Pope Francis, Salman Rushdie, and Charlie Hebdo

20 Jan

 

 

(Prefatory Note: This post is a much modified piece published a few days ago in AlJazeera English, and republished elsewhere on line. As many have now done it tries to enlarge the context in which the Charlie Hebdo events are understood beyond a highlight film clip in ‘the war on terror.’ The alleged link between the Chouachi brothers and Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) allows the attack on Charlie Hebdo to be experienced as the French 9/11, and with this a return of France to a status of post-colonial geopolitical relevance. Without grasping the relevance of how the dominant treat the dominated within our societies and throughout the world, we are consigning ourselves to many repetitions of the private and public horrors experienced in France on January 7, 2015.)

 

 

There is some common ground, but not much. The killings in Paris last week were horrifying crimes that expose the vulnerability of democratic societies to lethal vigilante violence, whether facilitated from outside or as a spontaneous expression of homegrown psychopathic alienation. Beyond this naked, morbid reality associated with the murder of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, police officers, and the supermarket hostages there is nothing but darkness, and in that darkness some dangerous monsters lurk.

 

We can be again thankful for the moral clarity of Pope Francis who a few days ago in the impromptu setting of a plane taking him from Sri Lanka to Manila shined a light upon the darkness. Unlike those who so ardently wielded the slogan “Je suis Charlie” the pope understood that free speech without limits is an invitation to indulge the worst negative impulses that will then operate as viruses destroying the vital organs of the body politic.

 

What Pope Francis underscored was the impossibility of reconciling dignity with hurtful insults, especially as directed toward the already marginalize and socially vulnerable. He illustrated his view by saying that if one of his companions on the plane, Dr. Alberto Gazparri a Vatican official, hurled obscene insults at his mother Gazparri could expect to receive a punch. The pope called such a physical response normal: “It’s normal. It’s normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.” Perhaps, this is too strong an expression of limits, but it does indirectly raise the Derrida urgent question of how and whether we can ever learn to ‘live together’ in peace, with respect within globalizing social space, while swallowing differences of race, class, religion, ethnicity, gender.

 

Francis went on to say the obvious, that to kill in response to any provocation, however severe, hurtful, and lewd, is not compatible with religion properly understood. If it claims a religious motivation, such behavior is an expression of “deviant forms of religion.” He goes on to say “To kill in the name of God is an aberration.” At the same time, how lines are drawn with respect to acceptable and unacceptable forms of provocation is highly political, changeable, and culturally influenced and even constructed.

 

In one respect France and other governments understand both sides of this argument, but twist it for political purposes. The popular African comedian Dieudonné has been repeatedly charged with criminal offenses because his humoraous routines deeply offend Jews, Zionists, and Israel. He is being currently prosecuted in France for ‘defending terrorism’ It turns out that there are no less than 54 pending cases in the country associated with ‘condoning terrorism’ by way of speech. The Associated Press reports that despite present tensions and the public celebration of free speech the government in Paris has “ordered prosecutors around the country to crack down on hate speech, anti-Semitism, and glorifying terrorism.” But note no message by the French government is sent mentioning ‘hate cartooning’ or addressing the surge of ‘Islamophobia’ in the country in the days following the January 7th attack on the Charlie Hebdo editorial offices. A large number of mosques in France and elsewhere in Europe have been desecrated in the last week. There are numerous reports of harassment of Muslims as they walk the streets of the country, and indeed throughout Europe. It is understandable that the Muslim community as a whole feels on edge given the ambiguity of the ‘je suis Charlie’ fervor that includes a new press run of 5 million, compared to the former figure of 60,000, that features a cover demeaning the prophet Mohamed. The ambiguity arises because there is a merger of solidarity with the victims and their families after such a shocking attack and an endorsement of their depiction of the Muslim religion as depraved and degrading.

 

This kind of double standards toward these two kinds of hate speech performs a variety of insidious functions for the French state. It uses the language of ‘terrorism’ or ‘anti-Semitism’ to demonize its political enemies and ‘freedom of expression’ to insulate its political allies from any adverse consequences. It blends the criminalization of terrorist advocacy and anti-Semitism with public action taken in the face of strong criticisms of Israel, especially if proposes concrete nonviolent action as is the case for the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign. And it makes it even clearer to Muslims that they are fair game for Islamophobes and xenophobes. In effect, a French political community is being upheld that seeks to include Jews as valued and protected members while reinforcing the Muslim understanding that their residences and social standing can be fully understood by reference to the negatively imaged banilieus of the country depicted by the corrupted custodians of public virtue as virtual no-go zones for ordinary Frenchmen, and hazardous neighborhoods even for public officials and the police.

 

In the wake of these events, there is in the West the mainstream media has given a renewed prominence and sympathetic look back at the ordeals that Salman Rushdie endured after the publication of his satirical novel The Satanic Verses in 1988. Rushdie, appearing as a guest on Bill Maher’s talk show and delivering a lecture at the University of Vermont, understandably defended freedom of expression as an absolute right. His words, deeply felt, are worth heeding as the counterpoint to the views expressed by Pope Francis: “And so artists who to that edge and push outwards often find very powerful forces pushing back. They find the forces of silence opposing the forces of speech. The forces of censorship against the forces of utterance..At that boundary is that push-and-pull between more and less. And that push and pull can be very dangerous to the artist. And many artists have suffered terribly for that.” To speak as an ‘artist’ is not a warrant for hate speech that is directed at a group where there needs to be a balance struck between opposed societal values.

The context of Rushdie’s recent remarks was the Charlie Hebdo incident, but his outlook was intended to be sweeping in its generality as applicable to Islam in general. And yet he did not, nor did Bill Maher, pause to take note of those powerful forces in the West that have tried to shut down critics of Israel by shouting ‘anti-Semite’ at the top of their lungs. Some sensitivity to Jews is certainly appropriate as a social value in our post-Holocaust world, but such sensitivity should not be coupled with insensitivity to the victimization of the Palestinian people by the state of Israel. Without some degree of consistency it is difficult to consider clearly how societal balance should be struck in a given situation. The intermingling of East and West has given rise to deep grievances among many Muslims throughout the world, and calls attention to exploitative structures of political, economic, and cultural life within our world that link the domineering to the dominated, giving rise to desperate forms of resistance in response to despicable forms of domination by the powerful and rich.

 

It should not be surprising that the killers in Paris were moved to action by Abu Ghraib pictures portraying the torture and humiliations of Muslims held in American run Iraqi jails. In 2007 Chérif Kouachi said these words in a French court: “I was ready to go and die in battle. I got this idea when I saw injustices shown by television on what was going on over there. I am speaking about the torture that the Americans were inflicting on the Iraqi.” Was it wrong for Kouachi to be appalled? Was it wrong for him to want to act in support of his beliefs? What were his real life options? Of course, it was wrong to do what he did. As W.H. Auden wrote in a famous poem: “Those to whom evil is done do evil in return.” This is essence of blowback, a kind of warning to the rich and powerful to act justly. Yet we find the rich and powerful in denial, and so the vicious cycles of blowback persist in their fury.

 

What makes this confrontation so difficult to resolve is that it engages at least two truths, not the single one that has dominated public space. The essential beginning of ethical credibility is an insistence upon consistency. Either Rushdie and France have to uphold the freedoms of Dieudonné whose humor they find abhorrent as well as safeguard the publication of Charlie Hebd discriminating as between various ethnicities and religions in its midst when it comes to drawing lines between protecting the freedom of expression and punishing hate speech.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court long ago decided that free speech does not entitle someone to yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater. This is what courts are for, to draw these lines in specific cases, balancing opposing truths in the light of practicality and the evolving values of the community. What a judicial body had to say about race or homosexuality a century ago is different than what is says today. And as we in American know too well, the prevailing ideology among the justices is often of greater relevance in determining how such lines are drawn than are the legislative, constitutional enactment, and cultural norms being interpreted. In some respects, then, such determinations are more part of the problem than of the solution.

 

I find myself siding with the abstract sentiments of Pope Francis, but in sympathy with Rushdie’s view of minimizing the role of law and the state. In this respect, if we impose limits by way of government we are entering the domain of censorship. At the same time, we need to protect individuals and groups against malicious forms of defamation and hateful attacks on identities without confusing such protection with efforts to channel public awareness in certain prescribed directions. My own experience suggests that ‘freedom’ of this sort has been used by some pro-Zionist and pro-Israeli organizations to discredit and deter and criticism of Israel, and especially of Israeli state crimes victimizing the Palestinian people. In Rushdie’s case we need to protect his right to publish The Satanic Verses, while condemning the fatwa imposing a death sentence for blasphemy and apostasy, yet respecting the right, and possibly the duty, of non-Western political communities to prohibit distribution of such a book due to its provocative nature in certain civilizational settings.

 

Obviously, there are no cookie cutter answers. The proper limits are a matter of history, ethics, cultural priorities, political leadership, societal circumstances, and most of all, spiritual sensitivity. I feel that the central question is raised by Derrida’s inquiry into how we can learn to live together as well as possible, or at least better. For me living together, given the originality of our historical moment, involves the construction of overlapping communities of destiny—from family to world, with a major focus on national and sub-national political communities without forgetting the wholeness of humanity, our too often suppressed or distorted species identity. Such an undertaking needs to be combined with a greater effort to establish a global political community so that challenges posed by climate change, nuclear weaponry, infectious disease, religious and ethnic intolerance, world poverty, and societal marginalization can be addressed more effectively and humanely.

 

 

33 Responses to “Pope Francis, Salman Rushdie, and Charlie Hebdo”

  1. Gene Schulman January 20, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    The Charlie Hebdo affair opens up a can of worms about free speech, and it is right to discus them on this blog. One important one I would bring up has to do with France’s double standards: Say what you will about Islam, slander it as much as you wish. But don’t touch Judaism, Zionism or Israel. There are laws in France that will punish you for hate speech if you go there. And what did the kosher food store stand-off have to do with free speech? Except to ask who actually killed the four hostages.

    But the attack on Charlie Hebdo is about much more than free speech, which is a diversion from the real purpose. There are many doubts all over the internet and private conversations about whether this was a false flag attack to cover other reasons for bringing France to bay. To dismiss this possibility out of hand is, in my eyes, irresponsible. We must ask Cui Bono? Who profits? Certainly not France, but the US and Israel are close. Just look at the shameless way Netanyahu co-opted the affair and made it into anti-anti-Semitic propaganda to frighten the Jewish population in France to move to Israel.

  2. truthaholics January 20, 2015 at 9:34 am #

    Reblogged this on | truthaholics and commented:
    ‪#‎DoubleStandards‬ ‪#‎Hypocrisy‬ ‪#‎France‬ begins jailing people for satire! http://wp.me/p1xXtb-4do via @truthrazor
    It may sound like an ironic joke, but it isn’t. Less than a week after the massive rallies in defense of “free expression,” following the murders of the Charlie Hebdocartoonists, French authorities have jailed a youth for irony.
    The arrest is part of a harsh crackdown on free speech in the country that has prompted criticism from national and international human rights organizations.
    A 16-year-old high school student was taken into police custody on Thursday and indicted for “defending terrorism,” national broadcaster France 3 reports.
    His alleged crime? He posted on Facebook a cartoon “representing a person holding the magazine Charlie Hebdo, being hit by bullets, and accompanied by an ‘ironic’ comment,” France 3 states.
    The report does not include the drawing – presumably that could put France 3 afoul of the law. So we do not know for sure what the youth is accused of sharing.

  3. Schlüter January 20, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    As usual a very insightful article, impressive! “A Journalist´s bravery shows itself by attacking the powerful and not by attacking marginalized minorities!” said here as well: https://wipokuli.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/after-charlie-hebdo-journalists-and-cartonnists-if-you-want-to-be-brave-here-are-some-cartoons-you-could-spread/
    Andreas Schlüter
    Sociologist
    Berlin, Germany

    • Albert January 20, 2015 at 4:14 pm #

      Thanks Schlüter for that very interesting link you supplied. It shines the light on the political world from a different angle, which gives me a more objective view on this very skewed subject. It bothers me, that so many people can take msm information at face value, while doubting alternate sources of information, that even supply proof or links to it. Having lived under WW2 occupation, it is hard for me not to notice some very disturbing similarities between the worlds of then and now. Then I was a young child, wondering why my parents were so apprehensive about what was in the papers at that time. Now I occupy my dear father`s shoes and understand. The difference is though, that the dangers have increased exponentially along with the technology, that makes that possible. We clearly are dealing here with double standards, because Charlie Hebdo can slander Islam or Christianity, but never has an opinion on Israel, Judaism or Zionism, which makes me wonder, if it is true what I read elsewhere today, that Charlie Hebdo is owned by one of the Rothschilds. I have trouble accepting that, but weirder propositions at times turned out as true. Cartoons can convey a powerful message, as those shown in your link clearly prove.

  4. Kata Fisher January 20, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    This is what I understand: 

    One thing, I do understand, is that French Jews cannot be illegally evacuated into the Holy Land.

    Bosnian Jews were illegally immigrated into the Holy Land — as well, regardless the fact that there was the civil war in Bosnia when Jews were massively immigrated into the Holy Land. Bosnian Jews should have been moved to Holy Land without manipulation of their will, and in fact, should have been allowed for self-determination during Bosnian conflict — this would have undoubtedly included moving to / immigrating to any other country, as well as Israel.

    According to my understanding, Bosnian Jews were illegally evacuated to Israel before they actually had to leave with all other population.

    Is it useless to go about Jewish myths and babbles wen comes to the illegal evacuation of the Jewish population to Holy Land? Illegal evacuation (mass evacuation of a segment of a population) is not as same as allowing Jews to immigrate into the areas of Holy Land. Allowing Jews to immigrate into the areas of Holy Land has to be protected by the Law.
    If Israel or any other country trays to evacuate illegally French Jews they, are going to be in lawlessness/ works of lawlessness and guilty committing international crime against their lay-people, as well as international crimes against local population in Holy Land. Those countries with illegal laws such as Jordan that do not allow Jewish people to live in Holy Land are also committing international crimes.

    Jews have Faith rights.

    They do not have a “Faith-rights” to evacuate illegally anyone.

    Arabs do not have Faith rights to Holy Land. They do have natural rights to live there without any restrictions to their Islam Faith and practices of their Faith.

    About Jews and non-Jews, in Holy Land and outside the Holy Land:

    They do have; however, freedom of religion to Psychological manipulate and violate their lay-people, commit international crimes, and add too much more evil then what is going on now in Holy Land.

    That is to commit lawlessness and crimes. Jewish myths and babbles are endless, and they really have to start balancing out their illegal actions, and straight out their lay-people who are acting as they are in charge of what happens to Holy Land and people of Jewish Faith. So it is with Arabs and their myths and babbles.

    Untill things are cleaned up with Jordan, and Egypt Jews cannot bring / allow for more Jewish people into the area of Holy Land, and they can not build any more of areas that they destroy.

    The more Jordan and Egypt delay giving back Holy Land to neutrality of the Landmark; the more condemnation they will experience along with the Westerns who are responsible for the chaos in Holy Land and crimes against both lay-people in Holy Land: Jews and Arabs.

  5. ray032 January 20, 2015 at 5:31 pm #

    “The intermingling of East and West has given rise to deep grievances among many Muslims throughout the world, and calls attention to exploitative structures of political, economic, and cultural life within our world that link the domineering to the dominated, giving rise to desperate forms of resistance in response to despicable forms of domination by the powerful and rich.”

    While the US, in it’s declining Imperial Power, reserves the right to change any regime it does not want, few see the regime change coming to the US, especially the Christian TV preachers living the lifestyle of the rich and famous. They never talk about the systematic change implied by these words in their Bibles.

    Go to now, you rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.
    Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth eaten.
    Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. You have heaped treasure together for the last days.

    Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, cries: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth.

    You have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; you have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter.
    You have condemned and killed the just; and he does not resist you.

    Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waits for the precious fruit of the earth, and has long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

    You also be patient; establish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draws nigh.
    Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned: behold, the judge stands before the door.

    Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
    Behold, we count them happy which endure. You have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

    But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest you fall into condemnation.
    James 5

    The Beginning of this process is already underway with the identification of the 1% among us.

  6. Jerry "Peacemaker" January 20, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    It is both disappointing and baffling that leaders of the world’s great spiritual traditions have not yet come together to powerfully address this extremely serious matter. The source of the problem is religion-related, involving an obvious misinterpretation of spirituality recognized even by small children who attend Sunday school, so the best action to de-escalate the great amount of insane, sadly global over-reaction to this event is for spiritual leaders to unite, address the issue directly with all the wisdom they can muster, and do what is absolutely necessary now: be true peacemakers.

  7. Kata Fisher January 20, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    A Note:

    I find relevant that Sunday Schools remain empty during the weekdays — when they should have been operational areas of Church-means-business practices @ no more then 10% at personal cost for the members…for years now, many decades and it was not. Racism and separatism / social separation / layers did not even allow for that bit of heaven for the little ones. They way they did so have also became that was reaped.

    Further, I have to note that religious / ritualistic-cultist abuses are troublesome in US, and I would not recommend that Sunday Schools areas are to be considered safe for any child and / or youth services but the Sunday Schools / religious worship and practices that can and should be any at practice and structure. Religious Freedom is a must to be free @ free will.
    So not the Sunday schools for Ecumenical problem in long terms…

    Something alternative, in fact, can be implemented in the form of 10% at personal cost to the society / members by Ecumenical Council / union for the children. Abused population cannot keep up with sexually-immoral made business benchmarks that even religious go by while they are cheating population / their members by such insane practices.

    Ecumenical Council would definitely have spiritual authority to establish such thing and not call it socialism and tax-payers burden’s that are illegitimate… After all one has to remove the sheeple’s from the wolfs at some time in any areas of a culture / society.

  8. Political Atheist January 20, 2015 at 9:17 pm #

    Reblogged this on A Political Atheist Blog..

  9. wingsprd January 20, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

    Free speech has been on the agenda here in Australia, before the Charlie Hebdo affair. . This idelogically driven government set about reversing the sensible limits to free speech and the defamation laws put in place by the previous government and the new Attorney General had the gall to publicly announce that “Everyone has the right to be a bigot”.
    Poor fella my country.

    • Kata Fisher January 21, 2015 at 6:44 am #

      A Note:

      One has right to be a bigot just as one & society has a right to be

      “lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal [savage], not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure”…

      “rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.” (Ding-dong!)

      So that one may have right to this: “Have nothing to do with such people.”

      In essence, you know what they are about and that they only breath evil…as only evil is possible for them..

      That is what Paul was telling to Timothy about the condition of End-time society / Christianity.

      And if you read from Greek you get even better picturing who those evil people are collectivly then and (in present times). And if you read about the way Paul apoints jugments & judges in the Church — you know that such evil people have no power (at his point in time) — so you get to be really smart when you learn & understand Mind of Paul..

      Talk about poor folks that are in essence of dead branches — where nothing flow(s) because actual death took place…

      But in Pauls time those people also meant “Cretans”

      http://biblehub.com/text/2_timothy/3-1.htm

  10. ray032 January 21, 2015 at 5:17 am #

    The Israeli right wing hates Haaretz. Since the Charlie Hebdo massacre, I have read commentators in The Jerusalem Post wishing the same thing would happen to the Haaretz reporters.

    This article Today, is an example of balanced reporting in my view:

    Hook-nosed Jew vs. Mohammed cartoons: What’s the difference?
    Genuine freedom of speech includes the right to publish offensive cartoons as well as the right to protest them.
    By Shoshana Kordova | Jan. 21, 2015 | 11:50 AM | 1

    You won’t be surprised, in these post-Charlie Hebdo days, to hear that there’s a controversial cartoon going around the Internet. I’m not talking about a French cartoon, but a drawing from 2012 by Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff illustrating his belief that insults to Jews are derided by the West as anti-Semitism while insults to Muslims are hailed as free speech.

    It may feel uncomfortable to ask out loud whether we are upholding a double standard if we protest the publication of cartoons of hook-nosed Jews while supporting the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. That, after all, is a question that could get people labeled “anti-Semites” or “defenders of terrorism.” But it is a legitimate question well worth addressing – even if we don’t all agree on the answer.

    Some would have us believe that protesting cartoons perceived as anti-Semitic is a form of censorship, a way of inhibiting freedom of speech. But genuine freedom of speech is most meaningful when proponents of both sides of any given issue can enjoy it: Those who seek to publish stereotypical images of world-dominating Jews, and those who protest them; those who seek to publish cartoons depicting Islamic fundamentalists as “idiots” who fail to comprehend the true Islam, and those who protest them.

    The cover of an issue of Charlie Hebdo magazine reads, ‘Mohammed overwhelmed by the fundamentalists’ and ‘It’s tough being loved by idiots.’

    It ought to go without saying that such protests lose all legitimacy when they involve deadly weapons, or any form of violence. But if the violence has already taken place, there is no dissonance between objecting to an act of terror targeting cartoonists and objecting to a cartoon you find offensive. That’s not a double standard; it is the very embodiment of free speech.

    In the West, not only Muslims, but Jews and Israelis, too, are occasionally the targets of a cartoonist’s pen. A 2003 cartoon by Dave Brown that ran in Britain’s The Independent showed then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon devouring a Palestinian baby. The Israeli Embassy called the cartoon an anti-Semitic allusion to the blood libel that Jews eat Christian children. But the U.K. Press Complaints Commission approved the cartoon, accepting the argument that it was a satirical take on a Goya painting and targeted Sharon as a politician (not a Jew). It later won Britain’s 2003 Political Cartoon of the Year award.

    More recently, Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald published a cartoon in July by Glen Le Lievre that showed a kippa-wearing man sitting on a chair emblazoned with a Star of David, remote control in hand, as he looked out over an exploding Gaza Strip during the summer’s 50-day war. At the time, the media were reporting that some residents of southern Israel were sitting outside to watch the air force drop bombs over Gaza. The Herald apologized after Jewish groups threatened a lawsuit, arguing that the cartoon was anti-Semitic.

    Were either, or both, of these cartoons actually anti-Semitic? Even if there were an objective barometer that could determine such a thing, the answer would be irrelevant. What is relevant is the process that took place: Two publications decided to publish cartoons that were likely to cause offense; people did get offended, and lodged protests; one of the newspapers defended its decision and the other apologized.

    And that brings us to the other side of the free press coin: the right of media outlets to choose what to publish. Just as protests against certain kinds of cartoons have come under fire lately as undermining free speech, so have the decisions by some leading media outlets not to publish the more controversial Charlie Hebdo covers, such as those picturing Mohammed.

    There is a strong argument to be made in favor of publishing the cartoons, primarily that their newsworthiness outweighs any offense they might cause. But freedom of the press means, in part, that the press should have the freedom to decide what it will – and will not – publish. For many publications around the world, that meant running the cartoons, in some cases on the front page; for New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, it meant refusing to print something he characterizes as “gratuitous insult.” Just as Charlie Hebdo exercised its right to publish what it deemed fit to print, so did the Times exercise its right to refrain from publishing what it deemed unfit.

    The problem is that France, which has some of the toughest hate speech laws in the European Union and has made it illegal to deny the Holocaust, doesn’t actually offer its citizens full free speech rights. Outlawing hate speech may sound like a good idea, but when one kind of comment gets people lionized and another kind gets them jailed, all the arguments about the beauty of democracy and freedom of speech are shown to be nothing but worthless words. The excessive yet inconsistent restrictions France imposes on freedom of speech and religion make it clear that it is not the bastion of democracy it claims to be, and this patchwork liberty reinforces what in France are indeed well-founded suspicions of a double standard.

    All of us, French lawmakers included, would do well to recall the words of U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, in a 1949 majority ruling overturning the conviction of a man whose pro-Hitler hate speech sparked a protest. “The right to speak freely and to promote diversity of ideas and programs is therefore one of the chief distinctions that sets us apart from totalitarian regimes,” Douglas wrote in Terminiello v. Chicago. “Accordingly, a function of free speech under our system of government is to invite dispute.”

    Is everyone always going to agree on where to draw the lines, whether literal or figurative? That would be highly improbable, and the precise location of the border between satire and insult will likely serve as a rich vein of argument for decades to come. Let’s not shut down those arguments, whether by limiting freedom of speech or by dismissing questions about what embodies it and what undermines it. Instead, let’s follow Douglas’ suggestion and invite dispute, as long as it’s the sort that involves words and images rather than guns and bombs.

  11. rehmat1 January 22, 2015 at 7:41 am #

    The 17 people killed Charlie Hebdo and the Kosher market cannot be termed France 9/11 – except claiming it were also “in-house terrorism” with the help of Israeli Mossad. France, not long ago, murdered over one million Algerian Muslim men, women and children to keep the country as one of its African colonies.

    How many “terrorism experts” know that the attack on Charlie Hebdo, the anti-Muslim magazine owned by a Rothschild, had nothing to do with the publication of insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad – but was an Israeli warning to other European nations not follow France in recognizing Palestinian state.

    The attack had also nothing to do with the so-called “freedom of speech”, as the 40 world leaders who lead the Paris mass parade – don’t practice “freedom of speech” in their own countries. Furthermore, Charlie Hebdo continues to publish the anti-Islam cartoons under western “freedom of press” which is not allowed in case someone like to criticize Israel, Zionism or challenge the Zionist-narrative of Holocaust.

    Just two days after the mass-rally, French police arrested 54 people including top French comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala for criticizing the rally. Dieudonne was declared an anti-Semite for inventing a hand gesture known as Quenelle in 2005. He created it to challenge French corrupt Establishment. But since the Establishment is controlled by pro-Israel Zionist, both Jews and Christians, the Organized Jewry labeled it a Nazi salute.

    http://rehmat1.com/2015/01/09/mossad-visits-charlie-hebdo-office-in-paris/

    • Kata Fisher January 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm #

      http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-01-22/netanyahu-mossad-split-divides-u-s-congress-on-iran-sanctions

      I came across this article.

      It has to be worked toward removal of nuclear weaponry in the Middle East. They should be in pursuit of “Solar-kiss” energy.

      Nuclear essence is not best to be avoided, including, for the purposes of energy harnessing.

      It is not safe to have any type of nuclear essence loose for any country due to Satanic Seals and blasphemy of God’s Spirt within population/tribes.

      Humanity can only expect mis are happening and accidents of “accidence” (such as Cold War) with those things.

      Mossad, as well as US and all other who think that are some power with those things is in short-sight.

      They are incapable of real decisions: get rid of devilish things.

      Iran should ask for implementation of the removal of Nuclear things in Middle East. They are saying that is of grave harm to Muslim Believers to go about such evil things such as Nuclear weaponry. Iran Leadership has already stated their position on that — they want all to be gone, I believe.

      Saudi’s need to start their repentance and take on the responsibility for evil things and heretical implementations of those things.

      US makes no decisions for Muslims without Saudi? Alternatively, US must break off with Saudi and England?

      In reality — all need to be on same information and understanding: Nuclear security in the world is at very low: “dangerous.” They can start implementing “Bush Psychological scare” on terrorism to it — but this one is actual scare and is not fake because it is very real.

      Church-Charismatic makes no false things or claims up, and we have and do not have problem with it — no interest in any of world problems or resolvment of them.

      However, Church Charismatic hopes for best.

  12. Kata Fisher January 22, 2015 at 10:37 am #

    Watch this:

    Nazi and Hitler were thinking that they had figured out for Jews and other civil and ethnic minorities. Then After WWII all who were involved had thought that they have figured out for each other.

    Then Wasterns along with US tought they figured out for the Muslims and Jews in Middle East.

    What is going on now world-wide is all “Satanic religion” inflamed — just as it was prior WWI & WWII and WWII “regional”. However, now, all things are local / regional as well as world-wide — you have many tribes/religion in the world that are not grafted in, but even more are in irrevocable sins.

    It will start look just as Balkan’s Srebrenica toward Muslims in Europe (exactly the same that was done to Jews in WWII camps) was done to Balkan’s Srebrenica.

    In addition, then entire Europe will look like Balkans after former Yugoslavia fall apart.

    It is important to bind satanic religion and tribal hate, and point out what exactly it is. It is irrevocalbe sins: Blasphemy of God’s Spirit and satanic seals. They will hoard on religious hate agains preople of Faith.

    It is no doubt that Europe, US, and any oter contry will be given over to Satan — just as Balkan was if they do not stop doing things that they are.

    There is enough Blasphemy of God’s Spirit, and satanic seals in the people tribes that turn upside down nations, as well as face of the earth.

    It is important to abound religious-hate inflammation, and any claims to territories that lay-people think that they can claim for themselves.

    Label evil by its name: “religious freedom of hate” & bring it to the light — all that evil: their irrevocable evil and sins.

    Religion of hate and freedom of it is never in any legit law or any legit obedience.

    It is not what Freedom of Faith is.

    Meaning, Frace should not have had implemented ban on women’s Islamic head and face coverings in their land. That is as same as asking for nun’s to remove the clotings of thir Catholic order. Or even as same as forcing priest in US to brake their vow of confesional silence — that what wicked in Luisiana are trying to implement against prist in Church-Chatolic. Vow of confesional silence is Sacramental Church Order.

    I would even weigh carfuly what Francis is saying and advising — I do not like to see people like those who teach “Wealth and health Gospel” come and lay hands on the Pope Francis.

  13. Kata Fisher January 22, 2015 at 11:00 am #

    Europe’s and Worldwide religious hate and freedom of it in “errors” of Balkan.

    Territorial claims based on evils of religion and /or society is the greatest evil in this point in time that has to be avoided. While evil people/tribes have to be allowed to exist — they also have to be grafted in at some future point in time because segregation of peoples and tribes will not be without consequence for Europe.

    Islam Faith Leaders of good Faith and convince have to protect their lay-people while they have to cut sharply satanic religion/ heresy within Islam.

    Europe needs to understand that what took place in Balkans: Heresy of civil-religion of hate and freedom of it.

    So be watchful, do not be deceived by things taking place — but keep tap on things, as they can violently rage into a fiery hell of Balkans if not taped-out.

    Was Balkan and people of Balkan manipulated by any false flags? I do not believe that they were…

    So were they?

  14. Kata Fisher January 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm #

    I looked at this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem

    • rehmat1 January 22, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

      Sorry dude – I guess you never knew that Wikipedia is an Israeli Hasbara organ – created by a Israel Occupation Force (IOF) officer!!

      110 members of NAM called on United Nations to force the Zionist entity to sign NPT and open its five military nuclear facilities for IAEA inspections which Israel refused calling it an old-fashion antisemitism.

      Iran has already held two international conferences for on a “nuclear free Middle East”.

      http://rehmat1.com/2011/11/03/nuclear-arms-race-and-nuke-free-muslim-east/

      • Kata Fisher January 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

        Dude — Wikipedia is in the form a general knowledge reference. Since it is not reliable source /and or valid for intepretation one is free to look for their own reliable source as well as interpretation…

        Further, It seems to me that Mossad/Israel do not have information that “Iran has already held two international conferences for on a ‘ nuclear free Middle East’ ” and they should break a leg to figure what about all that is? After all, nuclear program of Iran would be on that conferences agenda list but IAEA inspections which Israel refused would not be?

        Now, now…let’s get real with all that fun stuff to attend to closest neighbors and best friends?

        Is it possible that they are in needs of their info’s update?

        Would they need few countries as mediators?

        Besides, if they have figured out by now their Landmarks they have no clue what “old-fashion antisemitism” is: (self-hate?) in the Middle East all together?

        I never have heard the term “Israel Occupation Force (IOF)” what is that?

  15. Kata Fisher January 23, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    I have been thinking on this:

    What U.N. mediators Thorvald Stoltenberg and David Owen proposed for Bosnia was accepted and then rejected because US/ Clinton made some better offer? A satanic offer?

    According to former Chief police officer of Srebrenica, Alia Isanbegovich has stated to them at Srebrenica City Council that: 

    “Clinton has made a proposal, if the Chetniks [radicals] enter Srebrenica and slaughter 5000 Muslims, there will be military intervention by Nato forces on Serb positions throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

    Allowing for slaughter of 5000 Muslims of Srebrenica was a satanic contract and agreement, then between US and now dead Bosnian President?

    OK, let’s look what took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina: UN Peace Agreement was rejected for a Satanic offer to be accepted?

    Satanic deal looked better?

    Let’s learn from why a Muslim leader or any President could have made such awful decision, right? 

    I do remember this: There was a time that I had mind flashes of Hillery Clinton and she talking — then I started to see something as thickened and as blood coming out of her mouth as she was speaking…and in fact, it started look something like liver coming out of her mouth. It was a grouse reflection ans mind-flash. I can add from Church-Charismatic perspective why that woman is such awful spiritual condition – but I will just avoid it.

    A note:

    What then with Holy Land and people in the Land?

    Don’t part territory, nor the people: demand Landmarks of Holy Land upon them and nothing else. They get landmarks — only that what is Lawful by legit Laws and nothing else.

    This is a very active request and advise — so let anything else be as “snare” upon them in the Middle East. 

    My estimate is this: Let the wicked repent of Generational Sins and works with Pamperbel-Jezebel, the Church wicked in Satan and offspring after that. If they do not repent of Satanic Agreements and contracts — let them remain in bondage with Satanism.

    If they like it like it — if they do not they can take a “highway” with all they do and have, as that is the best thing they can collectively get for themselves. Otherwise, they will have to abide by some Laws (natural and spiritual Laws-legit that will come from many members of UN).

    Meaning, let some help come to them or let them be given over to Satan, and also given over to Satanic seals and blesphemy of God’s Spirit that is and is to come upon them and their seeds seed.

    If US was offering satanic agreement and contract to Bosnian President, it is no secret that they made offers just as good to Abbas — and just as that on behave of Israel or AIPAC? It is written “Illicit/ illegitimate” all over Abbas and his works toward Arab people.

    Are Satanist sacrificing Jewish people, as well?

    Who is behind these satanic offers: AIPAC / US / Israel? Satanist, in fact, right?

    Were Saudi and illegitimate British involved with those under table issues and business with US and Bosnian’s Muslims?

    However, Satanist comes in many shapes and forms, so is it AIPAC which has crafted all that in Israel/ Palestine? Is AIPAC in any form Satanic gettering or org? 

    If so — we say : “All right, all right — you satanists, in satanic seals and blasphemy of God’s Spirt? what are you up to in all hell and do you see way out of it, at all?” 

    Talk to the Pope, right? But threes a problem, as well. There were some “false prophets” in Rome who have come had some lunching & visiting with the Pope, and they have laid hands on him. Now, who shall be concerned?

  16. Kata Fisher January 23, 2015 at 10:54 am #

    Further: 

    Watch Pope, and what he does and say, as well. I am telling you — when false prophets come and lay hands on Church-Leaders such as Pope — that, in Fact, means HUGE ISSUE for the Pope and the Church.
    Meaning, we Church Catholic-Charismatic do and do not care about that. Two things can take place: Church will be given over to Satan — or the works that are Satanic will be condemned by the Church-Catholic. This will be a fun thing to watch on, in fact.
    Let’s Look and see what Pope is up to?

    The Sky is falling call upon the Knights!

  17. Walker Percy January 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    Richard,
    The double standard that defends, even valorizes one kind of insensitive speech (I Am Charlie) but prohibits another (Dieudonne) is maddening and corrosive. I agree with you that this favoritism inspires violent fantasies and causes terrorism like we saw in France. Our mutual decision to tolerate this inequity invites profound karmic blowback. Neither side will change, and the implications for the near future are dire.

    This is Ground Hog Day. Humanity is stuck in a historical loop that always follows a pattern. It always centers around Jews, and it always ends in catastrophe and our species just barely, somehow, pulling through. I am sure we will this time, too. But the reason we can’t wake up is because the historical slate gets wiped clean after each cycle, through all manner of secret manipulations and collective, induced amnesia. But next time it will be harder to revise history, with such a detailed, public record being compiled and stored by our marvelous technology. Maybe we can expect a future without this never-ending dreadful psychodrama of murder, suicide and blood vendetta.
    Walker

    • Richard Falk January 27, 2015 at 11:29 am #

      Dear Kata: I know you have many genuine preoccupations with transcendental issues, but try a bit
      harder to keep your comments relevant to the debates relevant to the blog. With respect, Richard

      • Kata Fisher January 27, 2015 at 12:13 pm #

        Dear Professor Falk:

        I do agree with you.

        According to the argument in article, it seems that it is tradition, and not a commandment of Faith that depicting of Muhamed is not allowed and / or is considered “blasphemous.”

        What I did find interesting according to Spiegle article is that there were historical depiction of Prophet Muhammed (at least perception of Prophet Muhamed that was depicted).

        Further, the Writing of Holy Quran do not forbid such things: painting and depicting of Muhamed, according to the Spiegel.

        I never have considered historical paintings as cartoons — but now, I see those just as cartoons of that time. Just preciving the mind of that time-pass — what were artist realy saying in their time in their depictions —  I do wonder, now.

        I came across these things a while ago, and I am thinking that someone may like to read them:

        http://genius.com/artists/Edgar-allan-poe

        My favorite one happen to be “The Raven”🙂

  18. farid January 28, 2015 at 9:14 pm #

    {The context of Rushdie’s recent remarks was the Charlie Hebdo incident, but his outlook was intended to be sweeping in its generality as applicable to Islam in general.}

    Mr. Falk:
    You either don’t understand, where I think this is not the case, or your are trying to paint yourself as a ‘progressive’ to fool people. Don’t you know that, at this age and experience, that Rushti is a CIA/MI6/mossad agent and is a propagandist for the crimes of the West and Israel? If the answer is NO, then no one should trust you. You either playing it domb or this is according to your own worldview. Look at the following link to

    http://www.volokh.com/posts/1141186381.shtml

    know that Rushdi is working and spreading propaganda with zionists such as Hersi Ali, Shafigh, Nemazi, Bernard Henri Levy and others. This is only one example. He is a propagandist agaist Islam for the West like Azar Nafis or Payam Akhavan. Are you telling me that you don’t know. Then I say please step down, because your work actually mislead people in the benefit of zionism and imperialism.
    When you sit by a CIA agent and propagandist for the crimes of the west, such as Payam Akhavan, and Nader Hashemi, repeat their views against Iran and Syria, then I say to others don’t trust this person. You have benefited from imperialism and continue to benefit. Please stop acting. Have you ever seen one word, or one line by Payam Akhavan or Nader Hashemi exposing and condemning crimes against humanity of US, Canada, Britain or Israel. They actually supports their crimes. Are you telling you are that ignorant not knowing these facts?
    These are the words of Payam Akhavan a servant of US imperalism and zionism in praise of a war criminal who worked hard to bring MEK, a terrorist organization out of the US terrorism list. Cotler, a zionst criminal, is supporting every crimes against humanity of Israel.
    {I have known Professor Cotler for almost 20 years as a fellow academic, human rights advocate and a renowned voice of conscience for victims of injustice everywhere.}

    http://www.jta.org/2013/06/19/default/defending-irwin-cotler

    Someone critized the zionist pro Israel, Cotler, and had to appologize and step down. The zionist clawn, Akhavan supporting Cotler, the zionist pro Mujahedin, a terrorist Organization, against this person. Iran document center, where Akhavan “funded” actually is a CIA ‘document” center funded financially by US government, the CIA. Akhavan is a CIA agent and in the business of PROPAGANDA like Rushdi and Cotler.

    Has the CIA pawn, payam akhavan who calls himself a Canadian, but in the media pose as Iranian, uttered a word against US, Canada and Israelis crimes against humanity. The answer is NO. Stop fooling others.

    • Kata Fisher January 29, 2015 at 10:46 am #

      A note:

      When comes to any type of diplomacy — there is no need to “fool one” or try to make one “step down.”

      One only steps in when one has to.

      What I understand is this:

      Rafik: take on role and responsibility of leadership. Meaning, either correct something — or do it yourself / entrust others as yourself.

      You know the rule and Law of God: legit rule of Law/legit Laws; legit obedience, but also legit disobedience.

      This is what needs to happen:

      David Singer
      wrote on December 7, 2014 at 3:01 am #

      “Redrawing the boundaries of Israel, Jordan and Egypt in direct negotiations will result in no one – Jew or Arab – having to leave his current home or business.”

      In addition to that — you can talk to David, as well and get issues rolling about the condition in Holy Land / Landmarks of Israel and Middle East, as well.

      David said:

      “I do not know why you think Professor Falk and I would have to meet in Israel or anywhere else to strategize how it would best be possible to get Israel, Jordan and Egypt to engage in direct negotiations on the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza.

      We can do that privately by email.

      My address is dsinger2000@gmail.com.

      I am ready to respond to Professor Falk or initiate the correspondence if he posts his email address.”

      https://richardfalk.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/two-interviews-on-palestine/#comments

      • Kata Fisher January 29, 2015 at 10:49 am #

        Farid:

        I am sorry — I just realized that I did not write out your name right. I always do things of small error as that – my brain freezes on me, and I miswrite.

  19. Beau Oolayforos February 11, 2015 at 4:46 am #

    For Americans, and anyone else concerned about free speech, France is a worsening cautionary tale. Before the latest convulsions, it was already illegal in France (pretty sure I heard rightly) to deny the Jewish Holocaust – an excellent wedge issue, because who would doubt such well-documented, recent historical events? Such specious prohibitions then allow the funding, establishment, and initial exercise of the mechanisms of repression, which then await stricter, ever-narrowing definitions of allowable discourse. The machinery of prosecution is already in place, chomping at the bit. It is a course to be avoided, like most slippery slopes.

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