The PEN Six vs. Charlie Hebdo: The “Conditionalists”
“I think most people would agree on what to do about PEN and Charlie Hebdo if they could agree on the question: Were there racist or bigoted cartoons in Charlie Hebdo?”- Caleb Crain
Are the PEN Six and followers cowards? Probably not, but.
They open themselves to scrutiny. At the Express Tribune I suggest they excised their “vertebrates.” There has to be a reason why they misjudge CH as bigoted, perhaps a lack of nuance combined with misplaced empathy, but to question their courage nowhere near as egregious as their misjudgment.
Charlie Hebdo stood/stands with the homosexuals in Iran, the blasphemers in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, the Raif Badawis of the world, the bloggers in Bangladesh, all the oppressed. Hebdo shouldered the threats with courage. They knew they had been targeted, and still supported the right for any Muslim to say, “I disagree with this interpretation, here’s why.” Or, “I think apostasy and blasphemy laws and suicide bombings are wrong.” Or, “Muslim women have equal rights.” And Hebdo made fun of the religious bigots.
Those who would kill Charlie Hebdo are the same who imprison Raif, the same mentality that shot Salman Taseer. They silence w/violence. The idea that Hebdo was “racist” or “bigoted” lessens the meaning of these words. Hebdo did not believe any individual was inferior to another based on race.
The PEN Six: NPR reported that six authors have recused themselves from attending a PEN awards ceremony “in protest against the free-speech organization’s decision to give the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award.” The PEN six, along with cartoonist Garry Trudeau, err.
Racism: “The belief one race is superior to another.”
One of the PEN Six, Teju Cole, said Hebdo “has gone specifically for racist and Islamophobic provocations.” What? Not by definition. Mr. Cole, you misdirect your rage. Cole is joined by Peter Carey, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, and Taiye Selasi. These six, along with later signatories, have betrayed the mostly Muslim bloggers and dissidents who write for universal peace and face threats, assassinations, and imprisonment because they support coexistence and tolerance of agnostics, atheists, apostates, homosexuals, Jews, Christians, and all religious minorities.
Further: On May 5th I became a member of PEN.
“Why we’re honoring Charlie Hebdo” – Andrew Soloman & Suzanne Nossel, The New York Times
“Is Charlie Hebdo racist?” – Laura Miller at Salon
“What everyone gets wrong about Charlie Hebdo and racism,” – VOX
“Charlie Hebdo, Pen, Ondaatje” – Stan Persky at DooneysCafe.com
“Pen has every right to honor Charlie Hebdo“- Adam Gopnik at The New Yorker
“The Wrong Kind of Free Speech” – 33 Revolutions
“Dee Jay NDN Is a Racist Hypocrite” – GSpellchecker
“Hebdo Turds That Won’t Flush” – Gerasites
“If Charlie Hebdo is Racist…so Am I” – Zineb al Rhazoui
“In Paris, Pen Boycott Makes Americans Look Like Crude Provincials” – Tablet
“Living in Diversity” – Kenan Malik
“CH Receives Standing Ovation” – NYTimes
“Charlie Hebdo Issue Skewers PEN Critics” – NYTimes
“Apologist to the left, bigots to the right” – Pangea
“Defend Free Speech” – Ian McEwan, TIME