Categorized | Current Events, Europe, Religion

Je ne suis pas Charlie – A study in French Hypocrisy

The shootings at the offices of the self-proclaimed French “satire” magazine Charlie Hebdo have left the nation of France and the wider international community in a state of shock.  The attacks were undoubtedly barbaric acts of criminality, and we here at strongly condemn the violence that was used without reservation, as we would condemn the taking of any innocent life.

It is quite easy to buy into the mainstream media’s narrative that France is the newest battleground in “the battle for free speech,” but looking past the crocodile tears of the media, there is a sea of contradictions.  For instance, In 2008, Maurice Sinet, a French journalist drew cartoons satirizing Jean Sarkozy’s marriage to Jessica Sebaoun-Darty.  Because Sebaoun-Darty was Jewish, journalist Claude Askolovitch (himself Jewish as well) described them as anti-Semitic. Hebdo‘s editor later demanded that Siné write a letter of apology or face termination.

Obviously, though Hebdo‘s authors would like to have presented themselves as iconoclasts, bandying about the phrase “nothing sacred” they obviously did have their own sacred cows.  Such an attitude is not exclusive to the authors of the cartoons.  In much of the post-Christian West, “respectable” people are supposed to find insults towards Christians or Muslims liberating, daring, or “brave,” while simultaneously finding satire of other groups (Jews or homosexuals) and topics (immigration and social justice) revolting and offensive, if not to condemn it outright.  In this way, Charlie Hebdo are no heros, but a gatekeeper of the liberal status quo.

Dieudonne M’bala M’bala has repeatedly been fined by the French legal system for his satire of Zionists

Perhaps their fanatical dedication to this said status quo is why, although criticism of non-Europeans by Europeans is taboo in most liberal circles, the editors of Charlie Hebdo have been hailed has heroes for their satire, while  people like Siné are fired or while comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala has been repeatedly fined by the French authorities for satirizing Jews and Zionists.  Naturally, if the French legal system were more true to the ideals of free expression that it claimed to uphold, both would be allowed.  Nevertheless in France’s internal realpolitik, Charlie is politically correct while Siné and Dieudonné are not; the former producing “prolefeed” to satisfy the masses while the others crossed lines which were not to be crossed.

Following the massacre, the prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, lambasted the attacks as an “assault on free speech”.  He did so in a country whose birth was accompanied by the beheading of thousands of “enemies of the revolution” in the name of “liberté, egalité, fraternité, and where, in modern times questioning the Allied version of history is punishable by five years in prison and tens of thousands of euros in fines for each violation.  Such a double standard must no doubt be frustrating to not only Muslims, but to many people whose views are not explicitly sanctioned by the French State.

The attacks brought about an immediate smoke-and-mirrors media circus with the major players trotting out the usual memes about the “clash of cultures”.  While they are undoubtedly correct in some aspects, and Europe needs a more honest dialogue on the effects of immigration, the discussions which take place even among European “conservatives” are anything but honest (we won’t even mention the attitudes of the Left on the matter).  If anything, the dialogue is dominated by strong neo-liberals who, fearing that the influx of Muslims is a threat to their carefully-engineered decadent and liberal society, seek to blame all the ills resulting from immigration and more solely on the Muslims who benefit from it.  Such people, again, are not truly interested in solving the problem of immigration (going so far as to paint non-Muslim immigrants in Europe as being completely harmless), but in preserving questionable liberal-invented “values” such as third-wave feminism and the right to publish vulgar cartoons about religious figures.

It is true that the Muslim world and the West are at odds.  But this is where we must part ways from groups such as the EDL or individuals such as Geert Wilders (for in all other aspects they differ little from their progressive and liberal counterparts).  Rather, Islam and the Western worldview are opposed because the former, as the “politically incorrect” Jobbik leader Gábor Vona says, is the last bastion against globalism.  Muslims hold that there is something above themselves, and are willing to give their lives for their principles and faith.  By comparison, the French and American revolutions had extinguished any hope of rekindling a traditional European worldview.  In other words, the West is not only at odds with so-called “Islamic fundamentalism” – but also at odds with itself because the invented values of post-modernity clash with the authentic Western values.  In the end, modern “Western” (in reality globalist) society has little to offer except the material – promises of greenbacks and shiny cars at best.  Outside of this, the West cannot even uphold the values that it claims to hold dear.  That the Allies, 70 years ago, hung the owner of a newspaper for the very same act that Charlie‘s editor’s undertook, should be sufficient proof of this.  Today, even the so-called “American Dream” is quickly turning into a nightmare with supensions of civil liberties, impending economic disasters, increasingly balkanized society, and police brutality.

Another thing which bears mentioning is that Charlie Hebdo was and remains no friend to traditional European values.  They mercilessly savaged all the “traditional enemies” of the left, including the Church and conservative politicians.  Rather than being a positive contributor to society, Hebdo is in the same league as acts such as FEMEN or the creators of degenerate artwork such as Piss Christ; insulting Muslims is only one part of the game, and for them there is ultimately no difference between a Muslim and a Christian as long either one refuses to “submit” to their new world order.  Such groups, in making martyrs of themselves, only seek to garner sympathy from the Western world while they undermine Western civilization in the process.  We can easily recall how, after the “punk band” Pussy Riot desecrated the holiest Russian Cathedral in 2013, they were lauded by the Western media for their supposed bravery and commended for standing up to the Putin administration.

Perhaps, as Bill Donohue of the Catholic League points out, had Monsieur Charbonnier been a bit more judicious, he would have still been alive.  But that is beside the point.  The attacks in Paris were cowardly and need to be condemned.  However, even if we wish to defend Western values, we must realize that the likes of Charlie Hebdo are allies of convenience at best.  Furthermore, should be honest supporters of free speech, rather than selectively defending the right to make crass cartoons about the sacred.  Until then, je ne suis pas Charlie.

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About William van Nostrand

William van Nostrand is a native of Chicago, Illinois and is currently the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of He holds a B.A. in Economics as well as a minor in cultural anthropology. His interests are highly varied and include late medieval European architecture, German romantic classical music, and travel.
  • Alexandros Megas

    I’m no Muslim, but this incessant demonization of them is getting really boring (and I say this as someone whose country was occupied by the Turks for 400 years). For one thing it’s not the Muslims who promote gay rights or radical feminism in Europe while promoting the opposite in their own countries. In fact the reason France is in the state that is now is because of the liberal values which had nothing to do with Islam and which are in fact opposed by it. Rather, had the French people themselves been willing to stand up to people like Charlie Hebdo earlier we wouldn’t even be in this situation.

    Do Muslims necessarily belong in Europe? I would say probably not except for small communities of businessmen or students who don’t cause trouble. But we need to be honest and say that Muslims are not as big of a danger in the long run as liberals.

    Immigrants: Doing jobs that the French won’t do since 1951.

  • Nick Bullard

    The author seems very confused.

    There is a difference between satire and intentionally racist propaganda that serves no purpose in a civilized exchange of information. The way I see it is that making denying the Holocaust is a slap in the face to actual survivors and family that are alive today. Making fun of a religion that is stuck in another century and responsible for massacres today does not compare and deserves everything it gets. THAT’s why one is illegal (and rightly so) and the other isn’t.