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's fiction has appeared in 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, Joyland Magazine, and elsewhere and nonfiction has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, The Negatives, Electric Literature, Fiction Advocate, and elsewhere. He is the Deputy Editor of The Rumpus, holds an MA in English from Rutgers University, tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at IanMacAllen.com. More from this author →