February 8, 2007

"If we can no longer laugh at the terrorists, what weapon is left for the citizen?"

Says Phillippe Val, on trial in Paris, facing the prospect of six months in jail for publishing cartoons that supposedly slander Muslims:
[One cartoon] depict[s] the prophet [Muhammad] greeting suicide bombers in heaven with the caption, “Stop, stop, we have run out of virgins,” and another depict[s] Muhammad wearing a turban containing a bomb. A third image included in the suit was an original drawing by the French cartoonist Cabu, depicting a crying Muhammad with his head in his hands, saying, “It’s hard to be loved by idiots.

17 comments:

Sloanasaurus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sloanasaurus said...

What irony this trial has. Maybe they will call Muhammad as a witness to help determine whether or not he has been slandered.

MadisonMan said...

If satire is lost to people in France who want to make fun of something, they'll have to limit their tools to dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, and litotes.

That would be a shame.

Are slander laws different in France than in the US?

Kirby Olson said...

The French have laws against certain kinds of speech deemed to be "hate speech." This is similar to the speech codes on most American campuses, but which have been decried by American courts to be unconstitutional.

We have the first amendment. They don't.

CB said...

What weapon is left for the citizen? They could always jump up and down.

vbspurs said...

Are slander laws different in France than in the US?

I believe it's the same as it is in most countries around the world -- the burden of proof favours the plaintiffs, not the defendants, the latter which is the case in the US and Canada.

Val is the editor of a minor comical French mag called Charlie Hebdo (Charlie Weekly).

As AtlasBlogged put it recently, though, there is another factor in this story which hits some of us:

Val was quoted as saying, "In a democracy, we're all shocked by what people say and do. We just have to learn to talk about it.”

The shame is that he even needed to say that. As Rammage so eloquently noted last year, this situation puts the American Left in quite a quandary.

Which value is more important – freedom of the press, or respect for the cultural and religious beliefs of those in third world countries? Is it okay to print cartoons that criticize Islamists, or is it not?


If I can tolerate Kanye West dressed in a crown of thorns on the cover of Rolling Stone, and Dogma and The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ, the movies, then Muslims have to understand they must about what they find egregious, as well -- at least in free societies (like France...).

Of course, Kirby said it right. The French have hate laws against hate speech, so this gives certain people an out, in this matter.

For shame.

Cheers,
Victoria

Kirby Olson said...

The Germans laws are even stronger. But most of the European countries have laws against hate speech.

We don't have them, except at universities, where they are technically illegal. Students should have the right to say whatever they please. Right now the Campus Republicans at San Francisco State are under investigation for trampling on pictures of Allah. Technically they should be able to do that according to the First Amendment.

But the campus government is trying to indict them on hate-speech grounds (almost every campus has a speech code that is technically illegal at present but which nevertheless serves to have students ousted from campuses or forced to attend political correctness seminars until they get with the progressive mentality).

There is an organization called fire.org run by libertarian lawyers that is fighting campus speech codes (with a great deal of success). Fans of Althouse might also be fans of www.fire.org.

I am a fan.

The Germans and French won't allow Nazi marches for instance, because they consider it hate speech. America allows Nazi marches through Skokie because of the first amendment which guarantees the right to present disgraceful viewpoints.

Kirby Olson said...

I goofed up the link to fire.org.

It's actually here:

http://www.thefire.org/index.php/article/7718.html

Peter Palladas said...

The Paris Mosque and the Union of Islamic Organizations of France contend that the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, and its director, Philippe Val, are guilty of slander,...

Slander no. The Prophet is dead. Can't libel the dead. Or maybe you can in France, in which case I say J-PS was a pompous, poisonous toad who gave existentialism a bad name.

If they're convicted I shall burn all my French letters in protest.

Dave said...

All those who think we should accept more international law in our courts might want to remember that they don't have a 'Bill of Rights' and mostly they don't have juries of your peers.

The Drill SGT said...

Kirby Olson said...
The Germans laws are even stronger. But most of the European countries have laws against hate speech.

We don't have them, except at universities, where they are technically illegal. Students should have the right to say whatever they please. Right now the Campus Republicans at San Francisco State are under investigation for trampling on pictures of Allah. Technically they should be able to do that according to the First Amendment.


Kirby is both right and wrong. The Campus Reps are charged with the hate crime of religious defamation of Allah. What they did is what numerous protestors have done. They walked on the Flag. Of course they weren't treading on the US flag. that's normal. They stood on the Hamas flag and apparently it contains the word "Allah" on it. Hence the hate crime. OMFG

Adam L said...

Would the muslims who live in France enforce this much "toleration" of minority religions if they were in the majority?

Would they even give Christians the courtesy of a last smoke before they stoned them to death for heresey?

LoafingOaf said...

Are any Muslims speaking out in favor of the newspaper's right to publish the cartoons?

In recent decisions, French courts have largely ruled against religious groups that contended that their faiths had been insulted.

That may be true. But I do know that Bridget Bardot was fined in France over stuff she wrote in a book.

LoafingOaf said...

Would the muslims who live in France enforce this much "toleration" of minority religions if they were in the majority?

We'll find out, because it's probably when, not if. There are patches of France which are already the Middle East, and within them there are women with no freedom whatsoever despite technically living in a free country.

But, since there's very little freedom of speech left in France, people are not allowed to have healthy debates, and their governments are not properly addressing their concerns. Thus, many people find themselves drawn to voting for the fascist, Le Pen, feeling they have no other option left to save their country. Which is sad and scary.

The fascist parties all across Europe will continue to rise in popularity as their governments cower to Islamist bullying, no other parties will listen to their concerns about Islamism, and in fact attempt to silence those concerns.

It will get ugly in Europe. Some of us have been trying to warn about this. I'm just glad I live in the USA.

dougjnn said...

This is similar to the speech codes on most American campuses

In my view the Supremes should find such campus speech codes as unconstitional as well, even at private universities.

They could use a "public square" rationale.

There should perhaps be exceptions for institutions that limit their enrollment along sectarian lines -- e.g. Catholic seminaries or Jewish Yashivas.

Kirby Olson said...

I'm not a lawyer but as a writer and professor I try to understand speech codes. But the people at thefire.org ARE lawyers and they actually file lawsuits against universities due to their speech codes. Most campuses have speech codes. The libertarian lawyers at thefire.org offer compelling arguments against these, but they mostly file against public universities. For some reason private universities (unless they receive some public funding, which most do) don't have to follow the first amendment as carefully as do the public universities. thefire.org has an extensive archive, and it's very fun to read the precise language that's used.

Most "religious" colleges do have some kind of public funding. There are 42 Lutheran colleges, but all of them receive some public funding and so MUST be EOP in terms of who they accept and even in terms of who they allow to teach there. Muhlenberg College which is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America and recieves money from the synod has only about five Lutheran profs among 108. Most of the students are not Lutheran, either.

Wagner College on Staten Island has a similar situation.

Very few private colleges are totally bankrolled by tuition and donors. Most of them take some kind of public funding, so they should be responsive to state and federal laws to the same degree as public institutions but some reason they're not.

PatCA said...

"If we can no longer laugh at the terrorists, what weapon is left for the citizen?"

Just stay quiet and you will be OK.