Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thoughts on the boycott of the PEN gala honoring Charlie Hebdo

If you impetuously joined in the smearing of Charlie Hebdo as racist, Muslim-bashing, and thoughtlessly provocative in the immediate wake of the murders, without bothering to learn if you were misrepresenting them. If you haven’t taken the time, in the three full months since, to educate yourself about their actual work, motives, or the targets of their satire. If you choose to remain willfully and self-righteously ignorant while taking images at face value and attempting to interpret them out of context. If you coldheartedly persist in throwing out horrendous unsupported assertions about people who are dead and can’t defend themselves and survivors grieving the loss of their friends and colleagues. If you ignore the words of former Muslims on staff at Charlie Hebdo. If you contend that the exploitation of the movement in support of CH, free expression, and the right to blaspheme by oppressive governments and the Right is the fault of Charlie Hebdo. If you believe that PEN has some apolitical purity that an award to CH would besmirch. If you can’t even bring yourself to acknowledge the courage of the Charlie Hebdo staff in defending free expression

Then you don’t belong at any event attended by or honoring defenders of free expression, and I fully support your decision to boycott this one.

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