Drop your #JeSuisCharlie sign: the free speech fundamentalists demand it
Writing in the Huffington Post, Mehdi Hasan says he is ‘fed up with Free Speech Fundamentalists”.
You and I didn’t like George W Bush. Remember his puerile declaration after 9/11 that “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists”? Yet now, in the wake of another horrific terrorist attack, you appear to have updated Dubya’s slogan: either you are with free speech… or you are against it. Either vous êtes Charlie Hebdo… or you’re a freedom-hating fanatic.
Well, that’s what the mainstream media are telling us. The march for free speech in Paris soon mutated into a march for unity. (Marching right next to Francois Hollande: Ali Bongo of Gabon, who recently who recently “suspended” 3 newspapers. 1 for SATIRE).
The people who slammed Charlie Hebdo when its offices were firebombed were keen to be seen to declare “Jew suits Charlie”, the phrase being a shorthand for ‘look how good I am’. The West’s war on free speech was not over when racist Islamist goons raided the Charlie Hebdo offices and slaughtered the staff. Free speech remains a fragile right.
If you support campus speech codes, ban debate, participated in a campaign to get a TV or radio show off the air, then as Iowahawk says, “drop your #JeSuisCharlie sign”.
Charlie Hebdo understands the fashionable with their Hebdo-branded sandwich-boards.
Fran Lebowitz go to right:
“If people don’t want to listen to you, what makes you think they want to hear from your sweater?’ When I see someone wearing clothing with words on my first reaction is usually, ‘Ooo, I bet you’re really boring!’”
The magazine’s new cover sticks with Mohammed (as if they could choose another subject) and lampoons the weeping and righteous who use the magazine to advertise their sound morals. Others use the cover to show that they are sensitive to Muslims.
They all love Charlie Hebdo, but none are brave enough to be him.
Hasan goes on:
…In the midst of all the post-Paris grief, hypocrisy and hyperbole abounds. Yes, the attack was an act of unquantifiable evil; an inexcusable and merciless murder of innocents. But was it really a “bid to assassinate” free speech (ITV’s Mark Austin), to “desecrate” our ideas of “free thought” (Stephen Fry)? It was a crime – not an act of war – perpetrated by disaffected young men; radicalised not by drawings of the Prophet in Europe in 2006 or 2011, as it turns out, but by images of US torture in Iraq in 2004.
Radicalised by images of US torture they murdered Jews? We can add “being Jewish” to the list of “provocations” then. And the killers shouted: “The prophet has been avenged.”
Please get a grip. None of us believes in an untrammelled right to free speech.
None of us? Charlie Hebdo does. All of the people carrying “Jew Suis Charlie” signs do. Well, no of course they don’t. That’s just fashion, like wearing a Katherine Hamnett Me-shirt. Carrying a “Je suis Charlie” sign declaring #Illridewithyou or #bringbackourgirls (and pity fashion victim Michelle Obama for that display of indulgence) is vanity; wearing your beliefs as something you can pull on and off as the mood takes.
And irony of ironies:
French comedian Dieudonne has been arrested for allegedly defending terrorism in a Facebook comment referencing last week’s attacks in Paris.
Free speech no buts.. He should not be arrested.
Playing on the slogan “Je suis Charlie”, the comedian wrote: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Coulibaly.” Amedy Coulibaly is accused of murdering a policewoman and then storming a kosher supermarket, shooting dead four shoppers.
We all agree there are always going to be lines that, for the purposes of law and order, cannot be crossed; or for the purposes of taste and decency, should not be crossed. We differ only on where those lines should be drawn.
And yes. How we decide those lines is by testing them and with open debate. So. We are all for free speech.
As ever the mood turns to – yep – the Jews, who really were targetted victims of the slaughter (unless you watch CNN and know that if you want to murder Muslims you find them in the kosher store):
Has your publication, for example, run cartoons mocking the Holocaust? No?
The Holocaust was industrial mass murder. Well, to those who believe it happened; to those who believe the Jews are worthy of it (they never learn); to those who put on the anti-Semitic Holocaust cartoon show:
More than 200 Holocaust cartoons from around the world are on display at a museum in the Iranian capital, Tehran. Organisers of the exhibition say they are testing the West’s commitment to freedom of speech. A competition to choose the drawings was announced in February, in response to caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad published by European newspapers. Israel’s Holocaust authority, Yad Vashem, criticised the exhibition, calling it a “flashing red light”.
The drawings were chosen from nearly 1,200 entries received from various countries including the United States, Indonesia and Turkey. One of the cartoons shows the Statue of Liberty holding a book on the Holocaust in one hand and giving a Nazi salute with the other.
No Jews murdered the cartoonists who mocked the victims of the atrocity that was the Holocaust. The Holocaust it not a religious figure. Unless Hasan says it is. Unless the Holocaust now defines the Jews more than their Covenant with God. If Jews can be portrayed as barbaric murderers and child abusers who never learned the ‘lesson’ of the Holocaust, maybe they can be rendered less. Rather than being the victims of industrial mass murder, they can be sub-humans who, you know, were asking for it.
Holocaust denial is rife in the Middle East. So too is anti-Semitism. There are so many parallels between the imagery used by classic anti-semitism and anti-Zionist propaganda:
Cartoonist Kirshen notes:
After the Holocaust proved the victimhood of the Jewish people, Antisemitism and the Antisemitic memes of the image-codes needed to evolve into a holocaustresistant form which would deny Jewish victimhood. Moral Inversion Codes invert the horrors by depict the victims as the perpetrators. Thus the Jew becomes the Nazi or the terrorist suicide bomber, rather than their victim.
When you’re a Jew you look for codes.
Norway’s Dagbladet showed this:
The same paper came up with this. The demon at the head (and like that fork) and the woman at the feet are both blood-soaked Jews.
The accusation is that Jews are barbaric. But the same goes for Muslims, who also cricumcise boys. One glance at their genitals indicate that they are subhumans, unworthy of mercy. Jews should abandon their ‘barbaric’ customs and adopt a civilised way of life. Deprive Jews of the empathy normally felt for human beings.
A decree by the Seleucid emperor Antiochus IV commanded Jews to leave their sons uncircumcised or face death. This decree against the ‘barbaric’ behaviour of an ‘uneducated’ people, issued by an imperial civilisation, was part of a comprehensive campaign to destroy the Jewish way of life. The revolt against the decree, led by Judah Maccabee, is still considered one of the defining moments of Judaism.
It is difficult to make sense of the strong views held by campaigners and policymakers who seek to criminalise and pathologise the circumcision of Jewish and Muslim boys. Last Tuesday, a resolution passed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe condemned male circumcision as a ‘violation of the physical integrity of children’. Unlike Antiochus IV, these parliamentarians did not use the narrative of a civilisational mission against barbarism to justify their assault on people’s way of life; instead they used the apparently neutral language of health and child protection to legitimise their crusade. The Council’s resolution called on governments to ‘clearly define the medical, sanitary and other conditions to be ensured for practices such as the non-medically justified circumcision of young boys’.
The Council’s attempt to stigmatise circumcision coincides with a growing campaign against circumcision in Scandinavia and Germany. In recent weeks there has been a veritable culture war against this age-old practice. Most of the time, the crusade is conducted in a very politically correct language which avoids any explicitly culturally loaded terminology. In this vein, the German Social Democratic parliamentarian Marle Rupprecht argued that the Council’s resolution, which she supports, ‘does not intend to stigmatise any religious community or its practices’. As far as she is concerned, it’s all about the child – and if the campaign against circumcision inflames anti-Semitism, well, that is a price worth paying for this holy cause, apparently
Having picked out the Jews – always the Jews – as the West’s scared cow (attack them and attck all the West holds dear; the Jewish State a scapegoat for globalization and modernity), Hasan concludes:
Let’s be clear: I agree there is no justification whatsoever for gunning down journalists or cartoonists.
That a pretty low bar: murder is wrong.
I disagree with your seeming view that the right to offend comes with no corresponding responsibility; and I do not believe that a right to offend automatically translates into a duty to offend.
A duty to challenge is what makes us free.
When you say “Je suis Charlie“, is that an endorsement of Charlie Hebdo‘s depiction of the French justice minister, Christiane Taubira, who is black, drawn as a monkey? Of crude caricatures of bulbous-nosed Arabs that must make Edward Said turn in his grave?
Lampooning racism by reproducing brazenly racist imagery is a pretty dubious satirical tactic….
It’s for these reasons that I can’t “be”, don’t want to “be”, Charlie – if anything, we should want to be Ahmed, the Muslim policeman who was killed while protecting the magazine’s right to exist. As the novelist Teju Cole has observed, “It is possible to defend the right to obscene… speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech.”
Ahmed was an innocent victim. Was he shot because he was a Muslim? The Jews were shot dead because of their religion. The Charlie Hebdo staff were shot dead for their beliefs. Hasan makes no mention of that. Instead anti-Semitism – which is murderous and very real – is again used as a weapon to show that those Jews get special treatment:
And why have you been so silent on the glaring double standards? Did you not know that Charlie Hebdo sacked the veteran French cartoonist Maurice Sinet in 2008 for making an allegedly anti-Semitic remark?
Always the Jews.
…Muslims, I guess, are expected to have thicker skins than their Christian and Jewish brethren.
If only the Jews has rhino hides it might have stopped the Islamists’ bullets.
You could see Jews and Muslims and blacks and browns as the Others, who fight for a place in Europe. But easier to compare and copntrast. Easier to show your own side as the bigger victims.
And then – for the third time – Hasan shows how Jews get preferential treament:
Weren’t you sickened to see Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of a country that was responsible for the killing of seven journalists in Gaza in 2014, attend the “unity rally” in Paris? Bibi was joined by Angela Merkel, chancellor of a country where Holocaust denial is punishable by up to five years in prison, and David Cameron, who wants to ban non-violent “extremists” committed to the “overthrow of democracy” from appearing on television.
You could pick any number of World leader whose committment to free speech and freedom credentials would wilt under scrutiny. But he picks the one Jew. You could pick on Turkey, a nation leading the world in journalist imprisonment.
But he picks the Jew. He picks the Holocaust.
Pick. Pick. Pick. Until it bleeds…
But it was all about free speech. And free speech with no buts. Voltaire proclaimed: “I disapprove of what you say but will defend to the death your right to say it.”
So. Say it. We’ll exhange views. No-one will get hurt. It’s good to talk…