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Date: 07/02/15

The Offensive 'Culture Of Offence'

One of the things which has most disgusted me about the aftermath of the massacre at Charlie Hebdo last month has been the way in which those who self-describe as 'liberal' or 'progressive' have sold out by implying - nothing stronger than that, of course, because they're all very nice people - that the staff of the magazine were somehow asking for it. This terrible crime was one they committed out of either 'punching down' at an 'oppressed' culture (I've not noticed how Islam is 'oppressed' in the world today, seeing as it determines the policies of states from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the mid-Pacific, have you?), or out of a desire to be 'gratuitously' offensive to people's 'deeply-held spiritual beliefs'.

(As an aside, I don't see any point in being ungratuitously offensive: it takes all the fun out of it. Anyway...)

The poisonous notion of the existence of such a 'culture of offence' is one which has found ready purchase right across the ideological spectrum, from the slobbering racists of UKIP, via soi-disant 'liberals' in The Guardian (or so I have to assume solely on past form; the Grundiad website's new layout and structure makes it practically impossible to find anything except the advertisements), right across to the drivelling idiots of the Socialist Workers' Party and hectoring apologists such as 'Gorgeous George' Galloway.

Luckily, there have been a few courageous voices to counteract the trend (but only, alas, a few). One of them is Maryam Namazie, activist, author and ex-Muslim, who made these remarks at a panel discussion at University College London at the end of last month.