Posts Tagged ‘Humor’

Free Speech Versus Islamist Fellow Travelers

May 6, 2015

Charlie Hebdo, a French satirical weekly, was given the American PEN Freedom of Expression Courage Award. Nice and courageous for PEN to do this. During the attack against Charlie Hebdo in January, 12 victims were killed, including two practicing Muslims (one of these Muslims was the Charlie Hebdo “correcteur“, a supervisory editor; the other was a police officer who had come to the rescue).

The gunmen were killed later, but an accomplice of those two  killed (in the back) a (black) police woman, and then a number of patrons in a Jewish supermarket he held hostage (before being killed by police).

Love Stronger Than Hatred: "Cultural Arrogance of the French Nation?"

Love Stronger Than Hatred: “Cultural Arrogance of the French Nation?”

The PEN gala came two days after two Jihadist gunmen opened fire at a Texas competition to draw cartoons inspired by Islam. Hard core Islam does not tolerate drawing the creatures of Allah, be they beasts, or men. A fortiori, prophets.

Accepting the award, Charlie Hebdo’s editor-in-chief Gerard Biard said that the magazine’s shocking and sometimes (gently) offensive content helped combat extremists angry against free speech. “Fear is the most powerful weapon they have,” he said. “Being here tonight we contribute to disarming them.”

Secularism was not the enemy of religion; it simply said that the state had no religion, Biard persevered. “Being shocked is part of the democratic debate. Being shot is not,” he said.

Honoring Charlie Hebdo bitterly divides the literary community of the USA: 200 members of PEN signed a letter claiming: “there is a critical difference between staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.”

This is hogwash. Show me, literary men of little merit,  just ONE cartoon of Charlie Hebdo which is “not acceptable”. Just ONE. Or are you upset about guys kissing guys? And let’s talk about it. Insulting without explicit example to back it up, is just hate speech.

Those literary buffoons of the vicious type, also accused Charlie Hebdo of “cultural intolerance… All this is complicated by PEN’s seeming blindness to the cultural arrogance of the French nation“.

A really hilarious charge for anybody familiar with French and USA societies (the French are much more tolerant: homosexuality was legal in France, in the Sixteenth Century already, and Senegalese were French citizens, under Louis XIV; moreover, slavery became illegal in the Frankish empire, at the time when the Qur’an, which mandates slavery, was written for the first time! There was never any legal racism in France, whereas racism is still official in the USA: just look at the census bureau’s methodology! Among other “racially” aware tweaks… Some racist ways which are perfectly legal in the USA, to this day, are punishable in France with prison!)

Notice also that francophobia (obvious in their denunciation of “cultural arrogance of the French…”) is not racist, according to those fellow travelers of the most violent form of Islamism.

Satire is more than 5 centuries old in France. Satire is viewed as central to civilization. Some French regimes fell, just because of satire, even centuries ago, before the USA was constituted. Charlie Hebdo is just one of several French satirical publications. They have no equivalent in the USA, as they are too “shocking” for the USA, where the respect for authority (including tax-free superstitions) is highly ingrained.

Humor is central to intelligence formation.

To become more intelligent, we have to envision more of all the possibilities imaginable (within the boundaries set to free speech by the law). This is all what cartoons are about.

The irony is that Charlie Hebdo is fanatically anti-racist. It was made, to be fanatically anti-racist. Biard and Congolese author Alain Mabanckou told the PEN audience that Charlie Hebdo was and always had been “anti-racist”, a reply to the criticism that the magazine portrayed French racial and religious minorities in a stereotypical way. “Charlie Hebdo has fought all forms of racism since its inception,” Biard said.

Jean-Baptiste Thoret, who received the prize with his colleague Briard, told Charlie Rose that Charlie Hebdo is “absolutely not the same” as the Texas contest because the magazine does not specifically target Islam. It is true, that, over the years, Catholicism has been more of a target. Overall, Charlie Hebdo is focused on politics, not religion, so politicians are the first victims of Charlie Hebdo’s harassment.

I am personally of the opinion that the empire of Islam upon vast parts of the world, is the MAIN cause of their poverty and on-going mayhem, just as Christianism was in Europe, in the Middle-Ages. Same problem.

And it has the same solution: just as Christianism was domesticated by civilization, and this is called secularism, Islamism too, has to be domesticated.

Those who claim to refuse to understand secularism is better than Islamism are actually closet racists. What else? They want Muslims to keep on being oppressed, subjugated, victimized, mutilated, humiliated and decerebrated by the ideology of Islamism. And especially the women (whom the Qur’an views legally as a fraction of the worth of men, at best).

Salman Rushdie lived under a fatwa from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini for a decade for writing the supposedly blasphemous Satanic Verses. This means that Salman Rushdie, for mentioning a part of the Qur’an, was condemned to death, by Ayatollah Khomeini, who ordered all and any Muslim in good standing to go, and kill Mr. Rusdie, so that they could be rewarded by Allah.

My opinion is that this was an International Crime, as Khomeini was then the dictator, the head of state, of Iran. A warrant ought to have written for Khomeini’s arrest.

Mr. Rushdie described those who opposed the PEN’s award to Charlie Hebdo as fellow travelers” of the Islamic extremists who murdered the Charlie Hebdo staff, and argued on Facebook: “I fear some old friendships will break on this wheel.”

Let me repeat slowly: those who claim that there is everything good to be living under an Islamist dictatorship are racist. (Living under Islam is supposed to be living under an Islamist dictatorship , according to the Qur’an itself). The Qur’an is one of the most violent books anywhere: see “Violence in the Holy Qur’an”. I don’t have anything against violence, if and only if, it is fully justified, and the only solution. But ordering to kill ill-defined “unbelievers,” as the Qur’an has it pages after pages, is not acceptable. To me. And that’s true for Catholicism, Protestantism, or Islamism.

It’s not acceptable to Islamists themselves, as it drives them lethally crazy: millions of them spend most of their time wanting to kill each other, and acting on it. That may have been OK in the Middle -Ages, but nowadays, with Weapons of Mass Destruction easy to make, this attitude is not compatible with the continuation of civilization. Thus we cannot afford indifference to it.

We are at war, whether we want it, or not. Those who do not understand this are traitors to civilization, just as those who did not understand the danger of Nazism, and that tolerating Nazism was intolerable, were traitors to civilization, in a very similar vein. And this is not just an accidental analogy: Hitler was a loud supporter of Islamism (the Nazi dictator loudly admired Islam’s violence and war-mongering, while despising the softness of Christianism).

Those who love Islamism, just as those who loved Hitlerism, are not just cowards, but ill-informed, and not very smart.

Patrice Ayme’

Dying Of Laughter. Not Dying Of Fright

January 11, 2015

MORTS DE RIRE, PAS MORTS DE PEUR

Fanatics kill those who laugh. Their crime? They did not die of fright, first.

Huge demonstrations in France to protest the killing of famous humorists, authors, and even of an important progressive Bank of France economist (Maris). And also Jews, just because they were Jews, and police officers, just because they were police officers.

Four million people marched in  the streets to demonstrate their support for Freedom of Expression, and the LAIC Republic (with more than 80% approval rating). Forty-seven heads of states and governments joined, including Merkel, British PM Cameron (his first demonstration, ever), and all the important politicians in Europe.

The Marseillaise was sung, again and again, for Charlie Hebdo humorists, some of the fiercest anti-nationalists, ever.

"Je Suis Charlie" Demonstration in Nice

“Je Suis Charlie” Demonstration in Nice

The bells of Notre Dame rang for some of the most Atheist and Pagan thinkers, ever. This is perfectly appropriate: after all, the philosopher Pierre Abélard taught at the Cathedral which stood where Notre Dame now is. Abélard exposed the contradictions of theology, publishing the “Sic Et Non”, the “Yes And No” in 1121 CE. Abélard founded general semantics, among others things, and was famous throughout Europe for his songs.

The attack against Charlie Hebdo was the most severe such attack ever since Francia was founded by the Franks, more than 15 centuries ago. A fact that is striking and true: even the Nazis did not stoop that low (instead they affected a respect for French culture, and that’s how Sartre and company got started).

The Franks clamped down on ”Orthodox Catholic” Christianism, which had devastated the Roman State they were then in charge of saving. The Franks re-established the laic state that ruled before the Emperor Cult and the associated Christian State emperors imposed.

The Franks created their own bishops, and their own saints. This is well documented in bishop Gregory of Tours’ “History of the Franks”. Gregorius was leading prelate of Gaul (Gallia). The Christians fanatics, led by the Pope, would brandish death threats for generations. Ultimately they had to come on their knees, and beg the Franks to chase the Lombards (Long Beards) from Italy. That was 300 years after Clovis imposed a tolerant, laic Christianism.

Laic Christianism? Yes. Actually laic versions of Islam, especially Sufi (such as the one centered on Senegal) already exist. They have been submerged by fanatical version promoted by Saudi Arabia plutocrats, in the last few decades.

France became the “Eldest Daughter” of the senile, murderous Christian Church that had ravaged the Roman mind, Romanitas. So doing, Francia rebuilt Christianism.

(Three centuries after Clovis, Charlemagne attributed land to the Papacy, creating the so-called Papal States; it was well understood that the Pope took his orders from the “Renovated” Roman Empire).

Laicity translates the French laïcité, from Late Latin laicus + French -ité –ity. “Laicus” comes from the Greek “laikos”, meaning, of the people. I am not going to dissert on this now, but “Laikos” stands for “Human Ethology” (to describe it in the contemporary scientific semantics). Our common humanity, in other words.

When an ideology tries to devastate human ethology, Laicity, it should be repressed. Repression is civilization.

Indomitable Spirit, Crushing Infamy

Indomitable Spirit, Crushing Infamy

France has lost many battle, but is winning the war. This is exactly why Al Qaeda targeted her at her heart, Freedom of Expression. “Frank” means “Free”. The Franks gave their name to the Roman “Francia” they led.

Even the New York Times, in an excellent article by Douthat recognizes that “France is the Crucible of Europe”: “notwithstanding these declinist fears, France isn’t actually irrelevant or spent. Instead, it’s arguably becoming more important, more central to the fate of Europe and the West.

… politically, culturally, even intellectually, events in France over the next half-century could matter more than at any point since before the two world wars. Indeed, more than Germany or Greece or Britain or any other actor, it’s in France that the fate of 21st-century Europe could ultimately be decided…”

Why and How Did France Become So Central To Civilization?

Present day France, at the crossroads of the three main trade routes of Europe, has been continually at war for millennia, and whoever happen to reside there lost many battles. However this central position has fostered tolerance and understanding. Already 16 centuries ago, Celto-Germans, Romans, Jews, Franks, Goths and Burgunds had built a melting pot: many languages were spoken (three Celtic languages, Latin, Frankish, and various Germanic languages), and many religions were practiced (Francia did not have.

By 600 CE all citizens of what is now most of France, Germany and surrounding lands had become “Franks” (following the Constitutio Antoniniana of 212 CE).

The Franks, attached to freedom, as all Germans, outlawed slavery over all of Europe… Except in the part of Iberia the Islamists controlled. After the Franks invaded Britain in 1066 CE, not only did they outlaw slavery, but the franks established the basis of a more democratic state.

This made France a natural place for Protestantism: Cathars and Protestants appeared there, centuries before Luther. And for the Enlightenment.

The Enlightenment brought not only the republic of the United States of America (with a 5 trillion dollars world war to defeat Britain and give birth to the USA), but also the French Constitution of 1789, which proclaimed all men equal and gave them equal rights, independently of property, race, ethnicity, religion.

The Revolution of 1789 gave rise to the United Nations’ Charter, the very core of today’s civilization. 1789 also gave rise to the present European Union. France originated, and is the natural soul of both enterprises (and not just of the USA).

Let’s go back to Douhat (who embraced several themes I embraced for a decade):

“Then amid these political and economic patterns there’s an important intellectual possibility — namely, that if there’s something beyond the West’s current end-of-history torpor, some new ideological conflict or synthesis, it might emerge first in the place where so many revolutions had their birth.

France has always been a country of extremes — absolutist and republican, Catholic and anticlerical, Communist and fascist. Now it’s once again the place where strong forces are colliding, and where the culture’s uncertainties — about Islam, secularism, nationalism, Europe; about modernity itself — suggest that new ones might soon be born.

The decline has been real, but the future is unwritten. If there is real history yet to be made in Europe, for good or ill, it might be made first in la belle France.”

Not just Europe, the world.

Far from being struck by blind awe, evoking France, and its intellectuals. Actually the devastating notion of “multiculturalism” was born there. Some secondary French intellectuals breathed heavily on the United Nations, in a dumb tradition Rousseau inaugurated, to suggest that any culture, as long as it was different was glorious and to be allowed free reign.

This was Rousseau’s grave error, and it’s not at all what the history of Western Europe suggests. Far from it.

It is the Franks who grabbed and brandished the word “Europe”, when the Islamists launched three furious, massive land and sea invasions of Francia, in the period 721 CE-749 CE. They failed, their armies were totally destroyed, the Arab Caliphate fell (750 CE).

The history of Europe is the history of the progression of ever better ideas (and the annihilation of very bad ones). The Romans outlawed any religions founded on human sacrifices, and tried to make work a universal republic (their failure was due to a global fiscal failure, allowing the rise of plutocracy; so the problem is very contemporary). The Franks threw out religious fanaticism, and outlawed slavery.

None of this would have happened without creative brainwork. Those who don’t understand satire, don’t understand creative thinking. Satire is an old Greco-Roman tradition: consider the Satyricon (Book of Satyr-like thinking”; or consider satire from Horace, Juvenal, Apuleius…). Dionysian thinking and practice was all about satyrs, and satire (Nietzsche recognized its use around 1870, but Dante, Rabelais, Erasmus, Voltaire, etc. are all about it).

France is the country of intellectual extremes because it is the country of debate: one cannot debate persons who are in full agreement. Many French, when launched in a conversation, love to start their sentences with :”Non!”. It’s not that they dislike their interlocutor, but they need to stand, and be opposed (they will often defend the opposite point of view in the next debate).

And that is why Al Qaeda targeted the core of what makes debate possible, Freedom of Expression. Satire, and especially blasphemy, is not just a right super intelligence has. It is not just a duty.

Satire and blasphemy is how super intelligence is born. Imitations never qualified.

Patrice Ayme’

Vignettes on the massacre: 1) One the heavily armed thugs took over a Jewish supermarket, on the ground that all Jews should die (that’s more or less implied in the Qur’an, and certainly very explicit in the Haddith: I will roll out the quotes in another essay). The terrorists commandeered one of the cashiers to close the iron curtain. A 21 young Tunisian grabbed the terrorist’s machine gun, armed, aimed, and pulled the trigger. But the gun jammed, and the murderer tore him apart with his AK47 (the terrorist had already killed a “black” policewoman, shooting her in the back, and grievously wounded other people, the day before).

2) An African immigrant introduced many shoppers in the congelation room  of the Jewish supermarket, told them to stay silent, locked the door, and cut the power. They were not detected by the terrorist, and all saved. The African succeeded to flee, and informed the police.

3) Some hostages informed the police through Smart Phones. After a hostage told the police that the terrorist was making his prayers, the RAID force decided to attack immediately. After a furious exchange of gunfire, the madman charged the officers, and was riddled with bullets, so that he could not activate explosives. Casualties: 4 officers were lightly wounded, terrorist killed, no hostage hurt (those killed had been killed by the terrorist earlier).