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[Please note that links to the Internet Archive may take a minute or two to download.]

‘One person’s freedom [of expression] ends where another’s begins.’

Some posts do not age well at all. Blog posts are like the words we say to people in conversations and there are times when we wish we had not said a particular sentence or a particular string of sentences to somebody. Similarly there are posts which we wish we had not written and certainly not published. Yet I am NOT going to delete this post. I am not going to do so because I believe that there is some educational value in leaving it online: it will serve as an example of what happens when one decides not to exercise one’s critical thinking and when one thus leaves one’s mind (and soul) at the mercy of highly manipulative and dark forces bent on sowing dissension and strife between the religious faiths and on fuelling hatred so as to justify the chaos that they are bringing upon the Middle East.

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The languages are different, but the titles are almost identical; this can only mean that the same ‘phenomenon’ is taking place in various countries…

Although I came to realise this in full and earnest only in the immediate aftermath of the Paris attacks of 13th November 2015 (with the ensuing unleashing of government propaganda in various countries in favour of military intervention in Iraq), I understood really for the first time that some were pursuing a dark and evil agenda when I attended a conference given by a famous French science fiction author on 5th September 2015 during which this author said that he believed in the ‘clash of civilisations’ – incidentally, a topic which had nothing to do with the conference.

On Thursday 3rd March 2016, I stumbled across the last piece of the Houellebecq jigsaw as far as I am concerned when I spotted in a municipal library a leaflet announcing a colloquium on that author at the University of Lausanne. Because I now consider Mr Houellebecq to be part of the professional Islamophobia industry which is helping to bring about the dark, evil and hidden agenda I mentioned above, I was so shocked that the University of Lausanne had accepted to associate itself with this agenda – whether wittingly or not. Once home, I decided to find out whether the decision might in any way be construed as having been unwitting on the part of the university by looking up the prevalence of the association of Houellebecq and Islamophobia (by typing Houellebecq and islamophobie on Startpage.com).

This yielded two very interesting articles, one in French [the link provided is to the article saved at the Internet Archive], the other in English. Even more telling than the name of Mr Houellebecq’s literary agent or than some of the views this author has expressed regarding events in the Middle East was the fact that Mr Houellebecq published in 2008 a book based on the correspondence he had exchanged with somebody who is nothing else than a war criminal (based on the latter’s highly pro-active, almost unrelenting support for French military intervention in Libya). I even stumbled across an article (written by a former university professor [the link provided is to the article saved at the Internet Archive]) picking up on the coincidence of the date of publication of Mr Houellebecq’s novel, the front page cover of that week’s issue of Charlie Hebdo and the attack against that magazine…

As a result, I am now convinced that Mr Houellebecq is part of a long tradition of carefully designed provocations aimed at eliciting anger, public demonstrations with ideally bouts of violence from very fervent and especially flammable Muslims so as to create a very bad impression of Islam in the minds of non-Muslims in the West (Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses [the link provided is to the article saved at the Internet Archive], Flemming Rose’s Jyllands Posten cartoons, Charlie Hebdo’s multiple provocations against Islam and Muslims, etc). In turn, this helps to quell any moral qualms Westerners may harbour as to their governments’ endless, highly bloody and particularly devastating military interventions in the Middle East.

Given the all-pervasive propaganda against Islam and the Arabic world in Western media (a French author has amply documented this for the French television for a period of thirty years – see the picture below), it is all too easy to submit to the quasi Pavlovian responses some are trying to elicit from us. The real issue then, dear reader, should therefore be more as follows: ‘to submit or not to submit to this Machiavellian and particularly evil propaganda that is being manufactured for us by our media, that is the question’.

7th March 2016

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Thomas Deltombe, L’islam imaginaire. La construction médiatique de l’islamophobie en France, 1975-2005, Paris, La Découverte, 2005.

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To submit or not to submit, that is the question. Not a simple one I must admit, especially when your life is at stake.

Michel Houellebecq, the author of a highly controversial novel (BBC: Furore over novel depicting Muslim-run France’, 7 January 2015), has decided to stop the marketing of his new book and leave Paris for an undisclosed location (source: AFP as quoted in Libération of 8 January).

Charb versus Houellebecq[Le Monde of 7 January, Libération 8 January 2015]

Of course, it would be too easy to want to contrast Houellebecq with Charb (one of the cartoonists killed at Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday), who said in an interview two years ago that he would rather ‘stand up and die than live on his knees’ (source: Le Monde of 7 January). My point here is that people who like me had taken freedom of speech as something for granted in our societies will now have to reconsider their assumption.

Although I would point out that, in France, freedom of speech was probably killed some years ago, in 1993-94, when rehearsals for the staging of Voltaire’s play Le fanatisme, ou Mahomet le Prophète, at Ferney-Voltaire, near Geneva were cancelled, so that the play (which had been scheduled for the tricentenary of the playwright’s birth) was scrapped (source: Michel Renard ‘Tariq Ramadan et Voltaire : pièces pour un dossier). The irony of course was that Voltaire was instrumental to the setting up of freedom of speech in France and elsewhere in Europe:

Jean-François Lefebvre, chevalier de La Barre_Britannica

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