Cartoonists brought it on themselves

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 08.34.16Faut pas se moquer: journalism at the Financial Times

How long, Dalrymple asks,

would it take for a Western journalist to blame the Charlie Hebdo murders on French colonialism and journalistic insensitivity to the feelings of Muslims? Not nearly as long, I suspected, as it would take a journalist in the Muslim world to blame them on the legacy of Mohammed and Islam. And I was right.

Tony Barber: Charlie Hebdo should stop 'being stupid'

Tony Barber: Charlie Hebdo ‘just being stupid’

Distressing wrong-headedness

Dalrymple reports that it took less than four hours for someone called Tony Barber, described as an ‘associate editor’ of the Financial Times, to publish an article on the newspaper’s website

blaming the journalists and cartoonists of the satirical French magazine (and the two policemen as well?) for their own deaths.

This Barber, Dalrymple points out, wrote and posted the following (see screenshot):

Screen Shot 2015-01-10 at 10.14.38Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling French Muslims . . . Some common sense would be useful at publications such as Charlie Hebdo . . . which purport to strike a blow for freedom when they provoke Muslims, but are actually just being stupid.


Dalrymple’s response:

According to this perverted logic, if the relatives of the 12 murdered men were now to storm into the offices of the Financial Times and shoot 12 staff members because of the considerable provocation offered by Tony Barber, it will prove only that Barber had just been stupid.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 08.31.07Dalrymple points to a relevant difference between the two cases:

When he wrote his disgraceful little article, Barber knew perfectly well that the relatives of the murdered men would not behave in this fashion, and that therefore he was not ‘just being stupid’. Hence, he equates prudence with cowardice, a sure way to encourage (though not perhaps to provoke, in his sense of the word) more such attacks.

Barber refers to Charlie Hebdo's 'editorial foolishness', in contradistinction to the FT's editorial wisdom, judgment, tact and perspective

Barbare refers to Charlie Hebdo’s ‘editorial foolishness’, in contradistinction to the FT’s editorial wisdom, judgment, tact and perspective


Barber’s implicit recognition

that some people react differently to provocation is not flattering to those whom he wishes to exculpate, in so far as it implies that they are childishly unable to accept the kind of mockery that is perfectly normal in a free country.

France had it coming

In his first paragraph, Barber wrote

that the attack on Charlie Hebdo will ‘not surprise anyone familiar with the rising tensions among France’s 5m or more Muslim citizens and the poisonous legacy of French colonialism in North Africa.’ In other words, France had it coming, though it offers a far better life to its 5m Muslims than they would be likely to find anywhere in the Muslim world, including in their countries of descent. The Muslims owe nothing, no loyalty, to France.

Screen Shot 2015-01-08 at 09.21.56How To Spend It

Rather than commenting cretinously on matters of which it knows little or nothing, such as the meaning of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Islamism, free speech, etc., perhaps the Financial Times should concentrate on what it does best, for example putting out its spectacularly vulgar and imprudent How To Spend It magazine supplement for the corrupt international rich.


Dalrymple concludes:

The French must defend to the death the right of their satirists to mock, bait, and needle Muslims, in France and elsewhere.

Private Eye No. 1384, 23 Jan - 5 Feb 2015

Private Eye No. 1384, 23 Jan – 5 Feb 2015

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