PEN LETTER FROM PROTESTORS

ON THE PEN LETTER BY ALL THOSE AUTHORS...

The terrorists are not the marginalized.

Charlie Hebdo attacked religion and terrorism, and it was pro-Muslims as much as it was anti-Islam, and it was anti-racism. As the late editor said, a cartoon does less harm than a drone. But it's the Algerians and Moroccans living in Paris who are told they can't dress a certain way who are the victims of what the writers regard as cultural prejudice. Not the terrorists. The CH team had guns to their heads and they continued to publish - and that's commendable, and they should be honored. But they were surely aware that many Christians were killed in riots in the Middle East and in Africa, with the Danish cartoons? That's not the Charlie Hebdo team's fault. That's extremist terror.


Nobody is saying that these writers would side with terrorists or murderous protestors against Charlie Hebdo. They ought to defend the rights of the Charlie Hebdo group, to their own deaths if they must, to employ the quote attributable to Voltaire. But a secular society allows freedom of religion. A large minority of decent people are being curtailed in their freedoms in France, and many of them are from an immigrant population that is already on the bottom rung of society's ladder.

The writers' letter is perhaps wrongheaded and maybe even anti-French. I don't know if a boycott is right. But one could argue that cartoons that target the terrorists are equally wrongheaded. Like the bombs that come from drones, these cartoons don't have crosshairs that prevent collateral damage.