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A 'Gare du Nord' Manifesto in the offing?

This time last year, French magazine 'Charlie Hebdo' (a sort of French Guardian meets Private Eye) published the Mohammed cartoons, and for the anniversary - and the eve of litigation against the mag because of it - the editor has been questioned by the readers of Libération.

And quite interesting stuff it is too, and I would argue that the strong current of Republicanism and anti-clericalism on the French left has acted as something of a vaccination against some of the idiocies of the Anglo Left.

Some highlights:

Q: Do you think that this kind of interference by religions over freedom of expression will become common?

CH: Ahead of being of a community, one is citizen of a republic. Indeed, those bringing this lawsuit seek to conflate criticism of religion with racism. When religion is no longer a private matter, but has ambitions to act in the public sphere, it becomes an ideology and, for this reason, it should be exposed to criticism. It is a principle of the democracy. If one cannot criticize religions because they are ideologies, one is no longer in a democracy.

Q: What is your opinion on the Clash of Civilizations?

CH: I do not believe there is one....the clash is not between different civilizations. It is between the democracies and those dreaming of a totalitarian system.

Q: Have you run into difficulties with satirical cartoons on the Jewish or the Catholic religion?

CH: Judaism not proselytising, it is rarely topical. As for the fundamental Christians, in fifteen years, they have launched a score of lawsuits, for a similar reason, namely to conflate criticism of religion with racism.

Q: What do you think of the Iranian attempt to parody our freedom of expression by organising a feeble Holocaust cartoon contest?

CH: The Iranian caricatures deny a historical fact and incite hatred against people. The Danish caricatures satirised ideas.

The Euston Manifesto itself is here, and while I would sign up to its entire agenda, there is much of it which prompts enthusiastic head nodding, not something I would expect when reading a work of the Anglo Left.
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Anonymous Anonymous said... 9:26 pm

Well-argued. The only thing I would quarrel with is the "clash of civilisations" quote. As the brilliant Hannah Wafa pointed out, "in order to have a clash between civilisations, you must have two civilisations.".  

Blogger Newmania said... 11:19 pm

Tremendous spot C and well worth reading.This is typical of the sort of thing that makes me feel you should get more credit than you do. Noone else is widening the discussion like this .

Sorry; but there it is.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 1:10 am

The French have a much, much stronger sense of their national identity than do the British, who have allowed their pride in their nation to be beaten out of them by NuLabour thugs. Socialism in France is not as vicious and spiteful as it is in Britain. It's still wrong, of course, but it's not as toxic. Or not as toxic in the same way, perhaps. I don't know. Why did the British allow their incredible achievements - the largest empire in the history of the world, and, although now an ex-empire, one which retains Anglo-Saxon Common Law and, in most instances our language? How could they give this unbelievable achievement up without a fight? What happened?

The left has always been toxic and opposed to civilisation, but why surrender to it?

I just don't get it.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 8:13 am

N - Mr C pauses to adjust his halo...

V - as ever, you raise interesting points. I will mull.  

Anonymous Anonymous said... 8:34 am

Verity I am much less pessemistic than you, at least on one not-so-narrow point. Common Law is on the offensive: the world of commerce is increasingly headed that way across Europe and beyond. The advantages of the contractual vs civil-code approach are overwhelming, and will indeed overwhelm.

Even more interesting, London is once again the centre of these things. The London-NY axis reigns supreme in matters financial, and Frankfurt has all but given up the fight.

Don't underestimate the wider (cultural) implications of this over the long term.  

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