The fire rages on: As I write, two people are dead in a hostage siege at a kosher grocery store in Paris. [UPDATE: In a form of words Europe has not seen in recent decades, police have ordered all Jewish shops to close.]
It will take more than a hashtag to fix this - which is why I was in a bit of a cranky mood for my weekly interview with Hugh Hewitt:
MARK STEYN: These men were exceptionally brave. Most of the people expressing solidarity with them are not that brave. I'm not that brave. But when the Canadian Islamic Congress attempted to criminalize my writing, I fought back, and I pushed back, and I got a law changed in the Canadian Parliament, because that's how important I think freedom of speech is. But I wasn't asked to die for it like these guys were. And to be honest, it makes me vomit to see people holding these Princess Dianafied candlelit vigils, and using the hashtag #JeSuisCharlie - I am Charlie -and in effect appropriating these guys' sacrifice for this bogus solidarity. It makes me sick to see all these 'the pen is mightier than the sword' cartoons that have appeared in newspapers all over the United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Australia, everywhere, from other cartoonists, again expressing solidarity with these very brave men - but not doing what they did...
These guys are dead because back in 2005, these Danish cartoons were published in an obscure Jutland newspaper, and a bunch of fanatics went bananas and started killing people over them. So a couple of publications on the planet, including mine in Canada, and Charlie Hebdo in Paris, published these cartoons... Le Monde didn't, and the Times of London didn't, and the New York Times didn't, and nobody else did. And as a result, these fellows in Charlie Hebdo became the focus of murderous rage. If we'd all just published them on the front page and said "If you want to kill us, you go to hell, you can't just kill a couple of obscure Danes, you're going to have to kill us all", we wouldn't have this problem. But because nobody did that, these Parisian guys are dead. They're dead. And I've been on enough, I've been on enough events in Europe with less famous cartoonists than these who live under death threats, live under armed guard, have had their family restaurant firebombed - it's happened to a Norwegian comedienne I know - have come home and found their home burned, as a Swedish artist I know happened to. And all these people doing the phony hashtag solidarity, screw your phony hashtag solidarity. Let's have some real solidarity - or if not, at least have the good taste to stay the hell out of it.
We moved on to talk about Catholic League honcho Bill Donohue's blame-the-victim strategy and General Sisi's remarkable speech to Islam's scholars, before concluding:
HUGH HEWITT: On this show yesterday, Lindsey Graham said this is a religious war. Now we have a minute left, Mark. I'm glad someone finally said it. It's not a war with Islam, but it's a war with a portion of Islam, both Sunni and Shiia.
MARK STEYN: Yes, and I think it's at war with a culture that basically does not have the spirit of liberty and the spirit of intellectual inquiry. So you can come up with the most devastating, witty, trenchant argument, and the other fellow is just going to reach for the scimitar and slice your head off. And that calls into question, I think it does call into question as to whether Europe, in allowing Islam to nest within Western pluralistic democracies, has actually placed an existential question over its future. That's a real question for France today.
You can find the full interview here.
UPDATE: Laura Rosen Cohen:
The pen clearly is NOT stronger than the sword.
The pens of the world are limp and flaccid and pathetic.