The interview with Die Zeit is astonishing: “I feel much freer in Algeria than in France.” This shocking disclosure is from an Algerian writer who collected literary prizes in France, from the Mauriac to the Goncourt for his first novel.
On January 31, 2016, Kamel Daoud published an article on the events in Cologne in the French newspaper Le Monde .
What Cologne showed, says Daoud, is how sex is “the greatest misery in the world of Allah”.
So is the refugee a 'savage?'
"No. But he is different. And giving him papers and a place in a hostel is not enough. It is not just the physical body that needs asylum. It is also the soul that needs to be persuaded to change”.
A few days later, Le Monde ran a response by sociologists, historians and anthropologists who accused Daoud of “recycling orientalist cliches” and of being an “Islamophobe.”
It was anathema for the “bête noire des intégristes”, (the fundamentalists' bad guy) as Daoud was defined. The writer announced his decision to abandon journalism.
The attacks on this brave Algerian novelist and journalist also came from the London Review of Books, the journal of the Anglo-Saxon liberal elites, which defines Daoud as “irresponsible”. Rafik Chekkat called Daoud “the native informant,” arguing that “his decision to leave journalism would be the only good news in the midst of all this noise.” The Mediapart electronic magazine wondered: “Is Daoud Islamophobic?”, while its patron, Edwy Plenel, asked Daoud to issue an “apology.”
Olivier Roy, an Islamic scholar, published an article in Libération that, without ever naming Daoud, charged the writer of stigmatizing the Muslims. Jeanne Favret-Saada, an orientalist at the Ecole pratique des hautes études, wrote that Daoud “spoke as the European far right.” Jocelyne Dakhlia, professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, charged Daoud with “a culturalist vision of sexual violence.”
Daoud received a supportive phone call from the Prime Minister of his country, Abdelmalek Sellal, and has been openly defended in the press only by a few Arab colleagues.
One is Karim Akouche, who wrote in the magazine Marianne: “Our time is absurd, ridiculous, violent. They shoot without warning to those who dare shake (question, ed.) clichés (…)The voice of Daoud is more essential than ever for healing the ‘disease of Islam’”.
The Franco-Tunisian writer Fawzia Zouari wrote in Libération that the Left is silencing criticism like the bearded terrorists do, while Serenade Chafik, the author of “Repudiation”, pointed that “while the Islamists around the world shouted ‘death to blasphemers’, some journalists accused their colleagues from Charlie Hebdo of xenophobia. ‘Islamophobia’ has become the verdict of the new inquisitors and their Islamo-leftist Western friends.”
The Moroccan entrepreneur Ahmed Charai defended Daoud saying that “the intellectuals, at risk of their lives, are fighting for the universal values, but they are treated as ‘Islamophobic’. This is a great defeat of thought.”
Boualem Sansal, the author of the successful novel “2084” (Gallimard), said that Daoud is attacked by a “thought police lurking in the tall structures of culture and information.” According to Sansal, “saving Daoud means saving freedom, justice and truth.”
It is what happened to Salman Rushdie after the release of the “Satanic Verses”, when so many left-wing writers attacked not the Iranian Khomeini, but the writer: Roald Dahl, celebrated author of amusing children’s books, said that “Rushdie is a dangerous opportunist,” George Steiner, one of the most respected cultural critics, declared that “Rushdie has made sure to create a lot of problems,” Kingsley Amis commented that “if you go looking for trouble, you can not complain when you find it,” while the historian Hugh Trevor-Roper said to enjoy the suffering of Rushdie.
And it will happen again with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the most brave and important Islamic dissident. In the book “Murder in Amsterdam” and in a series of articles for the New York Review of Books and The New York Times, leftist relativists such as Ian Buruma and Timothy Garton Ash attacked Hirsi Ali. Her call for the emancipation of women marked her as an “Enlightenment fundamentalist.”
A few days after the murder of Theo van Gogh, The Index on censorship, the magazine founded by Stephen Spender to defend freedom of expression during the Cold War, published an essay by Rohan Jayasekera, associate director of Index, which described Hirsi Ali as a silly girl manipulated by Van Gogh in a “relation of exploitation.”
And when the Netherlands deprived Hirsi Ali of the bodyguards she needed for protection, the appeal to assign her protection of the European Union, promoted by French Socialist Benoît Hamon, failed in the absence of a sufficient number of votes, when only 144 of 782 supported the motion.
This is the terrible meaning of the “Daoud Affair.”
A great Arab writer told some important truths and the European intellectuals, instead of thanking and protecting him while Islamists threaten him with death, exhorted this novelist to choose silence, to take refuge in the novel, to surrender to his executioners.
It is an echo of what happened to Tahar Djaout, another famous Algerian writer, killed in 1993 by Islamists. The manuscript of his last novel was found among his papers after the assassination.
It recalls André Glucksmann’s famous title: “Silence on tue.” Silence, it kills!