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Viva Voltaire
City Journal ^ | February 10, 2006 | Theodore Dalrymple

Posted on 02/14/2006 2:45:05 AM PST by Tom D.

Viva Voltaire
In the cartoon controversy, it’s the French who’ve been courageous, the Americans and British spineless.
10 February 2006

This time, the French have put the British and Americans to shame. From the outset of the crisis over the Danish caricatures, they have vigorously defended the right of free expression, unlike the British and Americans, whose pretence that they “understand” Muslim outrage has fooled no one and given the fanatics the (correct) impression of weakness and lack of conviction—and thus encouraged them.

Two French satirical weeklies with Voltairean aplomb, Le Canard Enchaîné and Charlie Hebdo, have published a series of cartoons mocking the Islamists and their beliefs as they deserve, with a courage and frankness almost entirely missing from the British and American media.

Charlie Hebdo’s front page, for example, has Muhammad, grimacing with his hands over his eyes, saying: “It’s hard being loved by all these idiots.” On the next page, Muhammad looks at the Danish cartoons and says, “It’s the first time the Danes have made me laugh.”

Muhammad appears on the top left-hand corner of the first page of Le Canard Enchaîné with a rubber stamp, which he uses to certify several cartoons throughout the paper as Satanic. One of these cartoons has Muhammad under the caption “The Pencil: Weapon of Mass Destruction?” sitting at a desk, trying to draw a human figure, but managing only a childish stick man. “If only I knew how to draw,” he says.

On the inside pages, other Satanic cartoons have Hamlet declaiming, “There is something rotten in the state of Denmark” with the caption “Hamlet to enter Islamist repertoire?” and a picture of the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen, draped in a black Islamic costume with only the eyes showing, with the caption “The Islamists give a new look to the Little Mermaid.” (The verb in the caption, relouquer, brings to mind reluquer, which means to ogle—doubtless a deliberate play on words.)

A Muslim association tried in the French courts to have Charlie Hebdo banned, but the courts firmly rejected the request, and the edition sold out quickly. The two papers have inflicted a humiliation on the Islamists, in the best possible way, by exposing their intellectual nullity to withering scorn. No one can accuse the two papers, either, of racism, xenophobia, or any of the other crimes of lèse-PC, since they criticize and mock everyone (who deserves it) without fear or favor.

The French have emerged in this crisis as far stauncher and more fearless and unapologetic defenders of freedom than the Americans or the British. In this instance, they have stuck to an important principle without calculation of immediate interest or even short-term consequences. They find the equivocations of the Anglo-Saxons strange, spineless, and reprehensible, and in this instance they are absolutely right.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cartoons; dalrymple; france; theodoredalrymple; voltaire
This is a little embarrasing. Dalrymple is no apologist for the Europeans although I think he lives there.

Some of the cartoons described here sound pretty funny too.

1 posted on 02/14/2006 2:45:06 AM PST by Tom D.
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To: Tom D.

That's true but,but,but,the french government made great apologizes and blamed the press which published the cartoons.
The spanish Javier Solana european commissioner for foreign affairs told yesterday that europe would make laws against critic of Islam....!!??!!


2 posted on 02/14/2006 3:17:44 AM PST by Ulysse (FRENCH FOR BUSH)
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To: Tom D.; All
Everything I have found about The War of the Twelve 'Toons ( links, blogs, quips, quotes, aggravating pictures ) is located here- click the Pic, and scroll backwards:


3 posted on 02/14/2006 3:30:49 AM PST by backhoe (-30-)
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To: backhoe
Abu bin Voltaire:

"I do not agree with what you say, and I will put you to death for saying it."

4 posted on 02/14/2006 3:38:51 AM PST by Erasmus (One fine day, sad to say, we'll all be Democrat voters.)
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To: Erasmus

See tagline...


5 posted on 02/14/2006 3:51:28 AM PST by backhoe ("Say I'm Violent? I will *KILL* you!)
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To: Tom D.
Charlie Hebdo’s front page, for example, has Muhammad, grimacing with his hands over his eyes, saying: “It’s hard being loved by all these idiots.”

ROFLMAO!!!

6 posted on 02/14/2006 3:55:03 AM PST by Utilizer (What does not kill you... - can sometimes damage you QUITE severely.)
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To: Tom D.

I can't help wondering if the recently-past Muslim riots may have put some bone back into the jellyfish's spine.


7 posted on 02/14/2006 5:40:59 AM PST by Kenton
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To: Tom D.; Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; Valin; King Prout; SJackson; dennisw; monkeyshine; ...

In the cartoon controversy, it’s the French who’ve been courageous, the Americans and British spineless.

...The French have emerged in this crisis as far stauncher and more fearless and unapologetic defenders of freedom than the Americans or the British. In this instance, they have stuck to an important principle without calculation of immediate interest or even short-term consequences. They find the equivocations of the Anglo-Saxons strange, spineless, and reprehensible, and in this instance they are absolutely right


Interesting take by Theodore Dalrymple !

This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.) I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention. You can see the list of articles I pinged to lately  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about). Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

8 posted on 02/16/2006 7:47:58 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Vicomte13

Take a look ping


9 posted on 02/16/2006 7:50:11 AM PST by Tolik
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To: Tom D.
"This time, the French have put the British and Americans to shame."

It's the old slow to anger thing..dontcha know.

Now watch out. The Frog *hit is gonna fly like torpedoes..mark my words.

I know about the French temper first hand. If you shoot a "nice" guy over and over ...well anyway, you had better shoot to kill.

10 posted on 02/16/2006 7:53:13 AM PST by Earthdweller ("West to Islam" Cake. Butter your liberals, slowly cook France, stir in Europe then watch it rise.)
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To: Tolik

Frog bump.


11 posted on 02/16/2006 7:55:46 AM PST by metesky ("Brethren, leave us go amongst them." Rev. Capt. Samuel Johnston Clayton - Ward Bond- The Searchers)
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To: Tom D.

Have the French Finally done something Right????!!!


12 posted on 02/16/2006 8:26:21 AM PST by SouthernBoyupNorth ("For my wings are made of Tungsten, my flesh of glass and steel..........")
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To: Tolik

I've tried to explain that what happened in France with the riots was not Muslim extremism but rather typical (if fiery) large-scale French demonstrative politics.

What FRANCE saw in those riots (as opposed to FReepers in the US) was that the Beurs are culturally integrated, but economically excluded.

WHY did the French see that?
Is it because we all have shit for brains?
No. It is because we see the very clear distinction between the Islamists BLOWING UP trains in London and Madrid, or stabbing to death Van Gogh in Holland, and angry unemployed Beur youths in the Paris banlieux. One man died in three weeks of riots in France. Had that really been a MUSLIM riot (as opposed to an angry FRENCH youth demonstration) there would have been ten thousand dead and martial law.

Nobody LIKED the riots, of course, but most people in France, of both major political camps, saw them for what they were. And there WAS a silver lining in all of it: the combination of real French integration efforts AND hard-line counterterrorism policing meant that a national immigrant manifestation, in France, stayed within the bounds of hard French labor unrest: some fires, some fists. It did NOT turn into characteristically Muslim mayhem and murder.

Had Madrids, or even a Van Gogh, happened in France the mood would be different.

Once the Danish cartoons came out and the protests began, first France Soir, then Hebdo and le Canard both jumped in.
Obviously French people are not going to tolerate anybody telling them what to say or do. They don't take it from the Americans, even; they're certainly not going to take it from a bunch of Arabs.

It didn't make the press in the US much, but there was an editorial by a French Muslim scholar who stated flat out that there is nothing in Islam that prohibits a sense of humor about religion.

Of course the French papers ridiculed the Islamist riots over a cartoon. The French ridicule everything and anyone. That isn't going to stop because foreigners get their panties in a wad. When have the French given a damn about what ANYBODY else thought? OF COURSE they will give the Muslim radicals the finger. They give everybody the finger.


13 posted on 02/16/2006 11:11:48 AM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Vicomte13

I value your opinion, so I pulled you to the thread. Thank you for the detailed post. From what I understand, the Islamic element was not the main one in the riots, but is present in the radicalization of the dissatisfied.

Also, I wish French were more consistent with the finger. Specifically in the 70th when they showed finger to Israel and did not show to Arabs.


14 posted on 02/16/2006 12:10:11 PM PST by Tolik
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To: Tolik

The French view of Israel, by and large is this:
Israel is a colonial adventure, primarily of the US and Britain. It's an attempt to transplant white Europeans into the Middle East, based on an absurd religious claim that went extinct about 2000 years ago.

Of course, given what happened to the Jews in World War II, nobody was going to struggle too hard against the idea of a Jewish state. Also, to give the Jews somewhere to emigrate to, out of Europe, is not a terrible thing.

But letting the Jews flood into the Middle East just causes trouble for the Arabs, and with the Arabs, and France's Empire and interests have always been pro-Arab.

France isn't going to actively seek the destruction of Israel, and indeed back when Israel got its start, France was willing to sell them as much military equipment as they wanted to buy.

But France has no particular brief for Israel.
Israel is simply a pain in the ass to the French, because the US, especially, is so pro-Israel, the Arabs are so anti-Israel, and France's interests lie in the Arab, not Jewish world.

There really is not much else to say about that.

US politics are very heavily influenced by the Jewish lobby. In France, there is not nearly so much Jewish influence, or for that matter Arab influence either. The French calculate their own connections and interests, and don't find much interest in Israel. Of course, France has no desire to actively destroy Israel. But France doesn't want "that shitty little country" (in the words of one French minister) to cause problems for France by causing tensions between France and the Arab countries that France primarily does business with.

That's the truth of it. There is no romantic notion about what Israel is in France. Israel is another South Africa in the French mind: a colony of white Europeans settling in a sea of dusky natives who don't like them. Of course that's going to be a problem for as long as it lasts. France is pretty indifferent to the ultimate outcome: whether Israel lives or dies doesn't much affect France.


15 posted on 02/16/2006 12:27:08 PM PST by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Vicomte13

I accept that it is French position, and I disagree with it completely.

I fully understand that they don't care about my position. I can reply with the same.

What is interesting about the French position, it is as you pointed out: they don't care what others think about them. But!! they insist that we should care about what they think about us. And they well succeeded on this with about half of Americans.

To me, I have an old love to Richard, Depardeu, Belmondo and cheese. Wine and everything else, I can live without.


16 posted on 02/16/2006 1:14:41 PM PST by Tolik
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To: Vicomte13
"It is because we see the very clear distinction between the Islamists BLOWING UP trains in London and Madrid, or stabbing to death Van Gogh in Holland, and angry unemployed Beur youths in the Paris banlieux."

Denial works wonders...for a while.

"OF COURSE they will give the Muslim radicals the finger. They give everybody the finger."

Might be hard to back up that big finger in years to come when all the little French fingers are half Muslim.

France is not an Island. Come out of the bubble and live with the rest of us.

17 posted on 02/17/2006 7:12:46 AM PST by Earthdweller ("West to Islam" Cake. Butter your liberals, slowly cook France, stir in Europe then watch it rise.)
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To: Erasmus

Abu bin Voltaire: .......Francois Marie Arouet????


18 posted on 02/17/2006 7:17:07 AM PST by litehaus
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To: Tom D.

"They find the equivocations of the Anglo-Saxons strange, spineless, and reprehensible, and in this instance they are absolutely right."

Well, in our own defense, I'd say they now have a sense of how we've felt to have been bearing most of the burden for this open-ended War on Islamofaciscm on our own. See how you like it.


19 posted on 02/17/2006 10:47:08 AM PST by quesney
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