Diana Johnstone wrote the following yesterday concluding her extended report from Paris:
Charlie Hebdo was not in reality a model of freedom of speech. It has ended up, like so much of the “human rights left”, defending U.S.-led wars against “dictators”.
In 2002, Philippe Val, who was editor in chief at the time, denounced Noam Chomsky for anti-Americanism and excessive criticism of Israel and of mainstream media. In 2008, another of Charlie Hebdo’s famous cartoonists, Siné, wrote a short note citing a news item that President Sarkozy’s son Jean was going to convert to Judaism to marry the heiress of a prosperous appliance chain. Siné added the comment, “He’ll go far, this lad.” For that, Siné was fired by Philippe Val on grounds of “anti-Semitism”. Siné promptly founded a rival paper which stole a number of Charlie Hebdo readers, revolted by CH’s double standards.
In short, Charlie Hebdo was an extreme example of what is wrong with the “politically correct” line of the current French left. The irony is that the murderous attack by the apparently Islamist killers has suddenly sanctified this fading expression of extended adolescent revolt, which was losing its popular appeal, into the eternal banner of a Free Press and Liberty of Expression. Whatever the murderers intended, this is what they have achieved. Along with taking innocent lives, they have surely deepened the sense of brutal chaos in this world, aggravated distrust between ethnic groups in France and in Europe, and no doubt accomplished other evil results as well. In this age of suspicion, conspiracy theories are certain to proliferate.