Adieu la Liberté d’Expression: Western Writers Abandon their Support for Free SpeechPosted: May 5, 2015
Sorry, Charlie Hebdo
Je suis Charlie. French for “I am Charlie,” the phrase became a global expression of solidarity and resolve after Islamist gunmen murdered 12 people at the Paris offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
“The terrorists who attacked cartoonists in Paris and in Texas hoped that murder would intimidate them—and others—into silence. As such theirs was not merely an attack on a publication; it was an attack on the foundations of liberal democracy.”
In a terrifying copycat attack Sunday in Garland, Texas, two men with assault rifles attempted to gun down people attending an event satirizing Muhammad with cartoons. A single police officer managed to shoot and kill both gunmen before they got inside the event. With some 200 people in the building, the potential for another politicized mass murder was great.
“Trumpeting the list of petition signers was no less than Glenn Greenwald, last seen lionizing Edward Snowden’s right to go public with information stolen from the National Security Agency’s efforts to track the people who committed the Paris murders and tried to do it again in Texas this week.”
On Monday authorities said one of the gunman, Elton Simpson of Phoenix, had been under surveillance for years because of interest he’d shown in joining jihadist groups overseas. He was found guilty of making false statements to the FBI, but a federal judge ruled there wasn’t enough evidence that Mr. Simpson’s activities were “sufficiently ‘related’ to international terrorism.”
Against this backdrop we have the extraordinary—almost comical—irony of some of America’s bien pensant intellectuals boycotting a ceremony Tuesday by the PEN American Center to confer its annual courage award for freedom of expression on Charlie Hebdo. PEN is an association of writers, and six prominent novelists—Peter Carey,Michael Ondaatje,Francine Prose,Teju Cole,Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi—have been trying to repeal the award for Charlie Hebdo.
Against this backdrop we have the extraordinary—almost comical—irony of some of America’s bien pensant intellectuals boycotting a ceremony Tuesday by the PEN American Center to confer its annual courage award for freedom of expression on Charlie Hebdo.
Ms. Kusher said she was uncomfortable with the “forced secular view” and “cultural intolerance” represented by Charlie Hebdo, whose signature attacks were on organized religion. Before the boycott, Mr. Cole wrote in the New Yorker magazine questioning the praise for Charlie Hebdo in the wake of the massacre. He lamented that the concern for Charlie Hebdo’s murdered cartoonists won’t be matched by concern for the young men of military age “who will have been killed by U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere.”
A separate petition signed by more than 200 PEN members complains that their organization…(read more)
- More than 30 writers sign letter of protest over Hebdo honor (utsandiego.com)
- Salman Rushdie Chastises Authors Protesting Charlie Hebdo Tribute. “it Has Everything To Do With … (popist.com)
- Writer Says Charlie Hebdo Artists Were Kind Of Like Nazis (dailycaller.com)
- Peter Carey among writers to protest PEN honour for Charlie Hebdo (theguardian.com)
- Rushdie chastises authors protesting Hebdo tribute (stltoday.com)
- Rushdie Defends Pen Honouring Charlie Hebdo (peoplestrusttoronto.wordpress.com)
- The Left Will Disown Rushdie Too; the Only Question Is When (commentarymagazine.com)
- 6 PEN members boycott gala in protest of Charlie Hebdo (worldbulletin.net)