Dear Joyce Carol Oates,

you are among the 145 writers who signed a letter protesting PEN’s decision to honor the magazine Charlie Hebdo with the PEN/Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award in response to the January 7 attacks that claimed the lives of many members of its editorial staff. Let me address you in representation of all writers who signed the letter, especially the female element of it. The letter states:

„It is clear and inarguable that the murder of a dozen people in the Charlie Hebdo offices is sickening and tragic (…) We do not believe in censoring expression. An expression of views, however disagreeable, is certainly not to be answered by violence or murder.“

I am relieved to hear that!

„However, there is a critical difference between staunchly supporting expression that violates the acceptable, and enthusiastically rewarding such expression.“

Uh Oh, I hear a „but“ standing right behind the next corner and that but is you!

„To the section of the French population that is already marginalized, embattled, and victimized, a population that is shaped by the legacy of France’s various colonial enterprises, and that contains a large percentage of devout Muslims, Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet must be seen as being intended to cause further humiliation and suffering.“

On the same day the cartoonists were killed, because they drew pictures of Mohammed, four men were killed by an accomplice for being Jewish. I had that horrible deed in mind when I read the next sentence of your letter:

„Our concern is that, by bestowing the Toni and James C. Goodale Freedom of Expression Courage Award on Charlie Hebdo, PEN is not simply conveying support for freedom of expression, but also valorizing selectively offensive material: material that intensifies the anti-Islamic,
anti-Maghreb, anti-Arab sentiments already prevalent in the Western world.“

According to the terrorist who killed the four Jews it was offensive being Jewish. How concerned are you because of that?

A lot of fundamentalists also consider independant writing women anti-Islamic. What about their feelings, Joyce? These fellows feel offended by women like you! Maybe you should give back all the awards you received, because you are a writing woman and let us be clear:

„To the section of the male population that is already marginalized, embattled, and victimized, a population that is shaped by the legacy of Western’s various feminist enterprises, and that contains a large percentage of devout Muslims, independant writing women must be seen as being intended to cause further humiliation and suffering.“

Evelyn Beatrice Hall was an English writer best known for her biography of Voltaire. She wrote the phrase „I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it“ (which is often misattributed to Voltaire himself) as an illustration of Voltaire’s beliefs. Hall’s quotation is often cited to describe the principle of freedom of speech.

Dear Joyce,

I’ve got the feeling that you would have even signed a letter protesting an award given to Voltaire because he dared to mock religion. You can sign and say whatever you want, I will always defend your right to say it. In case you get killed for the bullshit you just signed, I would even approve an feminist award given to you!

No one will kill you for the letter you signed. I don’t have to risk my life for you. That gives me the opportunity to tell you something very personal. I will use the french language to say it:

FUCK YOU!

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