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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Dear Terrorists:

OK, you win. We surrender.

Never thought I’d say that, but then, I never thought I’d see gunmen burst into the offices of a satirical magazine as happened last Wednesday in Paris. Never thought I’d see 12 people killed — most were employees, two were police officers — because a magazine published provocative cartoons mocking extremist Islam.

Here in the United States, as in France, as in pretty much every free place on the globe, we’ve cherished this crazy idea that people should be free to say whatever they darn well please. We have particularly believed in the power of humor, not simply as a means of expression, but as a way of puncturing the powerful and pricking the pretentious, of defying those who seek to make us fear.

But the bloodshed at Charlie Hebdo magazine forces us to realize the error of our ways. So I am here to announce that you have achieved your goal. From this moment on, no one on the planet — the entire planet, do you hear? — will ever, ever, ever again make fun of you. This is The End of Satire.

So you’ll hear no more cracks about Osama bin Gotten.

No one will ever again say you’re full of Shiite.

And you won’t have to hear anyone sing, “Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of an old Beach Boys song.

I even hear Jon Stewart is quitting The Daily Show to host a program on The Food Network, specializing in New Jersey cuisine. Mad magazine is going out of business and its famed mascot, the infidel Alfred E. Neuman, just became the latest journalist beheaded by ISIS. Bill Maher is teaching religious studies in Mississippi, Lewis Black is practicing Zen Buddhism and Stephen Colbert now claims “Stephen Colbert” was nothing more than a character he played.

You know, this isn’t easy for us. In America, we have a tradition, stretching from Mark Twain to Will Rogers, to Dick Gregory to Norman Lear to the aforementioned Jon Stewart, of using humor to make trenchant political points. Probably, the French have a similar tradition.

But we finally get what you’re saying: Allah don’t play that.

And not just Allah. Back in December, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un threatened “merciless” retaliation over The Interview, a (by all reports) silly comedy about two idiot American journalists who are asked to assassinate him. The FBI says a devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures, which released the film, originated in that hermit kingdom.

Take all that in conjunction with the 2006 riots after publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, the 2010 threat of a fatwa against South Park, a 2011 firebombing at Charlie Hebdo, and last year’s crackdown on Bassem Youssef, host of an Egyptian version of The Daily Show, and one thing becomes clear:

While we’ve fought forces of corruption, hypocrisy, totalitarianism and terror with reason, sanctions, humanitarian pleas and even violence, it turns out that what they really hate is when you laugh at them.

So, OK, message received. We won’t laugh at you again, ever, ever, ever. You win.

Indeed, I propose a new law: One may no longer place one’s tongue in one’s cheek under penalty of death. I’m also voting Boko Haram for school board. And from now on, no more pork on my fork. Do you know where I can get a deal on a burqa for my daughter? The one I’m pulling out of college immediately? Oh, and you’ll be happy to hear I’m growing my beard out and I’ve ordered my wife to grow one, too, just to be on the safe side. She says she can’t, but I’ll bet 40 lashes will make those follicles of hers think twice about their defiance.

Yes sir, satire is dead, and you killed it. Trust me. From now on, we will treat you only with the respect you deserve.

(Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via email at [email protected])

AFP Photo/ Bertrand Guay

  • mike

    Looks like we have already surrendered, Mr Pitts satirical attempt or not
    Where was the Obama Administration yesterday in Paris? Holder didn’t even stay around for the March(on the Sunday talk show circuit)! Where was Obama? Where was Biden? Where was Kerry?? What a missed opportunity!!! Nothing new though, from the president that leads from behind.
    Looks like the world now knows where Obama stands on Islamic Terrorism, oh that’s right, Obama won’t allow the use of those words, like radical Islamic Terrorists. .
    What Obama refuses to acknowledge we are under siege by an ideology called Islamism. A totalitarian political ideology that that is out to destroy the fiber of our existence. Look at Peshawar classrooms, Charlie Hebdo, these Islamic terrorists are at war on education, war on free speech, and by not acknowledging it is from Islamism, Obama is enabling these kinds of actions.
    I know some of you will say he is killing many with drones but these are just pin pricks, while Islamism grows stronger each day.

    • The Emperor surrounds himself with people in the muslim brotherhood. That should say something.

      • TZToronto

        I guess Prime Minister Harper (Canada) also surrounds himself with the bros. No officials from Canada went, either. I don’t know why nobody from the U.S. went, but really, what good does a huge demonstration do? These jihadists couldn’t care less. They have their own agenda (twisted as it is), and they don’t give a fig what anyone in the West does. (I also have a problem with “candlelight vigils.” They show some measure of understanding, but they don’t do much to solve the problems.)

        • dtgraham

          Steven Blaney was supposed to have gone but I don’t know whether he did or not. I know…be still my beating heart.

      • mike

        I am sorry he blew a great opportunity yesterday. Obama, Biden, Kerry, even Holder, who was in the Country should have been marching.
        I just don’t think he cares, if he did, he would call these attackers Radical Islamic Terrorists. Not just terrorist attacks. He blew it again.

    • Buford2k11

      your reply is what their goal is…these guys are nothing more than criminals, fucked up in the head criminals…we have our own to fret about..

      • mike

        Really!!! What a pathetic post on your part.

  • halslater

    Terrorists and fundamentalists fear satire because they know what a joke they are.

    The idea that this is about Islam is to say that Timothy McVeigh spoke for all of Christianity when he bombed Oklahoma City. Maybe he did. I personally would prefer to see all people drop their religious pretenses and do good because it is right, but they are free to seek out rituals that comfort them.

  • 2ThinkN_Do2

    I would not be surprised at all, if you were able to push satirical attacks against almost any fanatical group of people (and their beliefs), eventually someone would go over the edge and retaliate in a similar fashion. No, I am not condoning this behavior. We’ve seen attacks against people for other than satirical reasons, where lives have been taken in this country in the past, attacks not perpetrated by those of the same beliefs as those in this tragedy.

  • Buford2k11

    I used to think Meet the Press with David Gregory was satire…then Chuck took over and confirmed it was satire…

  • Gary Miles

    Well done Mr. Pitts. Well written and amusing article. I say we attack the fanatics with so many cartoons about their boy they won’t know who to attack first. While many of you and I may not agree on too many things, I do respect your right to say what you feel. At this point, I’ve had Liberal’s call everything except a white man. I stopped being offended or caring a long time ago. This usually happens when one begins to lose the debate. Then there are few who just start with a personal attack, because the debate is already lost so why bother trying, LOL. I find all of it quite amusing. Here’s what Charlie Hebdo is doing and I think this is the best route to go:

  • plc97477

    Wow great article. Good job Mr. Pitts.

  • tdm3624

    Great article. Loved it!

  • old_blu

    Hahaha! Very good Mr. Pitts.

  • Daniel Jones

    Should we chip in and buy him a Hello sticker to write Joe Isuzu as his name?