Je Suis Charlie, Toujours
I’ve been reading up on how the PEN gala in New York went down last Tuesday, and am pleased that it seemed to have gone smoothly, with a standing ovation for the surviving members of Charlie Hebdo.
And three of my heroes—the writers and graphic-novelists Neil Gaiman, Alison Bechdel and Art Spiegelman—agreed to host the tables relinquished by writers protesting PEN’s decision to honor CH.
Splendid writers—Francine Prose, Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner and Taiye Selasi, and many others—who came to a strangely wrongheaded view that CH is racist.
I applaud what Michael Moynihan wrote in the Daily Beast on May 5:
“Should you trust the judgments of newly minted French satire experts, most of whom don’t speak French and have never held a copy of the newspaper? Or should you trust Dominique Sopo, the Togolese-French president of SOS-Racisme, France’s most celebrated anti-racism organization, who made the obvious point that Charlie Hebdo was the ‘most anti-racist newspaper’ in the country? Those accusing his murdered friends of supporting the very things they so passionately opposed, Sopo said, were either motivated by ‘stupidity or intellectual dishonesty…Every week in Charlie Hebdo—every week—half of it was against racism, against anti-Semitism, against anti-Muslim hatred.’”