The vile scum who murdered 13 people on the staff of the satirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday, and four others in a Paris grocery store today, are now rotting in Hell. If their death at the hands of French police was quick, it was too merciful.
Do not let anyone call the horror in Paris a “tragedy.” It was cold-blooded murder — and the latest of a string of attacks on the liberal civilization of the West that has been raging for ages, most acutely in our time beginning on September 11, 2001. The violence in France appears to be at an end, for now. But the enemies of liberty will be back with more guns, more bombs, and more shouts of “Allahu Akbar!”
The Wall Street Journal today published an op-ed by French intellectual and author Bernard-Henri Lévy titled “A France United Against Radical Islam: It’s time to break, finally, from Leninist reasoning about the sociology of poverty and frustration behind terrorism.” We can only hope he is right. An excerpt:
Twelve faces. Twelve names, some of which the killers specifically called out, as the name of a condemned prisoner is called out before his execution. Twelve symbols mourned around the globe, symbols of the assassination of freedom of laughter and of thought. The least that we owe to these dozen dead is to rise to their level of commitment and courage—and, today, to prove worthy of their legacy.
It is incumbent upon the leaders of France, of the West, and of the world to take the measure of a war they did not want to see, one in which the journalists of Charlie Hebdo, its writers and caricaturists, long ago put themselves on the front line. They were war reporters of a sort, as we now know, Robert Capas with a sketch pad and pencil.
This is the Churchillian moment of France’s Fifth Republic, the moment to face the implacable truth about a test that promises to be long and trying.
It is time for us to break, once and for all, with the Leninist reasoning that has been served up for so long by the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the sociology of poverty and frustration. And most of all it is the moment, now or never, for a calm resolve among all believers in democracy to look evil in the face without losing ourselves in the catastrophic measures of a state of emergency. France can and must erect dikes—but not the walls of a besieged fortress.
Do read the whole thing (subscription may be required).
Charlie Hebdo is not everyone’s idea of smart satire. The magazine has long gone far out of its way to be as offensive as possible, especially towards religion and religious figures. Enlightened Westerners must tolerate such “low” and “offensive” exercises of free speech as a trivial cost of living in liberty. But as we saw this week, the unenlightened can enter our sphere and collect a terrible price for such “offenses.”
Stéphane “Charb” Charbonnier, the publisher of Charlie Hebdo, said in 2012 about the paper’s office being firebombed by Islamic fascists the previous year: “I’d rather die standing than live on my knees.”
He meant it, and he lived it, courageously. He and his colleagues died for it. They are all heroes of liberty.
For the enemies of the modern world – those who hate the very notion that one is free to ignore, or even insult, Islam – this is just the beginning. The slaughter at Charlie Hebdo is meant to frighten you and to silence you – to get you to surrender your liberty at the threat of death.
But if freedom of thought, of speech, and of the press are surrendered — even quietly, passively — there is little left at all of our liberty. We let the tyrants become our masters. That is why it was so heartening to hear millions shouting to the world this week “Je suis Charlie! Nous Sommes Tous Charlie!” (I am Charlie!). The title of this post adds “Nous Sommes Tous Charlie!” (We are all Charlie!) It will take courage to mean it, to live it, and we must. We cannot be afraid.
Mark Steyn, who knows a thing or two about standing up for freedom of speech, has a lot of important things to say about this. I recommend this, and this, and this and this. In fact, you should just go ahead and bookmark his excellent website for regular reading.
Over at National Review, there is the usual excellent thought and writing from Jonah Goldberg, Rich Lowry, Michelle Malkin, Charles C.W. Cooke, and a video of Charles Krauthammer suggesting this is the beginning of the “Third Stage of Jihadist War” on the West. I highly recommend you read it all.
Our friends over at PJMedia have been so kind as to post a clearinghouse of “offensive” images and cartoons of Mohammed. Please give it a look, share with friends, and bookmark for future reference. I have a feeling it will come in handy again before too long.