French resistance

February 16, 2006

On 11 February, Paris was the site of another demonstration by Islamists against the Danish cartoons. This time there was a difference: a quiet counter-protest by two members of La Brigade d’Argent des Francais — the ones in the white coats and blue and red caps — holding placards in support of the cartoonists, Denmark and free speech.

It took a while for the crowd to catch on, but when it did, things got ugly.

Eventually the two were hustled away by the police, who told them, ‘They are going to lynch you!’

Who said les francais have no spunk? (But hang on — do Arthur Wneir and Erik Svane sound French to you?)

You can watch the video here.

More at No Pasaran!



  1. Now, Rob, you’re a dab hand at interpreting images, seeing how expertly you winkled anti-Semitism out of Leunig’s cartoon that may or may not be equating the Holocaust with Israel’s treatment of the people of the Occupied Territories (I see a Jew entering the prison of Aushwitz, and I see a Jew entering the prison of perpetual war. But perhaps I’m not looking at it right, or not looking for the right things in it) which is apparently an anti-Semitic equation to make these days, a memo I must have missed. So how do you interpret this image, which those two brave French satirists were carrying with them? A severed hand, hmmm? I wonder what possible meanings it might enfold? Whatever they are, I’m sure they’re all entirely about freedom of speech and other Western Enlightenment values. I don’t imagine any other interpretation was intended, or any other bigoted stereotype being alluded to. They’re obviously such nice chaps after all, almost as charming as the types at No Pasaran.

    Your weblog has nice tree photos.

  2. I guess I would answer that Auschwitz was not a prison – it was an extermination camp, an instrument of conscious, deliberate genocide. To equate it with Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians strikes me as morally revolting. If Leunig wanted to make the kind of point you suggest, he surely picked the wrong image to communicate it. But then, I think Leunig is a naif, and was dealing with images and echoes far more powerful than his own art (which I in general admire).

    As for the severed hand – which held a pen between its fingers – I think it made a point about suppression of the freedom of the artist, and the delimbing instincts of tyrannical and despotic regimes. It’s also possible it referred to Sharia law’s admonitions to lop off the hands of miscreants.

    The trees: thanks. I intend to shoot more pictures of ghost gums and post them here. I’ve not seen many things more beautiful than a ghost gum in the Central Australian desert when the light fades.

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