This is an open-ended blog ranging from news about my latest gigs and publications
to ruminations about politics, world affairs, culture and whatever piques my interest—or ire.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


The Charlie Hebdo affair has similarities to another recent terrorist act: the cyber attack on Sony films over the "Interview" movie that depicts the assassination of North Korean President Kim Jong-un. The issue in both cases is freedom of expression vs the attempts of outside forces to stifle it.
President Obama's comment on the North Korean cyber attack was that we cannot allow anyone to "censor" free speech in America. He criticized Sony for initially pulling the film off the market in the face of North Korean bullying. (In what was basically a business decision, Sony later allowed limited distribution.)
In the case of Charlie Hebdo, the editors and cartoonists have always defied attempts at censorship of any kind. They knew they were taking huge risks but persisted in publishing provocative images to affirm their free-speech right to criticize the excesses of Islamic radicalism (among numerous other targets). If no one has the courage to soldier on in spite of the risks and threats, then the "censors" have won.
   The Charlie Hebdo staff paid a heavy price for their stance. Some will say they brought it on themselves, that they knew what they risked by tweaking the tiger's tail. But if no one dares do that, the tiger wins by default. They were like frontline soldiers staking out and defending territory for the others behind them—in this case, all of us who live in societies based on freedom of thought and expression. We should be grateful to them for their courage, and never give up the fight.

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