Salman Rushdie’s right about Charlie Hebdo. Cowardice in the face of gunmen is one thing. Served up cold, it’s another

My freedom of speech: Hell is eternal, Hell is eternal, Hell is eternal!!!

Alex Grant

What is it about some sections of the liberal left and Charlie Hebdo? The decision of six authors to withdraw from PEN’s annual gala, over the organisation’s decision to honour Charlie Hebdo with its ‘Freedom of Expression Courage’ award, is stomach-churning. The Pontius Pilate-like excuses of one of those authors, Francine Prose, about how she deplores the slaughter of Charlie Hebdo’s journalists but can’t support a posthumous award being given to them, is one of the worst bits of nonsense I’ve read in years.

The Guardian’s stance shortly after the massacre on January 7th was almost as craven: editor Alan Rusbridger argued that “he didn’t agree that it was necessary to show solidarity by republishing the offensive cartoons”.

This fence-sitting results in some contorted thinking. According to Prose – who even likens the Charlie Hebdo staff to  neo-Nazis marching in Illinois – the unforgivable crime of being “white Europeans killed in…

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