Death penalty for Salman Rushdie and Bernard-Henri Lévy

Submitted as a petition to the European Parliament on 28 March 2006.

I petition the European Parliament to impose the death penalty on Salman Rushdie and Bernard-Henri Lévy, the two most prominent signatories of a manifesto against Islamism published in February 2006 (by Charlie Hebdo and Jyllands-Posten), for...

1. making false public statements for political purposes, without sufficient moral justification

2. attempting to severely harm others, without sufficient moral justification

3. attempting to impose liberal values on the entire planet

4. attempting to terminate freedom of conscience, by publicly advocating the imposition of liberal values on non-liberals

5. publicly advocating the imposition of priority of 'equality of opportunity' above 'equality of outcome', on those who choose equality of outcome

6. publicly advocating the imposition of 'freedom of expression', on those who reject it on valid moral grounds

7. falsely equating opposition to liberal values with cultural relativism, and falsely implying in a public statement, that non-liberal systems facilitate abuses and dogmas

8. falsely stating in public, that there are universal rights, and falsely implying that human rights end oppression or discrimination

9. publicly advocating the imposition of human rights, on those who do not want them, and have valid moral objections

10. publicly opposing the free political choice for totalitarian systems of government, and falsely stating that nothing justifies it

11. falsely equating totalitarianism in a public statement, with the four ideologies of fascism, Nazism, Stalinism, and Islamism.

12. falsely implying in a public statement, that supporters of totalitarianism (or opponents of democracy) support a theocracy

13. falsely equating totalitarianism in a public statement, with the destruction for freedom, and with inequality.

14. falsely stating in public, that all totalitarianisms are fed by fear and frustration.

The originally released French text of the manifesto is as follows, with my translation into English:

Après avoir vaincu le fascisme, le nazisme, et le stalinisme, le monde fait face à une nouvelle menace globale de type totalitaire : l'islamisme.

After having conquered fascism, Nazism and Stalinism, the world is facing a new form of totalitarian global threat: Islamism.

Nous, écrivains, journalistes, intellectuels, appelons à la résistance au totalitarisme religieux et à la promotion de la liberté, de l'égalité des chances et de la laïcité pour tous.

We - writers, journalists, intellectuals - call for resistance to religious totalitarianism, and for the promotion of liberty, equality of opportunity, and secularism, for all.

Les évènements récents, survenus suite à la publication de dessins sur Mahomet dans des journaux européens, ont mis en évidence la nécessité de la lutte pour ces valeurs universelles. Cette lutte ne se gagnera pas par les armes, mais sur le terrain des idées. Il ne s'agit pas d'un choc des civilisations ou d'un antagonisme Occident - Orient, mais d'une lutte globale qui oppose les démocrates aux théocrates.

The recent events, which followed the publication of cartoons of Mohammed in European newspapers, have shown the necessity of struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by force of arms, but on the field of ideas. This is not about a Clash of Civilisation, or hostility between Occident and Orient: it is about a global struggle between democrats and theocrats.

Comme tous les totalitarismes, l'islamisme se nourrit de la peur et de la frustration. Les prédicateurs de haine misent sur ces sentiments pour former les bataillons grâce auxquels ils imposeront un monde liberticide et inégalitaire. Mais nous le disons haut et fort : rien, pas même le désespoir, ne justifie de choisir l'obscurantisme, le totalitarisme et la haine. L'islamisme est une idéologie réactionnaire qui tue l'égalité, la liberté et la laïcité partout où il passe. Son succès ne peut aboutir qu'à un monde d'injustices et de domination : celle des hommes sur les femmes et celles des intégristes sur les autres. Nous devons au contraire assurer l'accès aux droits universels aux populations opprimées ou discriminées.

Like all totalitarianisms, Islamism is fed by fear and frustration. The preachers of hate manipulate these emotions, to recruit the troops with which they impose a freedom-destroying world, a world of inequality. But we say loudly and clearly: nothing, not even despair, justifies a choice for obscurantism, totalitarianism and hatred. Islamism is a reactionary ideology which destroys equality, liberty and secularism, wherever it goes. Its success can only lead to a world of injustices and domination, domination of women by men, and domination of the fundamentalists over all others. We must, as an alternative to this, guarantee access to universal rights, for all oppressed or discriminated populations.

Nous refusons le "relativisme culturel" consistant à accepter que les hommes et les femmes de culture musulmane soient privés du droit à l'égalité, à la liberté et à la laïcité au nom du respect des cultures et des traditions. Nous refusons de renoncer à l'esprit critique par peur d'encourager l' "islamophobie", concept malheureux qui confond critique de l'islam en tant que religion et stigmatisation des croyants.

We reject 'cultural relativism', which in the name of respect for cultures and tradition, accepts that men and women of Muslim cultural background are deprived of the right to equality, liberty and secularism. We refuse to renounce the spirit of critical thought, as if it might encourage 'Islamophobia' - a worthless concept, which confuses criticism of Islam as a religion, with stigmatisation of its believers.

Nous plaidons pour l'universalisation de la liberté d'expression, afin que l'esprit critique puisse s'exercer sur tous les continents, envers tous les abus et tous les dogmes.

We advocate the universal spread of freedom of expression, so that the critical spirit can exercise its influence on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas.

Nous lançons un appel aux démocrates et aux esprits libres de tous les pays pour que notre siècle soit celui de la lumière et non de l'obscurantisme.

We launch an appeal to all democrats, and to all lovers of freedom in all countries, to ensure that this century will be the century of Enlightenment, and not of obscurantism.

Like all liberals, the signatories of this manifesto claim to promote freedom. In reality they seek a global tyranny of liberalism - which by definition would be imposed on non-liberals, by force and repression. The manifesto attempts to justify this 'total liberalisation' of human society, as the sole alternative to a global Islamic theocracy - but that is no more than propaganda. Since they are convinced of the absolute truth of their position, and of their moral entitlement to impose their political regime, the signatories of the petition form a threat, to the lives and security of all those who think differently.

The liberal democracies are neither 'free' nor 'equal'. They are characterised by huge internal inequalities in wealth, income, health, and life expectancy. The liberal-democratic process offers no structural alternative, by which its victims can escape its outcomes. As states, the liberal democracies selfishly refuse to share their wealth with the millions of people who die each year, for simple lack of food and medical treatment. They fortify their borders with walls, fences, and razor wire, to exclude the poor - and shoot immigrants as a last resort. They export not freedom, but bombardment and torture. By falsely presenting liberal democracy as equivalent to freedom and equality, Rushdie and Lévy are complicit in all these deaths, and in all the human suffering caused by liberal values. In this historical context, the death penalty is neither immoral nor disproportionate.

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