The Capitulation of the West

Locked
jack stowaway
Posts: 922
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:17 pm

The Capitulation of the West

Post by jack stowaway » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:38 pm

The Redeker Affair

By Christian Delacampagne
Commentary Online - January 2007

This past September, Robert Redeker, a French high-school philosophy teacher at Saint-Orens-de-Gameville (a small city near Toulouse) and the author of several scholarly books, published an op-ed article in the newspaper Le Figaro. The piece, a response to the controversy over remarks about Islam made a week earlier by Pope Benedict XVI, was titled “What Should the Free World Do in the Face of Islamist Intimidation?” It was a fierce critique of what Redeker called Islam’s attempt “to place its leaden cloak over the world.” If Jesus was “a master of love,” he wrote, Muhammad was “a master of hatred.” Of the three “religions of the book,” Islam was the only one that overtly preached holy war. “Whereas Judaism and Christianity are religions whose rites reject and delegitimize violence,” Redeker concluded, “Islam is a religion that, in its own sacred text, as well as in its everyday rites, exalts violence and hatred.”

Having been posted online, the article was read all across France and in other countries as well, and was quickly translated into Arabic. Denunciations of Redeker’s “insult of the prophet” spread across the Internet. Within a day after publication, the piece was being condemned on al Jazeera by the popular on-air preacher (and unofficial voice of Osama bin Laden) Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi. In Egypt and Tunisia, the offending issue of Le Figaro was banned.

As for Redeker himself, he soon received a large number of threats by letter and e-mail. On an Islamist website, he was sentenced to death in a posting that, in order to facilitate a potential assassin’s task, also provided his address and a photograph of his home. Fearful for himself and his family, Redeker sought protection from the local police, who transferred the case to the national counter-espionage authorities. On their advice, Redeker, his wife, and three children fled their home and took shelter in a secret location. Since then, they have moved from city to city, at their own expense, under police protection. Another teacher has been appointed by the French Ministry of Education to replace Redeker, who will probably never see his students again.


As a long-time friend of Robert Redeker, I was, of course, deeply disturbed by these events and worried about his and his family’s safety. My distress was only compounded by the reaction to the Redeker affair of the French establishment. Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was virtually the only public official who took an honorable position, declaring that this “fatwa” against a French intellectual was “unacceptable.” A group of centrist intellectuals, including Pascal Bruckner, Alain Finkielkraut, André Glucksmann, and Bernard-Henri Lévy, also issued an appeal on Redeker’s behalf and in defense of France’s “most fundamental liberties.”

But the vast majority of responses, even when couched as defenses of the right to free speech, were in fact hostile to the philosophy teacher. The Communist mayor of Saint-Orens-de-Gameville, echoed by the head of Redeker’s school, deplored the fact that he had included his affiliation at the end of the article. France’s two largest teachers’ unions, both of them socialist, stressed that “they did not share Redeker’s convictions.” The leading leftist human-rights organizations went much farther, denouncing his “irresponsible declarations” and “putrid ideas.” A fellow high-school philosophy teacher, Pierre Tévanian, declared (on a Muslim website) that Redeker was “a racist” who should be severely punished by his school’s administration. Even Gilles de Robien, the French minister of education, criticized Redeker for acting “as if he represented the French educational system”—a bizarre charge against the author of a piece clearly marked as personal opinion.

Among members of the media, Redeker was scolded for articulating his ideas so incautiously. On the radio channel Europe 1, Jean-Pierre Elkabach invited the beleaguered teacher to express his “regret.” The editorial board of Le Monde, France’s newspaper of record, characterized Redeker’s piece as “excessive, misleading, and insulting.” It went so far as to call his remarks about Muhammad “a blasphemy,” implying that the founder of Islam must be treated even by non-Muslims in a non-Muslim country as an object not of investigation but of veneration.

To be sure, Redeker’s language had not been gentle. But since when has that been a requirement of intellectual discourse in France? One can often find similarly strong language in, say, Les Temps Modernes, the journal founded by Jean-Paul Sartre and on whose editorial board Redeker has long served. Yet, to judge by the response to his “offense,” large sectors of the French intellectual and political establishment have carved out an exception to this hard-won tradition of open discussion: when it comes to Islam (as opposed to Christianity or Judaism), freedom of speech must respect definite limits.

How did France reach this point?

The first and most immediate explanation is that the country is about to enter an important electoral season, with races for the presidency and legislature scheduled for May of this year. As many as five million Muslims reside on French territory, and most of them are citizens eligible to vote. No political party can afford to be caught in a serious confrontation with this growing community. Moreover, memories are still fresh of the riots that roiled the suburbs of the largest French cities in the fall of 2005. Similar if less dramatic violence remains an ongoing problem in these areas, with their large populations of Muslim, French-born young people of African or North African descent, and fear of another conflagration has steered the French political class away from anything touching on the subject of Islam.

More puzzling is the complicity of the French media. Naturally, they too wish to avoid being perceived as adversaries of the Muslim community. But they have gone beyond the mere exercise of caution. In the wake of the riots, major newspapers, magazines, and news shows have shown little interest in the sociological reality of French Islam, especially the rising influence of Islamist propaganda. Thus, it was not a journalist but the extreme-Right politician Philippe de Villiers who drew attention recently to the Islamization of the workforce at Charles de Gaulle airport. This phenomenon was hardly a secret—the airport is located in the mostly Muslim département of Seine-Saint-Denis, and hires locally—but no respectable publication saw fit to investigate it. In the face of Islamic militancy, French journalists as a class would seem to have lost their nerve and compromised their professionalism.

As for the French academic world, that is a more complicated story. Working on sensitive issues related to race and religion has never been an easy choice for a French scholar, especially one whose views fall outside the conventions of the academic Left. During the 1950’s, the great historian Fernand Braudel tried to discourage Léon Poliakov from writing a Ph.D. on anti-Semitism, a subject about which Poliakov would go on to compose many distinguished books. Years later, I too was steered away from the subject of anti-Semitism by well-intentioned people concerned about my career prospects. Having ignored their advice and published a book titled L’Invention du Racisme (1983), I was unable to find a job at the university level. Happily, I have fared better in the United States.

Today in France, research on the most contested issues of race and religion is taboo unless one exhibits the “right” politics. To speak at conferences or to be considered for important posts, a scholar must be prepared to describe the colonial era in French history as nothing less than an exercise in genocide and to denounce American policy in the Middle East as barbaric cruelty. Those who refuse to comply find themselves shut out.

A notable instance of such blacklisting occurred in 2004, when a scholar applied for a three-year position at the prestigious Collège International de Philosophie. His credentials were formidable, but when his “pro-American” views became known to one member of the committee (the candidate, it seemed, was not completely opposed to the war in Iraq), a quiet but effective campaign was organized to deny him the post. Details of the case were reported in the weekly newspaper L’Express. The name of the unjustly treated candidate was Robert Redeker.

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/cm/ma ... cle::10813
Last edited by jack stowaway on Thu Jan 04, 2007 10:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Thu Jan 04, 2007 9:50 pm

In my career I've received death threats for statements made in public or published. Depending on the subject, that kind of response comes with the territory. There is nothing unique about this happening in France.

Very recently, a Delaware Jewish family moved because of death threats after suing the school system for permitting Christian prayers to be officially led in class, a clear First Amendment violation.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:07 pm

Ralph wrote:There is nothing unique about this happening in France.
On the contrary. It is indeed happening with much greater frequency now where it didn't used to happen at all.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Ralph
Dittersdorf Specialist & CMG NY Host
Posts: 20996
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 6:54 am
Location: Paradise on Earth, New York, NY

Post by Ralph » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:08 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:There is nothing unique about this happening in France.
On the contrary. It is indeed happening with much greater frequency now where it didn't used to happen at all.
*****

Yes, it's happening more frequently but in many countries.
Image

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

Corlyss_D
Site Administrator
Posts: 27663
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2005 2:25 am
Location: The Great State of Utah
Contact:

Post by Corlyss_D » Thu Jan 04, 2007 11:11 pm

Ralph wrote:Yes, it's happening more frequently but in many countries.
In countries with a much lower tolerance for violence than we have in this country.
Corlyss
Contessa d'EM, a carbon-based life form

Barry
Posts: 10230
Joined: Fri Apr 02, 2004 3:50 pm

Post by Barry » Fri Jan 05, 2007 12:13 am

Ralph wrote:In my career I've received death threats for statements made in public or published. Depending on the subject, that kind of response comes with the territory. There is nothing unique about this happening in France.
And yet, you didn't have to move or go into hiding and you haven't been murdered as a result of statements you've made on various issues. I dare say the same would probably not be the case for Mr. Redeker if he didn't take drastic steps to protect himself.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

jack stowaway
Posts: 922
Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2006 9:17 pm

Post by jack stowaway » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:15 am

Barry Z wrote:
Ralph wrote:In my career I've received death threats for statements made in public or published. Depending on the subject, that kind of response comes with the territory. There is nothing unique about this happening in France.
And yet, you didn't have to move or go into hiding and you haven't been murdered as a result of statements you've made on various issues. I dare say the same would probably not be the case for Mr. Redeker if he didn't take drastic steps to protect himself.
I agree. You can't compare isolated death-threats with the sustained and orchestrated campaign of intimidation waged by Islamic radicals in their on-going war against free speech.

The case provides further evidence of the undeclared extension of Sharia laws concerning blasphemy to non-Muslims. Mr Redecker must find the failure of the French political and medial elite to defend cherished principles particularly depressing.

burnitdown
Posts: 229
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2006 1:15 am
Contact:

Post by burnitdown » Sun Jan 07, 2007 11:09 pm

400 cars burned in Paris over New Years'.

Ethnic conflict is coming, because multiculturalism doesn't work.

Locked

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests