A short list...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Omar Sharif, Salman Rushdie, Theo van Gogh, University of California at Berkeley bookstores, Hitoshi Igarashi, William Nygaard, Aziz Nesin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Rachid Ben Ali, Khalid Durán, Christians on PalTalk, Isioma Daniel, and Taslima Nasreen to name just a few. From America, Asia, Africa and Europe. All victims of, or threatened with, moslem violence because they excercised free speech deemed critical of Islam.

All taken from just one article, The Freedoms We Fight For.

UNFORTUNATELY, WE IN THE WEST haven't always been vigilant about standing behind speech rights. Too often, when Islamists threaten free expression, some Westerners clamor to make excuses for them. In 1997, for example, Salman Rushdie and novelist John le Carré had a high-profile feud in the letters section of the Guardian. In the course of the feud, le Carré said that Rushdie bore the responsibility for the bounty on his head because "there is no law in life or nature that says that great religions may be insulted with impunity."


Standing up for free speech in the face of religious fanaticism should be automatic for anybody who understands the classical liberal principles upon which Western society was built. Unfortunately, it seems that many Westerners either fail to understand these principles, or else fail to grasp the reality of the threat. Ultimately, it is Salman Rushdie's response to John le Carré that encapsulates the consequences of not recognizing the current Islamist attack on free speech: "John le Carré is right to say that free speech isn't an absolute. We have the freedoms we fight for, and we lose those we don't defend."

As I've posted before in Freedom of speech in Denmark, this is an intolerable, and extremely insidious, assault on one of the West's core values. We cannot stand by silent and allow Moslems to dictate the terms of public debate in the West through threats. Stories such as these need to be told, and told again and again. We must demand Moslems among us to publically demonstrate their self-proclaimed tolerance by condemning, in no uncertain terms, calls for violence against critics, or even mockers, of their religion.


JoeC said...

Indeed, we must stand and fight for the freedoms America was founded on.

There will be no America if we do not.

It is barely recognizable now.

truepeers said...

The silencing that has me presently in distress is Alain Finkielkraut's. As Jamie Irons noted last week, Finkielkraut gave an interview with Haaretz in which he spoke what is to my mind a pretty convincing account of what is going on in France.

He didn't say anything unreasonable, but the backlash against him in France was huge; he was threatened with death and legal actions, in the face of which he appears to be now a totally broken man who talks as if he were mentally ill when he gave the perceptive and sane interview:

Thursday, after receiving death threats, the philosopher decided to respond and repent. In an extensive interview in Le Monde yesterday, he said he "despised" the man who appeared in the article (in Le Monde). "He is he and I am I. To my shock, since Wednesday, it appears that he and I share the same name."

Finkielkraut, who went out of his way to praise the immigrants, said his original statements had been an attempt to force the political echelon to take responsibility for what was happening in the poor suburbs. "Integration is our obligation," he said.

Following the apology, lawsuits and police complaints were dropped. But even after his apology, one Jewish organization condemned Finkielkraut, calling him the pyromaniac of the Jewish community.

I am still too shocked by this Stalinist turn of events in la Republique to say much more. I want to post something on it when I can get a better sense of what is going on. The French have always made a sacrificial bloodsport of intellectual life. Is it western political correctness - aka white guilt - or Jihad that is the greater cause of Finkielkraut's demise?

terrye said...


Well it took a virtual act of Congress to call a Christmas tree, a Christmas tree..so I would say PC played a large part in it. And PC was born right here, not France.

I am afraid it was exported with the good things like Elvis Presley and when combined with apathy and fear of Muslim mobs the result has been the complete neutering of French society as well as certain philosophers. Your post made me think of Galileo recanting his scientific theories after being called a heretic by the Church. It seems many in the Muslim community are still stuck in that time and too many of us lack the courage to say so.

But you know what? In the end Muslims may stand up to the threat of fanaticism before most of the people in the West do.

David Thomson said...

“I am still too shocked by this Stalinist turn of events in la Republique to say much more.”

Shocked? To me this is merely a ho-hum situation. I simply take it for granted that France and much of Europe are lost. The concept of First Amendment rights is alien in these countries. Canada is also in serious jeopardy. What about our own country? We must think twice before voting for any Democrats, and relentlessly push the Republicans to live up to their ideals. Generally speaking, a vote for a Democratic candidate is a vote for the end of civilization.

Buddy Larsen said...

Truepeers, side note, the use of the term "white guilt" as a synonym of "political correctness" has a good, solid, feel to it. For many reasons, not the least of which is the pure descriptive power. Suffers of WG have several salient characteristics; the most striking is the intent to become virulent. WGs--"weegees"?

Peter UK said...

The French invented "Stalinism"

Buddy Larsen said...

Indeed--they revolted for it. And have been revolting ever since.

truepeers said...

Yes Peter, I guess you can say the French invented (if not perfected) Stalinism; maybe I shouldn't be shocked. But the fact is that France has always had an active intellectual life - thinkers have often been treated brutally, but it hasn't stopped many from thinking and speaking, especially in the name of the Republic, as Finkielkraut was - and I did not think that at present France had yet gotten back to the standards of the Terror (and in monarchical/Caliphascist dress, to boot).

Is this more a case of Finkielkraut's moral failure, or is there really no hope for chaps like him? I thought a professional intellectual, speaking for jews, could still speak as Finkielraut did, if not your average Francois. I guess I was wrong. In fact, I don't recognize the truepeers who wrote that earlier post, even though he appears to share my imaginary name; then again, what's a truepeers anyway? In the old days, I'd consult a French philospher; now I'm gonna have to make it on my own, with only Jehovah to help.

Weegees? - Buddy, I'm getting to think that you're one of these "Disco Sucks" anti-70sPC rebels.

Peter UK said...

Yes the world owes France so much...makes me wonder why we bothered in 1914...I realise we could be eating Lobster Thermidor with sauerkraut..did I hear a Nordic Yummy?....but look at what we would have missed.

gumshoe1 said...

very sad news about Finkielkraut.

let's start up a thread
in spiritual support of his right to speak as he did in his first article,and send him a link to it.

maybe this thread right here
would do it.

that the global "free press"
isn't outraged is ominous
on its own.

these stories aren't going away
in the near future,and the
attepmts to get a stranglehold
on speech/thought-crimes
isn't either.

how black does it have to get??

gumshoe1 said...

they all (the "free press")
still wanna whine about McCarthy
and Ed Murrow.

talk about "fighting the last war".