Thursday, November 3, 2011

On another front

Taking time out from the Greek farce (I wonder when the satyrs, so indispensable to a farce, will appear) this blog wishes to call attention to the appalling case of the satirical journal in France that has been fire bombed for the appalling sin of laughing at Islam. Making fun of religion has been the prerogative of every French journalist since the days of Voltaire and is certainly taken seriously by the French literary establishment.

Well, mostly. When Charlie Hebdo transgressed last time by publishing those Danish cartoons (which the British main-stream media would not do)
Jacques Chirac, then the president, called it a “manifest provocation”. “Anything that can wound the convictions of others should be avoided,” he declared.
In my previous existence as co-editor of EUReferendum, I wrote about the subsequent legal case here and here. The legal case failed so the freedom-loving opponents of Charlie Hebdo have decided on another tactic. This time they annoyed even the French political establishment.
François Fillon, the centre-right prime minister, not only denounced the attack, but declared that “freedom of expression is an inalienable value”. Bertrand Delanoë, the Socialist mayor of Paris, deplored the “act of violence against the freedom of expression”.
French Muslim leaders are indulging in the kind of double talk we are sadly used to:
Mohammed Moussaoui, leader of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, an official body, condemned the attack, and stated his “profound attachment” to freedom of expression. But he also “strongly deplored the very caricatural tone” of the newspaper towards Islam.
Charlie Hebdo is satirical about everyone. That is what they do - they publish satire. Some people laugh, some shrug their shoulders, some get angry and some .... fire bomb offices and demand victim status on top of it.


  1. Are there any countries left in this world that wouldn't take any of this nonsense? It would be quite interesting, and entertaining, to see a country not pandering when Muslims throw their toys out of the pram yet again. I suppose if there are such countries, they would be far too sensible to allow mass immigration in the first place.

  2. "As Dionysiac creatures [satyrs] are lovers of wine and women, and they are ready for every physical pleasure." Hm ... no, I can't think of anyone in EU politics who fits the bill....

    But they are also "described as roguish but faint-hearted folk — subversive and dangerous, yet shy and cowardly". That sounds more of a challenge.

  3. Anne, what do you mean about "taking it". How exactly do you not take a fire-bombing? The Muslims in France tend to be from former French colonies. It is a complicated relationship.

  4. After speaking with a friend, I have thought of a country that wouldn't take such nonsense: Japan. Of course, Japan wouldn't allow mass immigration in the first place, but even if they did, any attacks like this and the perpetrators would be in the slammer with no halal food or prayer mats facing Mecca or whatever. I understand that you cannot not "take" a firebombing, but I would say firebombings become much more likely when your country has a history of making excuses for people who do such things. No doubt there are plenty of French liberals who think this magazine brought the attack on itself because it woz raycist.

  5. Japan has had a number of terrorist attacks in the last couple of decades. Mass immigration is not the only problem. You can be as xenophobic as you like and still have terrorist attacks. Tokyo subway?

  6. The Japanese are in my experience NOT xenophobic. And terrorism is very rare (the subway attack was over 15 years ago).