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Free Speech Versus Islamist Fellow Travelers

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Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly, was given the American PEN Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Nice and courageous for PEN to do this. During the attack against Charlie Hebdo in January, 12 victims were killed, including two practicing Muslims (one of these Muslims was the Charlie Hebdo “correcteur“, a supervisory editor; the other was a police officer who had come to the rescue).

The gunmen were killed later, but an accomplice of those two killed (in the back) a (black) police woman, and then a number of patrons in a Jewish supermarket he held hostage (before being killed by police).

The PEN gala came two days after two Jihadist gunmen opened fire at a Texas competition to draw cartoons inspired by Islam. Hard core Islam does not tolerate drawing the creatures of Allah, be they beasts, or men. A fortiori, prophets.

Accepting the award, Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said that the magazine’s shocking and sometimes (gently) offensive content helped combat extremists angry against free speech. “Fear is the most powerful weapon they have,” he said. “Being here tonight we contribute to disarming them.”

Secularism was not the enemy of religion; it simply said that the state had no religion, Biard persevered. “Being shocked is part of the democratic debate. Being shot is not,” he said.

Honoring Charlie Hebdo bitterly divides the literary community of the USA: 200 members of PEN signed a letter claiming: “there is a critical difference between staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.”

This is hogwash. Show me, literary men of little merit,  just ONE cartoon of Charlie Hebdo which is “not acceptable”. Just ONE. Or are you upset about guys kissing guys? And let’s talk about it. Insulting without explicit example to back it up, is just hate speech.

Those literary buffoons of the vicious type, also accused Charlie Hebdo of “cultural intolerance. All this is complicated by PEN’s seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation.“.

A really hilarious charge for anybody familiar with French and USA societies (the French are much more tolerant: homosexuality was legal in France, in the Sixteenth Century already, and Senegalese were French citizens, under Louis XIV; moreover, slavery became illegal in the Frankish empire, at the time when the Qur’an, which mandates slavery, was written for the first time! There was never any legal racism in France, whereas racism is still official in the USA: just look at the census bureau’s methodology! Among other “racially” aware tweaks. Some racist ways which are perfectly legal in the USA, to this day, are punishable in France with prison!)

Notice also that francophobia (obvious in their denunciation of “cultural arrogance of the French.”) is not racist, according to those fellow travelers of the most violent form of Islamism.

Satire is more than 5 centuries old in France. Satire is viewed as central to civilization. Some French regimes fell, just because of satire, even centuries ago, before the USA was constituted. Charlie Hebdo is just one of several French satirical publications. They have no equivalent in the USA, as they are too “shocking” for the USA, where the respect for authority (including tax-free superstitions) is highly ingrained.

Humor is central to intelligence formation.

To become more intelligent, we have to envision more of all the possibilities imaginable (within the boundaries set to free speech by the law). This is all what cartoons are about.

The irony is that Charlie Hebdo is fanatically anti-racist. It was made, to be fanatically anti-racist. Biard and Congolese author Alain Mabanckou told the PEN audience that Charlie Hebdo was and always had been “anti-racist”, a reply to the criticism that the magazine portrayed French racial and religious minorities in a stereotypical way. “Charlie Hebdo has fought all forms of racism since its inception,” Biard said.

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who received the prize with his colleague Briard, told Charlie Rose that Charlie Hebdo is “absolutely not the same” as the Texas contest because the magazine does not specifically target Islam. It is true, that, over the years, Catholicism has been more of a target. Overall, Charlie Hebdo is focused on politics, not religion, so politicians are the first victims of Charlie Hebdo’s harassment.

I am personally of the opinion that the empire of Islam upon vast parts of the world, is the MAIN cause of their poverty and on-going mayhem, just as Christianism was in Europe, in the Middle-Ages. Same problem.

And it has the same solution: just as Christianism was domesticated by civilization, and this is called secularism, Islamism too, has to be domesticated.

Those who claim to refuse to understand secularism is better than Islamism are actually closet racists. What else? They want Muslims to keep on being oppressed, subjugated, victimized, mutilated, humiliated and decerebrated by the ideology of Islamism. And especially the women (whom the Qur’an views legally as a fraction of the worth of men, at best).

Salman Rushdie lived under a fatwa from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini for a decade for writing the supposedly blasphemous Satanic Verses. This means that Salman Rushdie, for mentioning a part of the Qur’an, was condemned to death, by Ayatollah Khomeini, who ordered all and any Muslim in good standing to go, and kill Mr. Rusdie, so that they could be rewarded by Allah.

My opinion is that this was an International Crime, as Khomeini was then the dictator, the head of state, of Iran. A warrant ought to have written for Khomeini’s arrest.

Mr. Rushdie described those who opposed the PEN’s award to Charlie Hebdo as fellow travelers” of the Islamic extremists who murdered the Charlie Hebdo staff, and argued on Facebook: “I fear some old friendships will break on this wheel.”

Let me repeat slowly: those who claim that there is everything good to be living under an Islamist dictatorship are racist. (Living under Islam is supposed to be living under an Islamist dictatorship , according to the Qur’an itself). The Qur’an is one of the most violent books anywhere: see “Violence in the Holy Qur’an”. I don’t have anything against violence, if and only if, it is fully justified, and the only solution. But ordering to kill ill-defined “unbelievers,” as the Qur’an has it pages after pages, is not acceptable. To me. And that’s true for Catholicism, Protestantism, or Islamism.

It’s not acceptable to Islamists themselves, as it drives them lethally crazy: millions of them spend most of their time wanting to kill each other, and acting on it. That may have been OK in the Middle -Ages, but nowadays, with Weapons of Mass Destruction easy to make, this attitude is not compatible with the continuation of civilization. Thus we cannot afford indifference to it.

We are at war, whether we want it, or not. Those who do not understand this are traitors to civilization, just as those who did not understand the danger of Nazism, and that tolerating Nazism was intolerable, were traitors to civilization, in a very similar vein. And this is not just an accidental analogy: Hitler was a loud supporter of Islamism (the Nazi dictator loudly admired Islam’s violence and war-mongering, while despising the softness of Christianism).

Those who love Islamism, just as those who loved Hitlerism, are not just cowards, but ill-informed, and not very smart.

Patrice Ayme

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