Quantcast
Connect with us

France turns anti-semitic, unfunny ‘comedian’ Dieudonné into free speech hero by arresting him

Published

on

Really, France? The country that prides itself on its liberté responds to an unfunny, hateful and stupid Facebook comment by arresting the idiot who posts it? The week after holding a march honoring free speech as well as those killed over exercising free speech? France does have a long tradition of conditional liberty. I think we all know the famous quote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, unless you post it on Facebook, in which case you deserve to be arrested.”  (This quote is really, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is misattributed to Voltaire but is actually a phrase used my Evelyn Beatrice Hall to describe Voltaire’s position.)

ADVERTISEMENT

On Wednesday, French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who goes by his first name only, was arrested for being an “apologist for terrorism” over a post he wrote on Facebook on Monday: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” mixing the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting with a reference to Amédy Coulibaly, the man who killed four people at a kosher supermarket last week.

Dieudonné wrote in a later post addressed to the French government, “When I speak … you look for a pretext to ban me. You consider me an Amédy Coulibaly, while I’m no different from Charlie.”

O.K. Let’s be as uncharitable as possible. Let’s assume that Dieudonné wasdoing no less than publicly identifying with Coulibaly. That he didn’t identify at all with Charlie and that he used Charlie as a rhetorical cover.  Even if this is the case, does he deserve to be arrested? Especially while France is trying to fight back against a brutal and murderous response to free speech (that some considered to be hate speech), does Diudonne’s arrest make sense?

To be clear, Dieudonné  is a reactive, anti-Semitic, not very funny, fairly hateful person. He’s done despicable things, like create a new and improved and less physically demanding Nazi salute. And while he used to critique racism, bigotry, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, with a Jewish comedy partner, no less, Dieudonné abruptly turned his schtick into an anti-semitic, crappy pseudo comedy of the oppressed, filled with lazy, contrived and unoriginal stereotypes, oversimplifications, and outright lies. As for his coherence and consistency, Dieudonné likes to hobnob and collaborate with with fellow anti-racist, anti-xenophobic, racist, xenophobic, anti-immigrant politicians from the National Front party.

To be fair, France’s free speech laws are different from those of the United States. What Dieudonné did is not protected free speech according to French law, because, as Prime Minister Manuel Valls explained, “Racism, anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial, and apology for terrorism are not opinions, these are offenses.”  But can’t some of Charlie Hebdo’s content be described as racist? And why is there no law against Islamophobia, or the equivalent of anti-Semitism against Muslims? Does anyone think that someone who identified with a person who had killed a policewoman and four Muslim hostages would be arrested?

ADVERTISEMENT

But let us, for argument’s sake at least, concede that the arrest is legally sound, principled and consistent. Surely this is a bad move strategically and tactically speaking. How could France not see that by arresting this comedian, they are transforming a politically incoherent, pretentious, opportunistic, unprincipled, attention-seeking pseudo free speech hero into a genuine, if unintentional, free speech hero? France’s response is exactly what Dieudonné thrives on and lives off. If France had not arrested the comedian, would the hashtag #JeSuisDieudonne be trending right now?

Does France really want to come out as saying, “terrorists kill people over free speech. We arrest people over speech we consider to be criminal because it is hate speech or an apology for terrorism?” Isn’t this a double standard? And won’t those who already feel alienated and marginalized see this as just another example of Western hypocrisy.

Of course, no nation should let itself be held hostage by fear. And France can’t compromise its principles and laws in the name of pacifying the fears and feelings of some of its people. But isn’t that exactly why it has to respect its commitment to free speech?

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Fox News host Tucker Carlson and guest blame wildfires ravaging California on ‘woke’ culture

Published

on

Fox News host Tucker Carlson and YouTube personality Dave Rubin on Tuesday attempted Tuesday to cast blame on the wildfires ravaging California on “woke” culture.

“PG&E strikes me as almost a metaphor for the destruction of the state,” Carlson said in reference to how some (though not all) of the California wildfires may have been caused by PG&E’s technical errors. He claimed that the company “doesn't really know anything about its own infrastructure” even though it “knows everything about the race of its employees.”

Continue Reading

Facebook

Chelsea Handler comes to Joe Biden’s defense during Real Time appearance with Bill Maher

Published

on

Comedian Chelsey Handler defended former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday, during an appearance on HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher.

"I have to know what you think of Joe Biden and that whole thing," Maher said.

"I think Joe Biden is just a grandfather, you know what I mean? And he's old," Handler replied.

"I don't like comparing -- I don't like these stories of these women coming out and talking about a man smelling their hair or kissing the back of their head," she continued.

"I think it diminishes people who have actually experienced bullsh*t," Hander said.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Whether a sitting president can be indicted should be reexamined: former federal prosecutor

Published

on

Former federal prosecutor Glenn Kirschner has reached a point that he thinks the policy of not indicting a sitting president should be readjusted for modern times.

In a PoliticsNation panel discussion, focused on Rep. Jerry Nadler's (D-NY) suggestion that he would be requesting documents from at least 60 people connected to President Donald Trump as part of broadening the investigation into possible crimes committed while running for office or while president.

"He has got legal exposure on so many fronts," said Kirschner. "Whether it is his fake charitable organization, his continuing criminal enterprise of the Trump Organization, whether it is an inauguration run amok, it looks like, taking illegal, foreign donations and doling out or promising goodness knows what to those people who donated. And it's his presidency."

Continue Reading
 
 

Happy Holidays!

As a special thank you from all of us at Raw, we're offering Raw Story ad-free for 15% off - just $2 per week. Now 'til Dec. 31st.
Offer Expires In:
close-link