Mass Unity Rally Held In Paris Following Recent Terrorist Attacks/Politico Image

Intro by Dida Jallow-Halake

(I think Obama, Biden, Kerry & Holder saw the spin and stayed away)

 I have not been well enough to write for my readers on this, but I attach below four very well written pieces. I agree with them and have absolutely nothing to add – other than the emphasise I have made in bold here and there and …

To add that I am grateful I live in Britain because British Law would not have allowed that despicable magazine to publish those despicable cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. The laws in Britain do not allow newspapers to incite communal hatred and violence. And the laws in Britain allow my daughter to wear her hijab to school – and her white English teachers love and respect her for it.

It is extraordinary that the French are taking the opportunity to shout “Republican Liberte” from the roof-tops, when French history is replete with massacres and state-terrorism against non-white people, Vietnam and Algeria being the glaring recent examples, though one could go back as far as Haiti (the “Black Jacobins”).

My “vous” here in Moroccan North Kensington is a cafe run by a French Moroccan and he thinks France is the worst place in Western Europe for ethnic minorities. I wouldn’t know because though I have lived in UK for 39 years, I have never had the urge to visit France. I have even less of an urge now.

Anyway, below are the four articles for the readers, and my final point is this:-

 

“Je Suis Charlie” has now become, at least in France, the rallying cry, not of ‘Liberty’, ‘Equality’ & ‘Fraternite’, but of Islamophobia, intolerance and hate towards Islam and all Muslims. The reaction to that will be further radicalisation of young alienated Muslims and a further polarisation in society – at least in France where “Republican Principles” and the legal targeting of Muslims had already polarised French society.

 

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Trolls and Martyrdom: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie

 

By Arthur Chu, a bi-coastal Chinese-American nerd who’s currently settled down in Cleveland, Ohio

 

The Daily Beast, 9 Jan 2015

 

When the only thing you’re reverent of is irreverence, you eventually get Chan Culture – people who shout racial slurs and think they’ve accomplished something in the name of ‘free speech.’

 

Shooting people is wrong.

I want to get this out of the way. When twelve people are killed by violence, whoever they are, for whatever reason, that is a tragedy and a waste. To murder someone by violence is the greatest crime imaginable – with the sole and narrow exception of using violence against people who directly and immediately threaten violence themselves.

There is no such thing as speech so hateful or offensive it somehow “justifies” or “legitimizes” the use of violence. The right to free expression – that’s a universal. The fear of violence should not determine what one does or does not say. In an ideal world that simply would not be a consideration because a violent reaction to speech would not be allowed to occur – in the imperfect world we live in, we should strive for the standard of knowing what we say might attract violence but speaking out as though the threat did not exist. That is the essence of the virtue we call “courage,” and the staff of Charlie Hebdo displayed it and should be honored for possessing it.

 

Okay, is that established? I am assuming this is basic common ground for everyone in this conversation, and anyone who disagrees should simply be excluded from it. (And deliberately dragging someone who does disagree into the conversation, as USA Today did, is at best counterproductive and at worst looks like the worst kind of clickbaiting.)

 

Because if we’re all agreed on that: Charlie Hebdo is also a crap publication and people need to stop celebrating it and making martyrs out of its staff.

 

The editors, writers, and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo were human beings with families, friends, and loved ones. Their deaths should be mourned for that reason. But no more so than the Sodexo building maintenance man or the two cops who were also killed in the crossfire.

 

I join with those who call for grief at the deaths of twelve human beings – but I’m not down with mourning the work that Charlie Hebdo was doing or standing up and saying “Je Suis Charlie,” like what they did was a holy mission. If anything the work the two cops and the maintenance guy were doing deserves more respect and probably helped a lot more people.

 

Let’s be real about what Charlie Hebdo is. Calling it “journalism” isn’t quite right. Even the term “satirical newspaper” puts it on the same level as The Onion, which isn’t very fair to The Onion, which strives for at least some degree of cleverness and subtlety, most of the time.

 

Paging through translated cartoons from Charlie Hebdo’s past, the comparisons that kept coming to mind were to Mad magazine or pre-David Wong Cracked, but while the sophomoric level of humor fits – we’re talking single entendres on the level of this crappy joke about the Pope raping choirboys – none of those publications ever descended to quite the same depths as, say, making fun of the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram by portraying them as pregnant welfare queens. But this takes it to another level – the only “joke” with something like the “Boko Haram sex slave welfare” cartoon is the fact that they “went there.” We laugh because we’re shocked and titillated. It’s doing something just to prove you can get away with it.

 

Yes, I know that the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo identify as left-libertarian atheists, and that they’re “equal-opportunity offenders” – the exact same background and mindset as Trey Parker and Matt Stone, as Seth MacFarlane, as your typical 4chan troll. I know that, ironically, the last issue printed before the shooting was mocking a self-serious right-wing racist doomsday prophet and his fear of a Muslim takeover, that they’ve mocked Socialist President Francois Hollande and National Front leader Marine La Pen and everyone in between.

So what? There’s no particular merit to being an “equal-opportunity offender” – indeed, it’s lazy and cheap, a way to avoid being held accountable for anything you say because none of it is part of a moral worldview or to be taken seriously.

The whole reason the concept of responsible satire has been summed up as “punch up, don’t punch down” is to acknowledge that not all your targets of satire start out on an equal footing. Francois Hollande is not on the same level as girls who have been kidnapped into sexual slavery, and having the same “no-holds-barred” attitude toward them both is not the same as treating them fairly.

I mean, Muslims in France right now aren’t doing so great. The scars of the riots nine years ago are still fresh for many people, Muslims make up 60 to 70 percent of the prison population despite being less than 20 percent of the population overall, and France’s law against “religious symbols in public spaces” is specifically enforced to target Muslim women who choose to wear hijab – ironic considering we’re now touting Charlie Hebdo as a symbol of France’s staunch commitment to civil liberties.

 

Muslims in France are clearly worse off overall than, say, Jean Sarkozy (the son of former president Nicholas Sarkozy) and his wife Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, but Charlie Hebdo saw fit to apologize for an anti-Semitic caricature of Ms. Sebaoun-Darty and fire longtime cartoonist Siné over the incident while staunchly standing fast on their right to troll Muslims by showing Prophet Muhammad naked and bending over – which tells you something about the brand of satire they practice and, when push comes to shove, that they’d rather be aiming downward than upward.

 

I am not, in case I didn’t make it perfectly clear up top, saying the staff of Charlie Hebdo “asked for it” or “deserved” to get shot. The public discourse isn’t between people who think they “asked for it” and people who don’t – it’s entirely among people who agree that the violence was unacceptable, but some of whom feel that this obligates them to elevate Charlie Hebdo to heroes and to hold up “Je Suis Charlie” signs, and others who don’t.

 

Charlie Hebdo weren’t asking to be shot. They were asking for a reaction, though, and for half a century now they’ve been surviving pretty much on the notoriety of constantly trying to provoke a reaction. And let’s be real: pushing buttons, by itself, doesn’t make your work more virtuous. Pissing people off is just pissing people off. (Until you “piss off” some crazy people – says Halake).

 

Just like there’s no sense in which The Interview “justified” hacking Sony’s servers or “justified” threats of violence against moviegoers. But the reason The Interview, ultimately, wasn’t a movie worth seeing is the same reason that being able to see it became a big political statement—because there wasn’t much to the movie except trolling.

The publication that was their life’s work was a crappy low-tech dead-tree version of the obnoxious anti-religion memes on /r/atheism.

We have a problem where we feel like everything has to be boiled down into black-and-white “sides” and where the enemy of your enemy must be your friend—where in order to condemn the actions of horrible murderers we have to elevate their victims into sainthood. Hence fervent debate over whether or not Mike Brown stole five dollars’ worth of cigars, as though that has any bearing on whether or not it was okay to shoot him.

Well, it wasn’t okay to shoot Mike Brown even if he was a shoplifter. It wasn’t okay to threaten to shoot viewers of The Interview even if it was a crass, substance-free comedy designed to get PR by shaking a hornet’s nest from a safe perch across the Pacific Ocean.

 

And it definitely was not okay in the slightest to murder the staff of Charlie Hebdo, even if the publication that was their life’s work was a crappy low-tech dead-tree version of the obnoxious anti-religion memes on /r/atheism.

Why, some might be asking, am I being so harsh on their work so soon after they died? Why can’t I wait until the period of mourning has passed before pointing out that the blood of a martyr doesn’t make stupid, puerile, and, yes, racist work any less stupid, puerile and racist?

Well, it would be hypocritical to treat Charlie Hebdo with that degree of reverence when they themselves refused to do so for any of the targets of their satire. They’re only even called Charlie Hebdo as an inside joke after the original publication, Hara-Kiri Hebdo, got shut down for mocking former President Charles de Gaulle immediately after his death.

 

More to the point, the Internet is already busy at work deifying Charlie Hebdo as the new Satanic Verses and Charb as the new Salman Rushdie. People are changing their profile photos to crude, racist caricatures of Middle Easterners in solidarity with the principle of “free speech” and the average person’s Twitter feed is one-half gleefully “irreverent” reposts of offensive cartoons and one-half cloyingly reverent tributes to said cartoons.

And any Middle Eastern or Muslim person who objects, even in the mildest possible terms, gets dogpiled for siding with the terrorists, natch.

Personally, I can’t just let that slide. You see, I’m from the Internet. Things move pretty fast here compared to the “old media” world that Charlie Hebdo occupied, and I’ve already seen what happens when you get a culture that, rather than asking to what end we defend free speech, valorizes free speech for its own sake and thus perversely values speech more the more pointlessly offensive it is – because only then can you prove how devoted you are to freedom by defending it.

When the only thing you’re reverent of is irreverence, when the only thing you hold sacred is the idea that nothing is sacred, well, you eventually get chan culture, you get one long continuous blast of pure offensiveness and taboo-breaking for taboo-breaking’s sake until all taboos are broken and there’s nothing left to say. You get people who shout racial slurs in unbroken succession all day and think they’ve accomplished something in the name of “free speech” by doing so.

Well, that’s their right in a free country. It may be fun and it may get them paid, until oversaturation ruins our sense for irony and destroys the market for it.

I wonder if the shooters knew that by killing the staff of Charlie Hebdo they would be enshrining them as immortal martyrs—and if they knew that by promoting a bunch of troll cartoons into the Western canon this way they’d be turning up the heat of Islamophobia in Europe, driving more and more people into their arms. I wonder if this whole media blitz of unconditional support for Charlie Hebdo and its “message” is exactly what the terrorists wanted, in the first place. Now that’s another a level of irony indeed—all the more so because it’s a level of irony that escaped the cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo.

 

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‘Anti-Semitic’ satire divides liberal Paris

Controversial columnist’s aside about Sarkozy’s son and a Jewish heiress reignites old embers

Jason Burke in Paris ; The London Observer, Sunday 3 August 2008

Maurice Siné Photograph: Robert Francois/AFP

 

Take an elderly anarchist, anti-capitalist, anti-clerical cartoonist and add a suspicion of anti-Semitism and a dash of politics. Into this explosive mix stir several thousand amateur polemicists and a few score professional ones. Now, in a Paris sweltering in the summer heat, light the touchpaper and stand well back.

There is no indication when the blast waves from the Affaire Siné are likely to stop reverberating around France. Already the mayor of Paris, the country’s best-known philosopher and the minister of culture have spoken out against Siné, whose real name is Maurice Sinet, while an internet petition in his support has more than 7,000 signatures and is going strong.

Two of the bastions of left-wing publishing – the newspaper Libération and the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo – are riven by fevered and bad-tempered debate. Every day sees a new avalanche of opinion pieces and web posts and no one expects them to stop soon.

The row kicked off last month when Siné, 79 and ill, filed his weekly satirical column complete with cartoons for Charlie Hebdo as he has done for two decades. Philippe Val, the editor, barely read the veteran contributor’s standard ironic invective and so missed the reference made to aspirant politician Jean Sarkozy, the smooth-talking 21-year-old law student son of the right-wing President.

The young man, Siné wrote without a shred of evidence, was planning to convert to Judaism before marrying Jessica Sebaoun-Darty, the Jewish heiress of a huge electronics chain. ‘He’ll go a long way in life, this lad!’ Siné commented. The piece was published without controversy – until several days later, when a radio presenter referred to it as anti-Semitic. The families of those concerned were said to be ‘sickened’. Val, who took the controversial decision to re-publish a Danish newspaper’s cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed two years ago in the name of freedom of the press, agreed that the piece was offensive and told its author to apologise.

Siné refused, saying he would rather ‘cut his own nuts off’ and was, more or less, fired. Cue outrage, argument, counter argument, argument. Was the original statement anti-Semitic? For Val, there was no doubt. Siné’s statements, he said last week, ‘could be interpreted as making a link between conversion to Judaism and social success’ and that they spread the old stereotype associating Jews and money.

But for his collaborator and founder of Charlie Hebdo, François Cavanna, they were ‘one of Siné’s more extreme jokes, certainly dangerous but rare’. Other colleagues supported the cartoonist’s ‘right to provoke’. Many have signed the petition of support.

At Libération, editor Laurent Joffrin has attacked the anti-Semitism. ‘Everything is there,’ he said. ‘The association of the Jew, money and power in one phrase which stigmatises the arrivisme of an individual.’ But at Libération, as at Charlie Hebdo, other journalists disagreed. According to Luc Le Vaillant, a senior editor at the newspaper, Siné is a victim of the ‘exploitation of anti-Semitism’ in the debate between ‘the two sides of the left’. ‘It is more than unpleasant to be seen as a potential anti-Semite when you attack the excesses of the American Empire, “the best friend of Israel”, when you oppose an [economically] neo-liberal Europe or when you want to do something more than just “regulate” capitalism,’ he said. For the row over Siné is about much more than the cartoonist. It is about history and politics.

Both sides have dredged Siné’s history of provocation to support their arguments. His defenders talk of his campaigns against French colonialism as well as his ‘big gob’. His attackers point to a 1982 radio interview, shortly after a terrorist attack on Jews in central Paris, in which the cartoonist said: ‘Yes, I am anti-Semitic and I am not scared to admit it… I want all Jews to live in fear, unless they are pro-Palestinian. Let them die.‘ Siné later apologised.

‘Behind this split are a range of issues, notably the positions taken by the various protagonists on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,’ said Nonna Mayer of the Centre for Political Thought at Paris’s Sciences Po University. ‘It is complicated and irritating and a lot of stupid, uninformed things have been said. The debate has been tilted.’

Certainly the line-up of those pro and anti Siné pits major figures of the moderate left, such as Paris mayor and potential Socialist Party leader Bertrand Delanoë and philosopher Bernard Henri-Lévy, against those on the extreme left. The latter see themselves as defenders of the right to say what they want without being ‘censored’ or ‘muzzled’ by the shadowy ‘authorities’, ‘powers’ or even ‘networks of influence and capital’ that are set on imposing ‘savage’ ‘Anglo-Saxon’ capitalist liberal economics on France and on the world.

Other examples of the satirist’s humour, cited by Le Monde, include saying that homosexuals smell of the ‘shithouse’ and that ‘pulling the toilet chain is the only choice’. Historical references to French writers who collaborated with the Nazis during the Occupation, the deportation of 70,000 French Jews during the Second World War with the active assistance of the French police and the Dreyfus Affair have also been brought into the row as well as a running discussion in extreme left and extreme right circles about the possibility that Sarkozy senior, the President, is in fact Jewish but hiding it. And it is summer.

‘There’s a tendency to show off, to enjoy the sound of one’s own voice that has fuelled the whole thing too,’ said Mayer at Sciences Po. ‘It would have been better just to ignore these idiocies. They really do not deserve the attention they are getting.’

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The Paris Attack: Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie 

ON 01/09/2015 EUROPE, FRANCE, REVOLUTION NEWS

All around the world people are standing up in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo massacre. While some people are crying for free speech, others – particularly anti racists, victims of sexual abuse, feminists, and religious groups – are more hesitant to lend solidarity to people who have made a business out of mocking their struggles. Charlie Hebdo supporters are in many cases people who would have condemned and looked down their noses at these offensive comics had there been no massacre. Of course there is no justification for wiping out half of the editorial staff of a magazine for its content, but that doesn’t make the victims heroes of free speech.

Hebdo supporters defend the comics ardently, proclaiming Charlie Hebdo to be a radical left publication. It’s common knowledge that Hebdo considered its self to be leftist and against racism. To that I must say that somewhere along the line, they lost their way. There’s nothing leftist or radical about insulting oppressed groups with islamophobic, homophobic, or anti-semitic imagery, no matter what your intentions are.

A blogger in the Middle East criticized the editorial lines of Charlie Hebdo. Yazan Al-Saadi wrote:

“I see nothing heroic about a bunch of elite white writers and artists picking on the identities and beliefs of minorities. Satire is supposed to be an act that punches up to power, and not down to the weak. The argument for “freedom of speech” and freedom of the press should not, and must not, place aside the question and understanding of privileges and differing power dynamics that are at work. By acknowledging and understanding that, perhaps we can all work to refine and develop a notion of freedoms that is truly universal and conscious of its role and duties.”

Many of us are left wondering, is this a fight for “free speech” as much as it is a fight for westerners to be provocative bigots with impunity? Are we supposed to honor the courage that it took for these cartoonists to insult oppressed groups? It’s becoming very hard to tell if people are defending their right to draw these images, or if they are defending the images themselves. For many, it is quite clear that the latter is true. Anti-Islam protesters such as the right wing “Pegida” movement in Germany are exploiting the murders to increase their already alarming number of supporters. There will be at least 13 Pegida marches in Germany in solidarity with Hebdo.

There have already been many far right attacks against Muslims since the massacre. In one instance, a grenade was hurled at a mosque in France. There also was vandalism in Vlaardingen, Netherlands on a mosque with paint. In Berlin Nazis attacked migrants at Kotti, resulting in several injuries. There have been at least fifteen, see the infographic below for more information.

Groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda thrive off recruiting those who are most marginalized by western society. One of the Kouachi brothers involved in the Hebdo massacre who claims involvement with ISIS and to be on a mission from the Yemeni branch of Al-Qaeda said:

“But we are not killers. We are defenders of the prophet. We don’t kill women, we don’t kill anyone. We defend the prophet. If someone offend the prophet then there is no problem, we can kill him. But we don’t kill women. We’re not like you. You’re the ones killing the children of Muslims in Irak, in Syria, in Afghanistan. That’s you. Not us. We have honor codes in Islam.” (True to his word, they let the mother and child at the massacre office live, they let the petrol attendant live, they shook hands with the printshop customer and let it go – and when they were ready to die they let the printshop owner go).

Multiple attacks followed the original massacre. Police have killed the Kouachi brothers who were allegedly responsible for the original massacre, after entering a print shop where they were holding a hostage. Police responded to and entered a kosher grocery store where hostages were being held in a related incident, four hostages died.

Islamists and far right protesters are not the only ones cashing in on this tragedy. Governments in Europe are already gearing up to push draconian anti-immigrant legislation. The Greek Prime minister used Charlie Hebdo in his election campaign. Samaras said:

“SYRIZA (opposition party) doesn’t live in this country. They want to give masses of illegal immigrants greek citizenship, social security and access to our healthcare system […] In Paris there was a massacre today and here some are inviting illegal immigrants and distribute passports.”

France’s own Le Pen is calling for a referendum about reintroducing the death penalty in France as a reaction to the attacks. MI-5 is demanding new powers for increased surveillance following the attack. Dutch fascist Wilders (from the PVV, biggest party in the polls in the Netherlands right now) demands an end of all immigration from muslim countries. “Its Islam that causes all problems, its Muhammed, the Quaran that causes these problems and nothing else.” Wilders also demands the deployment of the army to secure train stations, shopping malls and squares.

Predictably, anti-semitic conspiracy theorists couldn’t help themselves either. Seemingly, there was no intent from the cartoonists to incite violence, but by design, provocative speech is meant to elicit some kind of response from it’s victim. Regardless, the outcome is incitement of violence against Muslims, Jews, and the other targets of their cartoons. One can only conclude that the winners of this situation will be reactionaries from all sides. Governments worldwide will introduce draconian laws, increasing the surveillance state and persecution of Muslims and immigrants. Pegida and movements like it will grow, as will ISIS, and through it all there will be a loud chorus of western voices proclaiming solidarity with a deeply offensive publication.

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Seven Reasons Why People are Saying “Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie”

THE WEEKWED 14 JAN 2015

Last week’s terrorist attack on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris has inspired millions of people to declare “Je suis Charlie”. Some people are now saying “Je ne suis pas Charlie”. Here are their reasons why…

  1. Groupthink makes it difficult to express nuance

Writing in The Guardian, Roxane Gay says she believes in freedom of expression unequivocally, but personally finds some of the work of Charlie Hebdo distasteful. “Murder is not an acceptable consequence for anything,” she says. “Yet it is also an exercise of freedom of expression to express offense at the way satire like Charlie Hebdo’s characterises something you hold dear – like your faith, your personhood, your gender, your sexuality, your race or ethnicity.” Gay warns that demands for solidarity can “quickly turn into demands for groupthink, making it difficult to express nuance”.

  1. Intolerance provoked this violent reaction

Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, says he sympathises with Muslims who felt angry about Charlie Hebdo’s portrayal of Muhammad. Donohue “unequivocally” condemns killing as a response to insult, but claims that “neither should we tolerate the kind of intolerance that provoked this violent reaction”. Charlie Hebdo had a “long and disgusting record of going way beyond the mere lampooning of public figures”, he says. “What unites Muslims in their anger against Charlie Hebdo is the vulgar manner in which Muhammad has been portrayed. What they object to is being intentionally insulted over the course of many years. On this aspect, I am in total agreement with them.”

  1. The hypocrisy of ‘hate speech’

Firstly, says David Brooks in the New York Times, it is “inaccurate” for most of us to claim “Je suis Charlie Hebdo” as “most of us don’t actually engage in the sort of deliberately offensive humour that that newspaper specialises in“. Secondly, Brooks says, the Paris attack highlights the hypocritical approach the US has to its own controversial figures, provocateurs and satirists. A lot of people are quick to “lionise” those who offend Islamist terrorists but are a lot less tolerant toward those who offend their own views at home, he says. Brooks points to the suppression of speech and the snubbing of speakers holding controversial views, and suggests that if Charlie Hebdo was published on any American university campus it would have been immediately accused of hate speech and shut down.

  1. ‘Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant’

In a series of internal emails leaked to the National Review, Al Jazeera English editor Salah-Aldeen Khadr and reporter Mohamed Vall Salem made it clear why they were “not Charlie”. In a staff-wide email, Khadr wrote: “Defending freedom of expression in the face of oppression is one thing; insisting on the right to be obnoxious and offensive just because you can is infantile. Baiting extremists isn’t bravely defiant when your manner of doing so is more significant in offending millions of moderate people as well.” Salem said that, in his view, what Charlie Hebdo did was not free speech but an abuse of free speech. “It’s not about what the drawing said, it was about how they said it,” he said. “I condemn those heinous killings, but I’M NOT CHARLIE.”

  1. I am not brave enough

Robert Shrimsley in the Financial Times says that emotionally and morally he backs the meme, but that he and almost all those declaring their solidarity are not Charlie because they simply lack the courage. Charlie Hebdo’s leaders were “maddeningly, preposterously and – in the light of their barbarous end – recklessly brave”, ready to defy real death threats and firebomb attacks, says Shrimsley. The journalists braving the most dangerous places in the world could claim the courage to be Charlie, he says. “But the rest of us, like me, who sit safely in an office in western Europe – or all those in other professions who would never contemplate taking the kind of risks those French journalists took daily – we are not Charlie. We are just glad that someone had the courage to be.”

  1. Tricky issue cannot be reduced to a slogan

Simon Kelner in The Independent says he feels a sense of unease at the way one of the “most complex and troubling issues” of our world today has been reduced to an “empty expression”, stopping people from really thinking about what is going on. Kelner asks if we would be so supportive of Charlie Hebdo if it was an extreme right-wing publication. “Would we be making little brooches to wear on our dinner jackets at Hollywood awards ceremonies? Of course not. Yet the right to freedom of speech is indivisible, and fascists must have just as much liberty as the rest of us.” It is a “tricky and complicated” situation to which there are no easy answers, he says. “And it certainly can’t be reduced to a hashtag.”

  1. Free speech is not a simple good

The Evening Standard’s Sam Leith claims we are using the deaths in Paris to enjoy “a nice, self-affirming, essentially infantile holiday from difficulty”. Free speech is not in any case a “simple good”, says Leith. “Speech is de jure unfree in all sorts of ways: prohibitions on libel and false advertising; copyright protections; laws against incitement to violence and ‘hate speech’.” It is also abridged de facto, with even self-censorship sometimes amounting to good manners.The law may not stop me calling you a n*****, but that doesn’t mean I take an important stand for liberty by doing so.” And with requests from MI5 for more powers of invasive surveillance, will people be forced to become more guarded in their private communications? “Nous ne sommes pas Charlie,” says Leith, “and insisting won’t make it so”.http://www.theweek WED 14 JAN 2015 .co.uk/world-news/charlie-hebdo/62060/seven-reasons-why-people-are-saying-je-ne-suis-pas-charlie#ixzz3OoclmU2yEnds

 

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