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J'accuse: The "Charlie Hebdo" Outrage, Ten Years Later [by David Lehman]


On January 7, 2015, thugs emboldened by appeasers murdered the editors of "Charlie Hebdo," the Paris-based satirical magazine. They also killed Jews at a grocer. From the BBC report: << The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been attacked by gunmen, who have killed 12 people at its Paris offices. It is the worst attack on a magazine which has been hit by violence before. >>

PEN decided to honor the fallen editors, and the srviving staff, with its "courage award." Not a truly contoversial choice, you would think. Nevertheless, 242 writers aded their names to a petition protesting the award. Francine Prose and Teju Cole  circulated the petition, which argues that << Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet must be seen as being intended to cause further humiliation and suffering. Our concern is that, by bestowing the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award on Charlie Hebdo, PEN is not simply conveying support for freedom of expression, but also valorizing selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic, anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world. >>

PEN is suposed to stand for the rights of writers, editors, and publishers. But 244 writers affilliaterd with the organization actually concurred with the statement that << What is neither clear nor inarguable is the decision to confer an award for courageous freedom of expression on Charlie Hebdo, or what criteria, exactly, were used to make that decision. >>

All they did, the murdered editors, was die for freedom of the press.
All they did was die for freedom of the press.
All they did was die fo tright to express their opinions.
All they did was die.

Here is a partial list of the writers who signed the petition, a craven lot, who do not think it is courageous to risk your life because there are terrorists., emboldened by appeasement, who commit multiple acts of terminal censorship. All they did was kill.

Russell Banks
Helen Benedict
Christopher Benfey
Cara Benson
John Berger
Eric Bogosian
Peter Carey
Jane Ciabattari
Carmela Ciuraru
Ted Conover
John D’Agata
Katherine Dalsimer
Emily M. Danforth
Tod Davies
Annabel Davis-Goff
Siddhartha Deb
Sonali Deraniyagala
Jason Diamond
Junot Díaz
Stephen Dobyns
Geoff Dyer
Deborah Eisenberg
Hedi El Kholti|
Trey Ellis
Eve Ensler
Elizabeth Enslin
Barbara Epler
Ali Eteraz
Percival Everett
Monica Ferrell
Frances FitzGerald
Edwin Frank
John Freeman
Ru Freeman
Nell Freudenberger
Molly Friedrich
Forrest Gander
Suzanne Gardinier
Johanna Garfield
Gretchen Gerzina
Keith Gessen
Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Francisco Goldman
Jorie Graham
John Guare
Jessica Hagedorn
Brian Hall
Theodore Hamm
Lis Harris
Edward Hoagland
Paul Kan
John Keahey
Daniel J. Kevles
Uzma Aslam Khan
Eugenia Kim
Dave King
Gilbert King
Amitava Kumar
Rachel Kushner
Joy Ladin
Amy Lawless
Zachary Lazar
David Leavitt
Jonathan Lee
Katherine Leiner
Ben Lerner
Ted Lewin
Craig Lucas
Janet Malcolm
Charlotte Mandell
Patrick McGrath
Clarissa McNair
Deena Metzger
Thais Miller
Vica Miller
Kyle Minor
Rick Moody
Lorrie Moore
Bradford Morrow
Judith Nies
Joyce Carol Oates
Michael Ondaatje
Peter Orner
Raj Patel
Chris Pavone
William Pierce
Francine Prose
Marcus Rediker
David Roediger
Luc Sante
Steven Schroeder
Sarah Schulman
Elissa Schappell
Vijay Seshadri
Wallace Shawn
Elisabeth Sifton
Tom Sleigh
Holly Goldberg Sloan
Betsy Sussler
Emily Gray Tedrowe
Ted Thompson
Kathleen Tolan
Pauls Toutonghi
Joanne Turnbull
Chase Twichell
Eliot Weinberger
Jon Wiener

Shame on you!

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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