The presence of a staff from the Mossos d’Esquadra at one of the entrances to Moià street in Barcelona suggested that the event scheduled in the headquarters of the Institut Français of the Catalan capital required some very unusual security measures. That’s how it was. she starred in it Richard Malkaa middle-aged Parisian dressed in black who for years has been condemned to live with police protection 24 hours a day due to his status as a lawyer for the satirical weekly ‘Charlie Hebdo’.
Malka, who in addition to being a legal professional (with her own office in the elegant 8th District of Paris) is a writer and cartoonist, was in Barcelona to participate in a talk about the book ‘The right to shit on God’ (Libros del Zorzal), a booklet that includes the plea made by the lawyer during the trial for the attacks on January 7, 2015, when the brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi broke into the headquarters of ‘Charlie Hebdo’ armed with assault rifles. and, shouting “Let’s avenge Allah!”, killed 12 people and injured 11 others. Malka was accompanied in her conversation by her editor Leopold Kulesz and the writer and polemicist (and collaborator of EL PERIÓDICO) Juan Soto Ivars.
praise of laughter
The act was planned as “a fundamentalist defense & rdquor; freedom of expression and, more specifically, the right to blaspheme. “Blasphemers have never killed anyone; on the contrary, it is they who are killed& rdquor;, Malka pointed out, before embarking on a praise of humor and satire as essential pieces of any system of freedoms. “Caricature is the guardian of freedom of expression. When we laugh at ourselves and make others laugh, violence disappears. Laughter is the weapon of pacifists and that is why fans fear it so much.”
However, the diagnosis that both Malka and Soto Ivars and Kulesz made of the situation that freedom of expression is going through today seemed to invite more tears than laughter. “This is a fight we thought we had won,” explained the lawyer. Since the mid-60s, progress has been made in this field and until the first decade of the 2000s we lived through a period of grace. But from then on the situation has deteriorated, and the paradox arises that the main enemies of freedom of expression are no longer the state, the law or the church, but they are among the people & rdquor ;. Why has that happened? Malka assured that the rise of fanaticism has coincided with the appearance of “a new sensibility according to which we should not offend or hurt anyone & rdquor ;; an ideology, he pointed out, that “is born with good intentions & rdquor ;, but that, by granting certain groups” the ontological category of victim & rdquor ;, can end up “justifying any barbarity & rdquor ;.
The three speakers quickly identified this “new sensitivity & rdquor; with the call cultural or identity left (“The fluffy left”, in the words of Soto Ivars), which they accused of allying with religious fundamentalism to repress freedom of expression. And they pointed to social networks as a tool (paradoxical) that has allowed them to advance in their campaign to restore censorship. “Social networks are the mob, the crowd,” Malka said. The crowd is not democracy; in fact, it is the opposite of the rule of law. And that crowd is destroying the foundations that we have taken centuries to build.”
The ‘Charlie Hebdo’ lawyer defined himself as “a man of the left whom the left has abandoned& rdquor ;. And he launched a fatalistic omen: “When values such as the defense of secularism and freedom of expression are abandoned by the left and pass to the right and even to the extreme right, things can end very badly & rdquor ;.
At one point in the conversation, Malka commented in passing that, unlike France, Spain is one of the European countries that still maintains in its penal code the punishment for the offense against religious sentiments. Precisely, the lawyer and writer’s visit to Barcelona coincided in time with the decision of a judge from Sant Feliu de Llobregat to admit for processing the complaint filed by the far-right Christian Lawyers association against the TV-3 presenters Toni Soler and Jair Domínguez and the actress Judit Martín on account of a ‘sketch’ about the Virgen del Rocío broadcast on the program ‘Està passant’. For some reason, none of the participants in the talk thought it pertinent to mention this matter.