I mentioned a few days ago the announcement by Charlie Hebdo that they are no longer in the business of Mohammed cartoons:
So another non-senseless act has paid off bigtime for the Islamic enforcers. I regret the decision, although I understand it.
Which I do. Almost everyone who mattered at Charlie Hebdo is dead. What did they die for? A hashtag and a candlelight vigil? None of those who seized eagerly on #JeSuisCharlie as the cause du jour, from Angela Merkel and FranĂ§ois Hollande to George Clooney and Helen Mirren to thousands in the streets of Paris and millions across the Internet, were willing to do the one thing that would have mattered, and show the reason why they died. Which is why such sterling champions of free speech as PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas and Sultan Erdogan's vizier Ahmet Davutoglu were happy to march in the big post-slaughter parade. Do you think they'd have been there if any of the dead's multitudes of new "friends" were waving Charlie magazine covers?
So the cowardly and evasive "support" the world showed after January's bloodbath was a very clear lesson to the survivors in the limits of global solidarity - and how it will go next time: We'll be sad when you die, too! (Although probably not quite as sad and not in as many numbers, because, like, been there, done that.) As Laurent "Riss" Sourisseau, Charlie Hebdo's new editor, put it:
It's a little strange to be expected to exercise a freedom of expression that no one else dares to.
On Saturday, after I mentioned M Sourriseau's decision, I received a fair few responses about "gutless hypocrites" and "French cowards". A number of them came from persons using a pseudonym, which perhaps renders demands for courage from others somewhat less persuasive. Here's where Riss was that January morning:
"The man got one-and-a-half meters from me and shot into space. Everything was very quiet. Only the shots were heard. Not a single cry. Then he was aiming at me. He shattered my right shoulder." Sourisseau played dead until the assassins, the brothers Kouachi, had left. "When it was over, not a sound could be heard. Not a cry. Not a whimper. As I understood, most were dead."
When you did what they did, then you have the right to curse them for not continuing to go on doing it.
One man who does have that right is my old publisher at The Western Standard, Ezra Levant. Ten years ago, Charlie Hebdo and The Western Standard were just about the only two publications in the civilized world to reprint the original Danish Mohammed cartoons. Ezra is correct to call Charlie's decision a victory for blood-soaked Islamic thuggery:
As I said to Megyn Kelly on the night of the murders:
They were very brave. This was the only publication that was willing to publish the Muhammad â the Danish Muhammad cartoons in 2006 because they decided to stand by those Danish cartoonists. I'm proud to have written for the only Canadian magazine to publish those Muhammad cartoons. And it's because The New York Times didn't and because Le Monde in Paris didn't, and the London Times didn't and all the other great newspapers of the world didn't - only Charlie Hebdo and my magazine in Canada and a few others did. But they were forced to bear a burden that should have been more widely dispersed...
We will be retreating into a lot more self-censorship if the pansified Western media doesn't man up and decide to disburse the risk so they can't kill one small, little French satirical magazine. They've gotta kill all of us.
Instead, as in 2005, The New York Times et al shrank back. As I also observed to Megyn that night:
I see all these teary candlelit vigils and everyone suddenly claiming to be for freedom of speech. I think a consequence of this is a lot of people will retreat even further into self-censorship.
And so, after a similar but fortunately less bloody attack in Texas, virtually the entire American media decided to blame the victim and took it as read that Islam now has an opt-out from the First Amendment. You can't fence off Islam and contain the damage to freedom of speech: the decision to surrender it incrementally leads inevitably to its total loss. On the day of his murder, I quoted the words of StĂ©phane "Charb" Charbonnier, Laurent Sourisseau's predecessor as Charlie editor, from two years earlier:
It may seem pompous, but I'd rather die standing than live on my knees.
It's not pompous, but it is lonely. And the slippery, weaselly nature of the post-bloodbath support told Charlie Hebdo it was only going to get lonelier. It's hard standing on your feet when everyone else with the #JeSuisCharlie buttons is on their knees, bottoms in the air, prostrate before the fanatics. And so Charb's successor has opted to live on his knees.
#JeSuisCharlie? Even Charlie isn't Charlie now.
~I have no particular urge to die standing, but I really don't want to live in the world this malign alliance of Islamic imperialists and hollow western appeasers is building for us. So we must resist it on all fronts. I'll be in Copenhagen for the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoons, regretting absent friends but happy to be in the company of Flemming Rose, the editor who commissioned the original Motoons, as well as Douglas Murray and Henryk Broder. You can go here for more details about the event, and email here for tickets. There's no need to write to them in Danish: the Danes speak better English than most English-speaking countries. Nonetheless, a few readers have complained about the Danish lingo at their website, so I'm happy to provide an English translation as follows:
International Conference: The Danish Mohammed Cartoon Crisis in retrospect
Date: 1pm-4.30pm September 26th 2015
Place: Landsting Hall at Christiansborg (the Danish Parliament)
Entrance fee: 100 krone - or, for members of the Free Press Society, 75 krone
One hundred krone sounds a lot, particularly if you say it like Doctor Evil. But it's about 15 bucks US or ten quid in sterling.
The Free Press Society marks the tenth anniversary of the Mohammed cartoon crisis with four international activists for freedom of expression.
They are among the most eloquent and staunch defenders of freedom of speech and come from, respectively, England, the United States, Germany and Denmark.
The Free Press Society gives you the opportunity to experience them all together in one afternoon:
Briton Douglas Murray, Canadian-American Mark Steyn, German Henryk Broder and finally the editor behind the Mohammed cartoons, Flemming Rose.
Even in times that try men's souls, I always have fun with my Danish chums, so, if you're fleeing MalmĂ¶, jump on a train and do swing by.
~PS re that MalmĂ¶ story, notice the evasive formulation employed here:
The RosengĂ„rd suburb which has a reputation for violence and gang related crimes.
Hmm. What else does RosengĂ„rd have a reputation for? Mosques? Burqas? Something beginning with I- and ending in -slam? Ah, but the great thing about living on your knees is how quickly you get used to not noticing anything in front of your eyes.