PEN Dissenters ‘Presume to Lecture Murder Victims on Not Provoking their Murderers’


Rich Lowry writes: If there is any group of people on the planet who should feel solidarity with the slain editors of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, it is writers.

Appropriately enough, the writers group PEN America is giving its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award to the French publication now synonymous with martyrdom to free speech.

[Read the full text here, at New York Post]

Yet the award has become controversial, attacked by a group of writers who Peter-Carey-anti-Hebdopresume to lecture murder victims on not provoking their murderers.

“If the publication’s equal-opportunity offenders had been assaulted by right-wing extremists for their savage mockery of anti-immigrant politicians, or opponents of gay marriage or Catholicism, surely the dissenting writers would be all for recognizing Charlie Hebdo.”

These dissenters are an unabashed fifth column undermining PEN America’s devotion to free expression so as to carve out a safe space for Islam from the barbed speech inherent to a free society.

[Also see –HALL OF SHAME: Six PEN Members Decline Gala After Award for Charlie Hebdo]

They oppose the killing of the Charlie Hebdo journalists — thanks, guys — but otherwise agree with the jihadis that the publication was out-of-bounds.


“This is a version of Garry Trudeau’s argument that Charlie Hebdo was ‘punching downward’ against the defenseless, when satire should punch up against the powerful. This is a bizarre notion of power. The weapon of choice of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoonists was the pen; the weapon of choice of their assailants was the firearm.”

“A hideous crime was committed,” novelist Peter Carey generously concedes, “but was it a freedom-of-speech issue for PEN America to be self-righteous about?”

This is like saying, to use the example of another PEN awardee, the jailed Azerbaijani journalist Khadija Ismayilova, “Sure, it’s a terrible miscarriage of justice for Ismayilova to be behind bars, but should we really get all huffy about it?”

Obviously, if you are going to have an organization committed to fighting for free speech, you should be “self-righteous,” to use Carey’s phrase, about violations of free speech, especially when journalists are gunned down for things they draw and write…(read more)

New York Post

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