Category Archives: Charlie Hebdo (magazine)

Lee was not universally loved

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 21.56.04The most intelligent and capable world leader of the past half-century

He was not, writes Dalrymple with gentle understatement,

universally loved.


universal approbation is not an appropriate goal for a politician.

His authoritarianism

fell far short of despotism.

Lee brought order

Lee brought order

Like many politicians brought up

in the twilight of empire, he both admired and disliked the colonial power.

Lee recalled admiringly

the way evening newspapers were piled in the street in London and people paid for them by leaving their money without any compulsion to do so and without ever stealing what others had left. This, he thought, was a well-ordered and disciplined society.

The achievements of Singapore under Lee Kwan Yew are incontestable

He had the pleasure

of being able to reverse the flow of moral example, and of seeing the former colonial power, which had always prided itself on its moral, intellectual and political superiority, sunk in terminal decline and decadence.

Unlike the good order and discipline that he thought he saw in England,Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 21.49.39

which had grown more or less organically from the country’s history, Singapore’s had to be brought about by stern and some would say oppressive legislation.

The efficiency with which the city-state is now administered

is one of the reproaches against Lee; it now seems almost intimidatingly tidy and well-organised, with little scope for the free expression or the crookedness of the timber from which Kant thought that mankind is made, and in which he delighted.

'Jeder derselben will immer seine Freiheit mißbrauchen, wenn er Keinen über sich hat, der nach den Gesetzen über ihn Gewalt ausübt. Das höchste Oberhaupt soll aber gerecht für sich selbst, und doch ein Mensch sein. Diese Aufgabe ist daher die schwerste unter allen; ja ihre vollkommene Auflösung ist unmöglich; aus so krummen Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden'

‘Jeder derselben will immer seine Freiheit mißbrauchen, wenn er Keinen über sich hat, der nach den Gesetzen über ihn Gewalt ausübt. Das höchste Oberhaupt soll aber gerecht für sich selbst, und doch ein Mensch sein. Diese Aufgabe ist daher die schwerste unter allen; ja ihre vollkommene Auflösung ist unmöglich; aus so krummen Holze, als woraus der Mensch gemacht ist, kann nichts ganz Gerades gezimmert werden.’

New-look Little Mermaid (warning: satanic content)

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 20.02.51Dalrymple chuckles at the cartoon pictured right, which is from Le Canard enchaîné. He notes that the verb relouquer

brings to mind reluquer, which means to ogle — doubtless a play on words.

He also likes the ‘Mahomet overwhelmed by the fundamentalists’ cover of Charlie Hebdo (‘It’s hard sometimes, being loved by these cretins’).

From the outset of the Danish cartoons crisis, Dalrymple points out, the French

have vigorously defended the right of free expression, unlike the British and Americans, whose pretence that they ‘understand’ Muslim outrage has fooled no one and given the fanatics the (correct) impression of weakness and lack of conviction — and thus encouraged them.

Le Canard enchaîné and Charlie Hebdo have

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 19.44.37with Voltairean aplomb published a series of cartoons mocking the Islamists and their beliefs as they deserve, with a courage and frankness almost entirely missing from the British and American media. They have inflicted a humiliation on the Islamists, in the best possible way, by exposing their intellectual nullity to withering scorn.


no one can accuse the two papers of racism, xenophobia, or any of the other crimes of lèse-PC, since they criticise and mock everyone (who deserves it) without fear or favour.

Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 20.40.44The French emerge

as far stauncher and more fearless and unapologetic defenders of freedom than the Americans or the British. They have stuck to an important principle without calculation of immediate interest or even short-term consequences.

The French

find the equivocations of the Anglo-Saxons strange, spineless, and reprehensible, and in this instance they are absolutely right.


Screen Shot 2015-02-14 at 20.39.47

Praise for Libération and the Guardian

Screen Shot 2015-01-09 at 22.17.25The Financial Times disgraced itself, but other European newspapers’ response to the Charlie Hebdo shootings has been admirable, Dalrymple writes.

Libération has bravely given the magazine space in its office; the next edition of Charlie Hebdo will print 1m copies, 25 times its normal run. And in Britain, the Guardian has announced a donation of £100,000 to Charlie Hebdo.

The actions of Libération and the Guardian stand, Dalrymple points out,

in marked contrast to the pusillanimity displayed by George W. Bush during the Danish cartoon crisis of 2006, and by Barack Obama in 2012, when he criticized Charlie Hebdo for being offensive to Muslim sentiment.

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