It’s still right to honour Charlie Hebdo

If you thought that the debate following the Charlie Hebdo killings had exhausted the media and literary world’s reserves of feverish self-examination, brace yourself for another round.

Since the American wing of PEN, the international writers’ association, decided to honour Charlie Hebdo with a Freedom of Expression Courage award, six high-profile writers – including Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje and Francine Prose – have decided not to attend next month’s PEN gala in New York in protest. The organisation, they said, had “stepped outside of its traditional role” in honouring a magazine they believe is guilty of “cultural intolerance”. [618 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 132 votes] So these courageous SORRY “allegedly” courageous satirists “might be worthy of recognition”.

Do you even realise how weasely and sneering your words sound?

Of course Charlie Hebdo deserves this award and Islam should grow a pair and not get all murderous when it is quite rightfully lampooned.

[2ND 90] “…. but 12 people died when it was attacked on 7 January for depicting the prophet.” – The Prophet? Not to me he isn’t, and the majority of the Guardian’s readership I imagine. So please call him/her/it Muhammed.

[3RD 85] …. time for some wise words from Salman Rushdie;

“At Cambridge University I was taught a laudable method of argument: you never personalise, but you have absolutely no respect for people’s opinions. You are never rude to the person, but you can be savagely rude about what the person thinks.

That seems to me a crucial distinction: people must be protected from discrimination by virtue of their race, but you cannot ring-fence their ideas. The moment you say that any idea system is sacred, whether it’s a religious belief system or a secular ideology, the moment you declare a set of ideas to be immune from criticism, satire, derision, or contempt, freedom of thought becomes impossible.”

[4TH 81] “Yes, Charlie Hebdo has published offensive cartoons”

Increasingly I find these types of articles offensive. You’re saying the cartoons were abhorrent, really? How about atrocity after atrocity after atrocity being committed by Islamists. That is truly abhorrent.

[5TH 69] Why is it so hard for anyone in the Guardian to write an article about Charlie Hebdo without including a big, fat, “but…”?

[6TH 63] “Alleged courage” eh? When you next publish satire with death threats from known, armed radicals over your head, come back and talk. Charlie Hebdo were/ are equal opportunity satirists. They targeted all religions. They also targeted right-wing economics. Only one group responded with violence. And of course people continue to confuse derision directed at religion (such derision being an entirely legitimate aspect of democratic society) with racism. [Guardian Cif] Read more

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