Tendance Coatesy

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Posts Tagged ‘freedom of speech

Teachers’ Union, SNES-FSU, Declaration After Islamist Murder in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

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Reaction to Islamist Murderer.

Teachers’ Union Declaration.

The SNES-FSU learnt with horror of the assassination of a professor of history and geography from the college of Bois d’Aulnes (78). This horrific act is said to be linked to the ongoing use of cartoons of Muhammad as part of a CME (moral and civic education) course. Tonight, the entire educational community is in shock.

The SNES-FSU offers its deepest condolences to the family of the victim and gives our support to all his relatives, colleagues and students.

This horrific assassination was committed against a teacher who was doing his job.  The heart of the mission of education was attacked: learning and empowerment.

The school is a place where the experience of debate builds citizenship and freedom of conscience. This is an essential task of the public education service. To attack a professor is to attack a pillar of our democracy and our Republic.

The SNES-FSU reiterates its unwavering attachment to freedom of expression. This obligation must not, and will never be, dropped in the face of terrorism.

Today, Saturday, October the 17th,the SNES-FSU calls on the staff of National Education service to hold a minute of silence, at 11 a.m., in  schools that are open, in memory of our murdered colleague.

Faced with this tragedy, everybody should rise to the challenges this presents. The SNES-FSU calls on everyone to refrain from any exploitation of these events, and to respect the mourning and pain of our community of educators.

Call for a Minute’s Silence.

Charlie Hebdo:

Charlie Hebdo shares the feelings of horror and revolt after a teacher in the line of duty was murdered by a religious fanatic. We express our deepest support to his family, loved ones and all the teachers.

Reactions:

 

The Father of Murder, a man who had railed at the Teacher on the Internet. is amongst those arrested.

PROFESSEUR DÉCAPITÉ: 9 GARDES À VUE, DONT LE PÈRE QUI S’ÉTAIT PLAINT DE L’ENSEIGNANT SUR INTERNET

Written by Andrew Coates

October 17, 2020 at 8:52 am

On the Eve of the Trail of the 2015 Terror Attacks Charlie Hebdo Republishes Caricatures of Mohammed.

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Image

Charlie Hebdo Will Never Give Up.

On the eve of the trial of the attacks of January 2015 Charlie Hebdo   republishes  the cartoons of the prophet who made the weekly the target of jihadist terrorists.

BFMTV:

CHARLIE HEBDO REPUBLIE LES CARICATURES DE MAHOMET QUI EN AVAIENT FAIT LA CIBLE DES JIHADISTES

 

Their own Tweet:

This is Le Monde’s report:

Here is another.

Report in English.

France’s Charlie Hebdo reprints Mohammed cartoons for trial

France 24. 

Agence France Presse.

French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, the target of a massacre by Islamist gunmen in 2015, said Tuesday it was republishing hugely controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to mark this week’s start of the trial of alleged accomplices to the attack.

“We will never lie down. We will never give up,” director Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau wrote in an editorial to go with the cartoons in the latest edition.

“The hatred that struck us is still there and, since 2015, it has taken the time to mutate, to change its appearance, to go unnoticed and to quietly continue its ruthless crusade,” he said.

Twelve people, including some of France’s most celebrated cartoonists, were killed on January 7, 2015, when brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi went on a gun rampage at the paper’s offices in Paris.

The perpetrators were killed in the wake of the massacre but 14 alleged accomplices in the attacks, which also targeted a Jewish supermarket, will go on trial in Paris on Wednesday.

The latest Charlie Hebdo cover shows a dozen cartoons first published by the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten in 2005 — and then reprinted by the French weekly in 2006, unleashing a storm of anger across the Muslim world.

In the centre of the cover is a cartoon of the prophet drawn by cartoonist Jean Cabut, known as Cabu, who lost his life in the massacre.

“All of this, just for that,” the front-page headline says.

– ‘The right to blaspheme’ –

The editorial team wrote that now was the right time to republish the cartoons and “essential” as the trial opens.

“We have often been asked since January 2015 to print other caricatures of Mohammed,” it said.

“We have always refused to do so, not because it is prohibited — the law allows us to do so — but because there was a need for a good reason to do it, a reason which has meaning and which brings something to the debate.”

The paper’s willingness to cause offence over a range of controversial issues has made it a champion of free speech for many in France, while others argue it has crossed a line too often.

But the massacre united the country in grief, with the slogan #JeSuisCharlie (I Am Charlie) going viral.

“A thousand bravos,” Zineb El Rhazoui, a former journalist for the weekly, said on Twitter, calling the republication of the cartoons a victory “for the right to blasphemy”.

The former director of Charlie Hebdo, Philippe Val, also hailed a “remarkable idea” for defending freedom of thought and expression in the face of “terror”.

In a nuanced response, the president of the French Council of Muslim Worship (CFCM), Mohammed Moussaoui, urged people to “ignore” the cartoons, while condemning violence.

“The freedom to caricature is guaranteed for all, the freedom to love or not to love (the caricatures) as well. Nothing can justify violence,” he told AFP.

The suspects, who go on trial from 0800 GMT on Wednesday, are accused of providing various degrees of logistical support to the killers.

The trial had been delayed several months with most French courtrooms closed over the coronavirus epidemic.

The court in Paris will sit until November 10 and, in a first for a terror trial, proceedings will be filmed for archival purposes given public interest.

National anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard dismissed the idea that it was just “little helpers” going on trial since the three gunmen were now dead.

“It is about individuals who are involved in the logistics, the preparation of the events, who provided means of financing, operational material, weapons, a residence,” he told France Info radio on Monday.

“All this is essential to the terrorist action.”

 

After the Islamist slaughter there were those, from Tariq Ali, Seumas Milne, the SWP, to George Galloway, who denounced Charlie Hebdo and suggested that they “had it coming”.

 

To that ghastly crew Charb’s words ring out:

 

Written by Andrew Coates

September 1, 2020 at 3:29 pm

Cancel Culture. “A Letter on Justice and Open Debate”. From Rowling to Chomsky.

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alex (@alex_abads) | Twitter

“The task of Marxist politics is to defend these freedoms” – Ralph Miliband.

JK Rowling joins 150 public figures warning over free speech

BBC,

Some 150 writers, academics and activists – including authors JK Rowling, Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood – have signed an open letter denouncing the “restriction of debate”.

They say they applaud a recent “needed reckoning” on racial justice, but argue it has fuelled stifling of open debate.

The letter denounces “a vogue for public shaming and ostracism” and “a blinding moral certainty”.

Several signatories have been attacked for comments that caused offence.

“The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted,” says the letter.

US intellectual Noam Chomsky, eminent feminist Gloria Steinem, Russian chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov and author Malcolm Gladwell also put their names to the letter, which was published on Tuesday in Harper’s Magazine.

The appearance of Harry Potter author Rowling’s name among signatories comes after she recently found herself under attack online for comments that offended transgender people.

A comrade writes (B),

 I don’t have an issue with the principles outlined in the letter, but I really think the idea of ‘cancel culture’ is perpetuated primarily by people who are performatively ‘woke’ and ‘anti-woke’. Like that person yesterday who was decrying mathematics as western imperialism on one side, and the likes of Andrew Doyle and Julie Burchill on the other. They feed off each other.

This looks like the best way to look at this.

When we come down to it, one of things the socialist left should do is to stand with liberal principles on issues of freedom of expression and non-conformity. Surely the bedrock of the diversity is multiple standpoints.

Marxists like Ralph Miliband took this view.

..the civic freedoms which, however inadequately and preariously, form part of bourgeois democracy are the product of centuries of unremitting popular struggles. The task of Marxist politics is to defend these freedoms; and to make possible their extension and enlargement by the removal of their class boundaries.”

Page 189 – 190. Marxism and Politics. Ralph Miliband. Oxford 1977.

To our shame this powerful tradition on the left has been overshadowed by the legacy of left regimes which turned their backs on civic freedoms.

You could say that the present dispute is much more minor, that it’s the hobbyist left versus the media version of the national populists. “Stifling debate”, moral panics, hysteria, controversies, like the TERF wars and the Western (if not US dominated) rows over racism (which ignore present-day Africa to begin with), the nationalist baiting, and the Brexit Party supporting Spiked, are more concerned with “speech and thought” than anything else.

Yet it’s hard to deny that restriction on debate, people being howled down, getting into serious difficulties for their opinions, not their acts,  has become a problem.

Are these only culture wars?

People mention that in the US you can get sacked at the drop of the hat – one fall out from these attacks – without any real employment protection.

It is also the case that this is not an issue confined to the lands directly cited by the authors of the letter, or just a matter of cultural “conformity”.

It only takes a minute to look at countries, from the, Russian Federation politics, China and Hong Kong, to Erdoğan’s Turkey, to see limits on freedom of expression leading to court sentences and prison.

Human rights, and expression is one of them, are the bedrock of the left.

I do have a serious problem with Chomsky though….and not just because he’s a supporter of Labour Against the WItch-hunt:

 

And this,

Not to mention those who shunned Charlie Hebdo…

American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky views the popularisation of the Je suis Charlie slogan by politicians and media in the West as hypocritical, comparing the situation to the NATO bombing of the Radio Television of Serbia headquarters in 1999, when 16 employees were killed. “There were no demonstrations or cries of outrage, no chants of ‘We are RTV’ […]“, he noted. Chomsky also mentioned other incidents where US military forces have caused higher civilian death tolls, without leading to intensive reactions such as those that followed the 2015 Paris attacks.

Here’s the letter.

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate

Harper’s Magazine.

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.