Lost in Translation, Lost in Context

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PEN America generated quite a controversy when it decided to honor French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo. Six authors called for a boycott of the gala and circulated a petition slamming the organization. Other authors, like Salman Rushdie, criticized the critics. Despite all the back-and-forth, the one perspective that seemed missing from the discussion was that of French Muslims. Now Vice has gone ahead and asked some. While the opinions of a few may be anecdotal, their answers might surprise some critics of PEN America, like French-born author Mabrouch Rachedi:

Cabu, Wolinski, and Charb were very famous cartoonists; I’d grown up with them. The act of calling them racists is a complete misread of what these caricaturists stood for in France. They were, in every struggle, against the [far right-wing party] National Front.


Ian MacAllen is the Rumpus Deputy Editor and founder of English Kills Review an online literary magazine focused on books, authors, and New York City. His writing has appeared in Joyland Magazine, The Billfold, Fiction Advocate, Electric Cereal, Thought Catalog, and io9. He holds a Master’s Degree in English from Rutgers University and lives in Brooklyn. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →