By now you would have heard about the events in Paris, at the offices of the paper Charlie Hebdo. The outrage, and the support, has been widespread – and better covered in actual new sites. We only want to say that the organisation known as PEN America has added to the worldwide condemnation. One of the signees is Woody Allen.
PEN is an international association of writers that promote writing, and free expression. They have published an open letter on their website, strongly condemning the shootings in Paris. The letter is signed by hundreds of writers, including Woody Allen.
As writers, editors, and artists we stand together today in solidarity and outrage at the murder of our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo in Paris. This attack on cartoonists, writers, and editors is an attack on free expression worldwide. It is an attempt to terrorize and intimidate all of us in order to inhibit the free flow of ideas.
Peaceful coexistence within diverse communities requires a climate of tolerance and an open exchange of views that includes criticism, humor, and hyperbole. The right to satirize, to question, to expose, to mock, even when offensive to some, is a bulwark of a free society. Today’s bloody retribution for the drawing and publishing of cartoons represents a terrifying challenge to these values of tolerance.
We call upon all governments, religious leaders, and civil society institutions to join us in condemnation of this vicious attack. We ask them to insist that however offensive speech may be to some, it is never a justification for violence.
We call upon responsible authorities and institutions to redouble their efforts to protect those working on the front lines of free expression worldwide who put themselves at personal risk to voice controversial viewpoints. Today’s effort to silence criticism by murdering the artists and writers who voice it must be met with a far wider movement to defend the right to dissent, which forms the spine of free expression
Other writers include Michael Chabon, Neil Gaiman, Daniel Handler, Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie, Art Spiegelman and many, many more.
We tend to avoid politics here. But Allen has signed his name, and surely part of that intent is to use his fame and influence to support PEN. It would be remiss for us, an Allen fansite, to not note it.
Allen has a long, long history with France, from Midnight In Paris to the famous line that ends Hollywood Ending – “Thank God the French exist.” We are using a screenshot from ‘Midnight In Paris‘ in lieu of….anything that makes sense. Our thoughts are with the victims families and all our friends in France.