French Episode The Dilemma Of Western Modernity

Md. Shafiqur Rahaman

17 November 2020

Conventionally "modernity" is a European concept and derived from normative European philosophy. Probably modernity is one of the most influential concepts in the human history which profoundly influences the human society and state. However, broadly it can be generalized on the basis of human progress that denies all traditional constructions. Roughly from 17th to 20th century modernity was expanded by colonialism to non-European countries. In a sense western countries recognize colonialism as a product of modernity by which non-European countries became westernized. But the colonial modernity was imposed by force to non-western countries: Asia, Africa and Latin America. Post-modernist scholars Lyotard and Derrida compared western imperialism with bloody imperialism where colonial powers became rich by exploitations to her colonies. Once India was the largest colony of the Great Britain But still the colonial wound is not recovered by the Indians. Depesh Chakraborty writes "colonialism stopped us from being fully modern." Everyone knows about British brutality in colonial India. But the country does not show a "simple sorry" to the Indians. After Second World War, western modernity shifted to neo-colonialism led to dependency and world system theories. Today the third world countries are suffering for neo-colonialism. Harvard Scholar Garikai Chengu clarifies how Africa is fighting against neocolonialism. He identifies in his research, a rough diamond mined in Africa costs about $40 per carat and a diamond cut and polish in Europe increases to $400 per carat. The same stone fetches around $900 per carat when it reaches to the consumer.
In 21st century, the Western modernity has been changed radically since September 11 attacks. It denies all traditional discourses of modernity. Even global politics and culture have been changed unexpectedly. It is a horrified episode not only for the USA but also for the world. The attack was a great phase that changes the world history and creates new ideas about terrorism. The USA accused Al-Qaeda for the tragedy but it is claimed that the world does not know who actually responsible for the terrorist attacked. Millions of civilians have been wounded and displaced in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria and Yemen in the war against terrorism led by the US and her allies. Consequently refugee crisis becomes an alarming issue in global politics. The US government and their allies do not demonstrate any legal basement of these bloody wars.  After a decade of Iraq's war Tony Blair said, "For all of this, I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you can ever believe." Blair explained, it was "the hardest, most momentous, most agonizing decision I took in 10 years as British prime minster." In the meantime, most of the western countries passed anti-terrorism acts in their parliaments.
Today the war against terrorism is not confined only in western countries but swells in the whole world. The new discourse of "war against terrorism" produces Islamophobia that upsurges abhorrence in shaping Muslims as terrorists. But Islam does not recognize any radicalism or any inhuman activities. Terrorism has no place in Islam. Killing is strongly prohibited in Quranic Teaching. The Holy Quran says, "If anyone kills a person it would be as if he killed all mankind" (Al Quran 5:32).
Of late, it is claimed that, a French teacher named Samuel Paty used to present Charlie Hebdo's caricature of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SM) in teaching 'freedom of expression' since 2015 which has flustered Muslim world. In such traumatic situation the authority did not take any decision against Paty or even the controversial magazine. President Macro has defended himself saying he has nothing to do as it a matter of freedom of expression. Paty was killed by a Russian born Chechen Muslim named AbdoullakhAnzorov. Macron defined the incident "a typical Islamist terrorist attack" and claimed "our compatriot was killed for teaching children freedom of speech". However he boldly defended the cartoon and stated, "We will not give up caricatures and drawings, even if the others back away". However, Macron tousles terrorism with Islam. The new method of freedom of expression denies pluralistic character which French people had achieved by French constitution 1791.
Now Islamophobia is a trend in most western countries even it's been outstretched in some Asian and Oceanian countries. The Idea of islamophobia does not recognize pluralistic character: respect to all along with provide equal rights. Subsequently Muslims are persecuting frequently and being charged for their dress code and daily prayers. It is claimed that recent Paris incident is the result of Islamophobia. Most of the cases it is being politicized for the interest groups.  In the last two decades, the world has seen enormous changes in politics in which terrorism has been used as a robust tool in gaining popularity in national elections. To stop such radical modernity rationalist scholars and humanists have to come forward in forming pluralistic society where everyone will live with equal respect and rights.  Otherwise the world would be more dangerous for living.

(Mr. Shafiqur Rahaman is Assistant Professor, HBS, Pabna University of Science and Technology. Email: Email:

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