defended its citizens’ right to publish such satirical cartoon.
Where’s the Same Energy?
Macron’s racist comment sparks countless controversies. Some even called to boycott French products, which I believe is nothing but a non-sense effort.
Muslims make up 6 million (8% of the French population), and most of them are immigrants fleeing from their war-torn countries. The chance of any of them working at a French brand is so high, whether it’s as a small-time janitor or a high-profile manager. Do you know that boycotting them could affect these folks too?
Do you know that the one making comments, President Emmanuel Macron, is a different person than those who run these brands? Who works at these companies?
We hate to be generalized. We hate to be made into stereotypes that Muslims are murdering thieves. Yet, we generalize ALL French brands, regardless of who works for them, that they’re somehow supporting Macron’s controversial thought.
Take this example: Garnier from L’Oreal. Suppose you boycott Garnier, and let’s say. In that case, you live in Indonesia. You’re doing nothing but affecting thee 9-to-5 low-paying Indonesians who work at their factories here in Indonesia.
These workers have families and kids they must support. You’re out there trying to boycott their products and affect their income because of someone who happens to be the president of the country the company is originated at.
Where’s the same energy when Saudi Arabia led a lethal aerial attack in Yemen’s sky to strengthen its power during the proxy war against Iran? Where was that energy when Saudi backed rebel groups in Syria during the Civil War, killing 4.000 and affecting a million others of Syrians’ lives?
Where’s the same energy when the Chinese government is plotting a cultural genocide against people in Uyghur? We are here in 2020, but genocide is still a thing.
I get it. What Macron defended was a satirical comic against Prophet Muhammad. All I’m saying is, thousands and millions of people have been affected by what the Chinese and the Saudi Arabia government did. Shouldn’t it be enough for you to make a ‘boycott call’ like what you’re doing now?
Where? I have never heard any of you calling for a boycott against Saudi products or Chinese products. Where? Or, maybe you couldn’t live without them? Or, perhaps the idea of Saudi Arabia being the bad guys just sounds too uncomfortable for you?
What happens? Why the cherry-picking?
Prophet Muhammad was heavily discriminated against, and the Sahaba were really on their last straw, especially Umar. Nobody has ever gone through to defend the religion more than him. Did he ever retaliate? Did he ever call to boycott their product? By the time PBUH died, his armor was still pawned by a Jewish, the same group of people who hurt him in Madina.
Mindless and baseless hatred is just as stupid.
My Stance on Freedom of Speech
Disappointment is something usual, but to me, this is just too far.
I am just as shocked and mad as you are, and I feel like the comment is unnecessary. Let’s be real; this gives us a crystal-clear 9/11 vibe where everything Islamic was heavily discriminated against. It grows nothing but racial stress between every element of French society.
Just a week after Paty’s murder, two Hijabi women, aged 19 and 40, were stabbed and called ‘dirty Arabs’ in Paris amidst the tension. That’s just one example of what may unveil later in weeks following Macron’s comment.
Nonetheless, here’s the thing about freedom of speech. It’s a double-edged sword that sometimes does more bad than good, and vice versa. I condemn the attack and Macron’s idea. Still, to me, I would rather live in a country where you can say everything as long as you’re ready to face the consequence than in a country where my mouth is shut for good.