Bagatelles for a Massacre
Ilana Mercer meditates on the latest “victory” of the West
WINNING IN THE WEST. A French “documentary maker”—a title everyone with a camera assumes these days—told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that the West was winning. The docu-dude felt that the people of Europe were displaying a winning resistance to the imposition of Islamic blasphemy laws.
How was the West vanquishing the enemies of free speech? In response to the craven massacre of staff at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, hundreds of thousands of Europeans—in Barcelona, Brussels, London, Paris, Nice, Lyon—came out en masse to plonk teddy bears on sidewalks and point pens and pencils to the heavens. “Winning,” as Charlie Sheen would say.
The winners also flaunted their feelings with placards that read: “Je Suis Charlie” and “Not Afraid.” The CNN signatories to the dhimma “pact of surrender” celebrated the triumphant “outpouring of art in response” to the executions in Paris. Meek, wishy-washy drawings popped up everywhere. An example: Patrick Chappatte’s New York Times cartoon, in which a sunken-chested white male sheds a tear, holds a flower. The caption: “Without humor we are all dead.” Fierce.
The terrorists in the midst of the winners were in for more blows. A plural option was added to the rallying cry “Je Suis Charlie”: We are Charlie Hebdo—Nous Sommes Charlie. “Say no to terrorism” was another winning slogan.
Then there was the showy and meaningless parade in Paris. The world’s leaders united against murder, an insight that was already well within the ken of leaders of the ancient world (Ten Commandments?). The charade of charlatans featured the very people responsible for legislation that authorized the round up, around them, of “54 people … for hate speech or other acts insulting religious faiths, or for cheering the men who carried out the attacks.”
THE SWORD IS MIGHTIER THAN THE PEN. No wonder author Martin Amis spoke of clichés of the mind and the heart. The orgy of sentimentality and helplessness came with its share of clichés. Particularly enveloping in its preposterousness was “the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Remember the iconic scene in the film “Raiders of the Lost Ark”? Challenged to a duel by a scimitar-wielding, keffiyeh-clad Arab, Indiana Jones draws a pistol and dispatches the swordsman without further ado.
In my (allegorical) more accurate adaptation, the roles are reversed. The Prophet Mohammad’s avenger faces his somersaulting Western offender, who comes at him with a pen, convoluting about freedom of expression, inquiry and conscience. How does Mohammad’s mercenary respond to the penman’s lofty ululations? As Indiana Jones did: he aims his automatic weapon and drops the prophet’s offender.
Before Charlie Hebdo came the 12 Danish Jyllands-Posten cartoons. In 2005, JP drew cartoons that joined Muhammad to the violence that disfigures the Muslim world. While clucking about the sanctity of free speech, countless commentators climbed into the Danes. The illustrators were called juvenile, obnoxious, Islamophobic, even immoral. They were accosted for doing nothing to advance enlightened argument; of acting in “terrifically bad taste”; and indulging in “gratuitous provocation, not worthy of publication,” to quote some of the pieties disgorged by politicians and pundits.
Having been where Charlie Hebdo finds itself today—a catalyst for eruptions across the Islamic Ummah (now innervating the West)—Flemming Rose, JP’s cultural editor and publisher, knows of what he speaks. He informed BBC’s HARDTalk that the sword is mightier than the pen. “Violence works.” The great Danes of JP will not reprint “Charlie Hebdo’s post-attack front cover.”
FREE SPEECH FARCE. Far and away the best commentary about the Charlie Hebdo headache was that of Sean Gabb of the British Libertarian Alliance. Unable to stomach “the smug chanting of politicians and media people,” in countries where “[a]lmost every day … someone gets into trouble for opening his mouth,” Dr. Gabb wondered: “Where for them are the defenders of freedom of speech, now more fashionably than bravely holding up pencils or waving candles?
“I believe that the writers and cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo had the moral right to say whatever they pleased about Islam, or anything else,” argued Gabb. “But I also believe that Luke O’Farrell and Garron Helm should not have been sent to prison for being rude to or about Jews. Nick Griffin should not have been prosecuted for saying less against Islam than was published in Charlie Hebdo. The Reverend Alan Clifford should not have been threatened with prosecution in 2013, when he handed out leaflets at a gay pride march in Norwich.”
Indeed, just this week, a teenager was jailed in West Yorkshire, for posting a video clip of himself flushing then burning his Koran. To the north, the Scottish Police warned its charges via social media: “Please be aware that we will continue to monitor comments on social media & any offensive comments will be investigated.”
“In general,” Dr. Gabb remonstrated, “we are free to say only what the authorities want to hear. Even when the law does not cover dissent, there are administrative or economic punishments. See, for example, the UKIP members [of Britain’s rightist Independence Party] who were denied the right to foster children, or the difficulty that dissident writers have to find paid work.”
CAUSE CÉLÈBRE FOR CULTURAL LEFT. “Suppose the attack had not been on a cultural leftist magazine, but on the headquarters of the [rightist] Front National, and the victims had been Marine le Pen and the party leadership,” posited Dr. Gabb. “Would all those city squares have filled with people reciting Je suis le Front National? I hardly think so. Nor would the media have given blanket and uncritical coverage.
Dame Helen Mirren would hardly have sported a pencil brooch at the Golden Globes had Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders fallen prey to the peaceniks who’ve threatened to take his life.
“Indeed, we had our answer before the gunmen had opened fire,” claims Gabb quite credibly.
Consider the deceased Dutch, anti-immigration activist Pim Fortuyn, Theo van Gogh, descendant of Vincent van Gogh—slaughtered like a pig on the streets of Amsterdam for a docudrama depicting the subjugation of women in Islam and in Islamic countries—and Lee Rigby, the British soldier who was carved up by a Muslim wielding a meat-cleaver, on a south-east London street.
“When Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh and Lee Rigby were murdered no less barbarously, we were all urged to moderate our response. In the first two cases, we were told, with more than the occasional nod and wink, that the victims had brought things on themselves. As for the third, the protest demonstrations were broken up by the police.”
Concludes Gabb: “Cultural leftists have the same right not to be murdered as the rest of us. So far as the present lamentations indicate, they are seen by the directors of public opinion as having a greater right.”
ILANA MERCER is a paleolibertarian writer based in the United States. She pens WND’s longest-standing column, “Return to Reason” and is a Fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. She is a Quarterly Review Contributing Editor. Ilana’s latest book is Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America from Post-Apartheid South Africa. Her website is www.IlanaMercer.com. She blogs at www.barelyablog.com