Only politically correct free expression accepted by lefty writers
PEN International is an organization of writers which cherishes freedom of expression; it boldly state this in its charter.
PEN International promotes literature and freedom of expression and is governed by the PEN Charter and the principles it embodies: unhampered transmission of thought within each nation and between all nations.
PEN International is the worlds leading association of writers, working to promote literature and defend freedom of expression around the world. PEN was founded by the British poet, playwright and peace activist C.A. Dawson-Scott, as an international club providing space for writers to share ideas and as a forum, uniting writers irrespective of their culture, language or political opinion. Today PEN International connects an international community of writers from its Secretariat in London, spanning over 100 countries, with 149 PEN Centres worldwide.
Disturbed by the slaughter in Paris, France of writers for Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical magazine that often mocked Mohammed--among others--by Muslims, members of PEN's American Center is planning to honor the magazine with its annual Freedom of Expression Courage Award this week.
Eeeek! For many writers of the leftist persuasion there is freedom of expression but, most importantly, politically correct freedom of expression. Honoring Charlie Hebdo violated the basic tenets of the latter and so some writers withdrew from the award celebration and gala dinner with "vehemence" according to Phyllis Chesler, feminist, professor, psychologist and author.
The novelists Peter Carey, Michael Ondaatje, Francine Prose, Teju Cole, Rachel Kushner, and Taiye Salasi have withdrawn from the event which will be held at the American Museum of Natural History. They have done so with great “vehemence.”
This is particularly frightening because we are talking about some very distinguished novelists. Carey won the Man Booker Prize not once but twice (just like Hilary Mantel); Michael Ondaatje also won the Man Booker Prize for The English Patient; Francine Prose has been a President of PEN and is a successful novelist in her own right; she has claimed, in the pages of The Guardian, that the “narrative of the Charlie Hebdo murders—white Europeans killed in their offices by Muslim extremists—is one that feeds neatly into the cultural prejudices that have allowed our government to make so many disastrous mistakes in the Middle East.”
She goes further. While insisting she is in favor of free speech and against censorship, she does not believe that Charlie Hebdo deserves an “award.” She writes:
“The First Amendment guarantees the right of the neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois, but we don’t give them an award.” Shockingly, (at least in my view), she writes that “Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning” are more worthy of such an award.
Prose is a professor at Bard College—where another writer who withdrew at the last moment, Teju Cole, is now a Distinguished Writer in Residence.
Rachel Kushner is a graduate of Berkeley; her first novel, Telex from Cuba, which explores the colonialist roots of the Cuban Revolution, was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Taiye Selasi comes from a very distinguished family and her first novel Ghana Must Go, was hailed as a magnificent debut in all the venues that matter.
None of these writers are lightweights or fools. All are serious leftists and are therefore, “distinguished” prize winners. They are also pro-Islamist and remain at odds with the very Western enterprise that has fostered them so well. (snip)
Update: Now, 145 PEN writers, including the six hosts who have withdrawn have publicly written to PEN protesting the award being given to the survivors of the Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre. Editorials and blog posts are being fired across the bows so to speak of the PEN mother ship.
Unsurprisingly, some left and pro-Palestinian Jews are among the signatories: Deena Metzger, Sarah Schulman, and Deborah Eisenberg to name a few—and then there is Deborah Baker who wrote a biography of an American Jewish woman who converted to Islam, moved to Pakistan, and became a potent voice for radical Islamism.
Actually, this is not shocking at all; Chesler's descriptions of those who withdrew, "all are serious leftists...they are also pro-Islamist and remain at odds with the very Western enterprise that has fostered them so well" describes much of seemingly puzzling leftist behavior. Wracked with guilt over their comfort while others suffer, they hate what supports them but would never move to the societies they theoretically admire from a safe distance.
Salman Rushdie, a Muslim writer from one of those leftist admired societies and had to flee when he dared criticize other Muslims and Islam and is consequently now an assassination target, living with guards said that although Mr. Ondjaate and Mr. Carey were “old friends,” that in this matter they are “horribly wrong.” He further hoped that “if PEN cannot defend and celebrate people who have been murdered for drawing pictures, then frankly, the organization is not worth the name….I hope nobody ever comes after them.”
Oh, what does Rushdie know? He lived in those leftist admired societies before successfully fleeing to find refuge in one of the leftist hated societies. Exploding leftist dreams makes them very angry and more incompetent as they lose their anchors, their foundations. And so they lash out. But they will never leave their hated society.