Don’t I know you, Cherif and Said Kouachi? Your cropped hair and dead-eye stare seem familiar. And I think I know where you got that blank expression: not in the East, but west of Budapest.
Far from fundamentalist, the brutal story of the Brothers Kouachi is a parable of les temps modernes; from shooting the satirists (violent disaffection with graphic disillusion), to ‘death by cop’ – the only possible outcome of their shoot-out with les flics.
What could be more Left Bank than coming to life by reference to death? Compare theBrothers K to the chapter in Sartre’s Iron in the Soul where his alter ego Mathieu Delarue finds authenticity by firing on German soldiers: it’s a Paris match.
Agreed, the trappings are different. Yet the brothers’ actions were no more Islamic thanThe Mummy is Egyptian; instead of The Koran, more in keeping with Kenneth Anger’s disdain for America’s discredited dreamland. They wanted in on the new spectacle which contemptuously consumes Koran and Kardashians, Raskolnikov and kalashnikovs alike.
Rather than killing an Arab, this time the Arabs did the killing. Not that Islam made them do it – nor the new spectacle; more that the West failed to make them into anything else.