Does the hypocrisy of the French elite have no limit?
French President Emmanuel Macron is suing a billboard owner who depicted him as Adolf Hitler to protest COVID-19 restrictions.
Macron is not happy about this cartoon. But when it comes to cartoons insulting Islam, he is a brave defender of free speech. As he puts it:
“I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw.”
Emmanuel Macron: "I will always defend in my country the freedom to speak, to write, to think, to draw.”
Also Emmanuel Macron: no no not like that pic.twitter.com/7fM86LQTIA
— Munir A Hussein (@Munir566) July 30, 2021
France really needs to clarify its stance on cartoons. What are the lines of freedom of expression exactly?
Historically in France, the Enlightenment thinkers thought it was necessary to establish free speech as a means toward productive public debate. According to them, censorship was the way of monarchs and dictators, not the way of freedom and democracy. As such, the French Republic claimed that it exhibited tolerance to even the most vile blasphemy and mockery.
History proves, however, that France’s “tolerance” does not extend to all forms of “blasphemy.”
Right after the French Revolution of 1789 you could be executed on simple accusation by your neighbors if you opposed the republic. In 1995, British historian Bernard Lewis lost in court for denial of Turkish genocide against Armenians. In 2006, French historian Robert Faurisson has been arrested for denial of the existence of Gas Chamber in Nazi’s concentration camp. In 2015, the French humorist Dieudonnee was sued for saying “I am not Charlie.”
Most recently, France has required mosques and imams to sign a loyalty declaration to promise they will not teach anything contrary to the secular values of France, in effect, a major restriction on Muslim speech.
This not only makes France’s claim to freedom of speech and tolerance look like a farce, it also makes the entire concept of freedom of speech look silly and meaningless.
Going back to Macron, what should we say and think about this cartoon of him as Hitler? Let’s quote the statement of President Macron himself, made in 2020:
“There is in France a freedom to blaspheme which is attached to the freedom of conscience. I am here to protect all these freedoms. In France, one can criticize a president, governors, blaspheme”
Does French law allow Muslims to win lawsuits against the politicians, the online trolls, the Zionist agitators that insult Islam? No, in fact, all levels of the French government come to the defense of these people and even amplifies their insults by, for example, projecting their cartoons on French government buildings.
France institutionally protects attackers against Islam but allows politicians like Macron the ability to launch punitive lawsuits against those who insult them.
Does anyone take France seriously anymore?