Category Archives: Western Civilization

The EU is sleepwalking into anarchy

Sept. 26, 2022 – By Thomas Faze

Source: The EU is sleepwalking into anarchy – UnHerd

All eyes may be on the Italian election results this morning, but Europe’s got much bigger problems on its hands than the prospect of a Right-wing government. Winter is coming, and the catastrophic consequences of Europe’s self-imposed energy crisis are already being felt across the continent.

As politicians continue to devise unrealistic plans for energy rationing, the reality is that soaring energy prices and falling demand have already caused dozens of plants across a diverse range of energy-intensive industries — glass, steel, aluminium, zinc, fertilisers, chemicals — to cut back production or shut down, causing thousands of workers to be laid off. Even the pro-war New York Times was recently forced to acknowledge the “crippling” impact that Brussels’s sanctions are having on industry and the working class in Europe. “High energy prices are lashing European industry, forcing factories to cut production quickly and put tens of thousands of employees on furlough,” it reported.

Zinc, aluminium and silicon production cuts (amounting to a staggering 50% of output) have already left consumers in the Europe’s steel, auto and construction industries facing severe shortages, which are being offset by shipments from China and elsewhere. Meanwhile, steel plants in Spain, Italy, France, Germany and other countries — more than two dozen in total — are beginning to slow down or entirely stop their output.

The fertiliser industry, which is heavily dependent on gas as a key feedstock as well as a source of power, is in even bigger trouble. More than two-thirds of production — around 30 plants — has already been halted. The German chemicals powerhouse BASF has temporarily shut down 80 plants worldwide and is slowing production at another 100 as it plans further output cuts depending on what happens to gas prices. To make things worse, EU sanctions have also limited imports of Russian fertilisers.

Dwindling supplies of fertilisers are also having a dramatic knock-on effect on European farmers, which are being forced to scale back their use of the key nutrient. This means higher prices for less output, and the consequences are bound to be felt well beyond Europe’s borders, potentially triggering a global food shortage.

But the shortage of fertiliser isn’t the only problem facing European farmers. Across northern and western Europe, vegetable producers are contemplating halting their activities because of the crippling energy costs — in some cases ten times higher than those of 2021 — required to heat greenhouse through the winter and keep harvests refrigerated, on top of rising transport and packaging costs. Greenhouse industry group Glastuinbouw Nederland says up to 40% of its 3,000 members are in financial distress. This further threatens food supplies — and will certainly lead to even higher food prices which, coupled with soaring energy bills, is likely to drive millions of European into poverty. In other words, the European energy and cost-of-living crisis is on course to descend into an outright humanitarian crisis.

In the UK, 45 million people are forecast to face fuel poverty by January 2023; as a result, “millions of children’s development will be blighted” with lung damage, toxic stress and deepening educational inequalities, as children struggle to keep up with school work in freezing homes. Lives will be lost, experts warn. Meanwhile, in Germany’s Rheingau-Taunus district, the authorities have carried out a simulation of what such a blackout would mean for them, and the results are shocking: more than 400 people would die in the first 96 hours. And this in a district of just 190,000 inhabitants.

Now, these numbers may well be overestimates, but the local government can’t afford to ignore them. Indeed, Gerd Landsberg, general manager of the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, has urged residents to stockpile water and food for 14 days. Landsberg says that Germany is “in no way” prepared for such a scenario.

What’s important to understand is that this is not some temporary crisis where all we need to do is grit our teeth through the winter, after which things will return to normal. The reality, as the chief executive of Shell recently made clear, is that if European governments insist on decoupling Europe from Russian supplies, the continent will face gas shortages “likely to last several winters”. It’s a bitter truth, but there’s simply no short-term alternative to Russia’s gas. Indeed, the European Commission forecasts gas and electricity prices to “remain high and volatile until at least 2023”.

To put it simply, if it stays on its current course, Europe is looking at years of economic contraction, inflation, deindustrialisation, declining living standards, mass impoverishment, and shortages — and this without taking into account the terrifying prospect of an outright military confrontation with Russia. How can anyone think Europe can survive this without plunging into anarchy?

The folly of the situation becomes even more apparent when we consider that, in its attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian gas, the EU is increasing its reliance on supplies from countries like China and India — which, it would appear, are simply reselling to Europe gas that comes from… Russia (at a higher price, of course). If people’s lives weren’t on the line, this whole thing would seem like a sick joke.

Europe has lost the energy war

By Thomas Fazi

It’s truly a sign of the feebleness of Europe’s politicians that despite the fast-approaching cliff, no one can bring themselves to state the obvious: that the sanctions need to end. There’s simply no moral justification for destroying the livelihoods of millions of Europeans simply to school Putin, even if the sanctions were helping to achieve that aim, which they clearly aren’t.

And so, rather depressingly, the only voice of reason appears to be that of Hungary’s prime minister, Victor Orbán. For weeks he and other members of his government have been warning about the economic calamity facing Europe. “The attempts to weaken Russia have not succeeded,” he said recently. “By contrast, it is Europe that could be brought to its knees by brutal inflation and energy shortages resulting from sanctions”. This is a statement of fact, not an opinion. But nobody seems to want to listen.

In response, the technocrats in Brussels are proving to be just as senseless as national leaders. Not only is the EU’s gung-ho approach to Russia one of the main causes of the present crisis, but its leadership continues to pour petrol on the fire. Just this month, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that “the strategy against Russia is working and must continue” — and promised new sanctions.

Even worse, the EU isn’t even doing anything to help cushion the effects of the crisis it helped create. After dropping the ridiculous proposal of capping only the price of Russian gas — which would have led to the latter’s immediate cut-off — Brussels is now mulling a cap on all gas imports, which even the German Minister of State for Europe has warned could lead to severe shortages.

The proposal also fails to take into account a basic fact: it’s not energy exporters that are ramping up the price of gas; the latter today is linked to the price at which gas is traded on virtual trading markets such as the TTF in Amsterdam, where speculators have been rallying up prices for months, making huge profits. Moreover, in today’s liberalised market, which is based on so-called marginal-cost pricing, the final price of power is set by the most expensive fuel needed to meet all demands — in this case gas. This means that as gas prices soar, so does electricity, even if cheaper, clean sources contribute to the total mix.

So, if the EU were serious about tackling about energy prices, it would decouple the price of gas from speculative trading markets and overhaul the marginal-cost pricing system. But that would go against the European technocrats’ fundamental ideology: the idea that prices should be set by markets. Indeed, the EU was among the most ardent supporters, against Putin’s advice, of the shift from long-term, fixed price gas deals to a system where the price is set by virtual trading markets.

Civil disobedience is coming

Given the unlikelihood of radical reform, what will Brussels do next? In all likelihood, it will settle for half-baked solutions — such as a cap on the excess revenues made by non-gas power plants and a windfall tax on surplus profits — as well as for what it does best: austerity. Meanwhile, the ECB, instead of announcing a new round of bond purchases to provide governments with the cash they need to cushion citizens and companies from soaring gas and energy prices, has started to taper its quantitative easing programmes and hiked interest rates, causing the spread between 10-year government bonds issued by Italy and Germany to widen to their highest levels since the pandemic began. This could easily precipitate a new debt crisis, which is the last thing Europe needs.

Without central bank support, governments in the EU have essentially been left to fend for themselves. Once again we are reminded of what it means for euro countries to have given up the power to issue their own money; it’s no coincidence that the UK alone has allocated more than 50% of what has been set aside by the EU as a whole.

This is already leading to beggar-thy-neighbour policies: those countries, such as Germany, that can rely on financial markets to raise the cash they need to help citizens and businesses, and nationalise or bail out ailing energy utilities, will inevitably outcompete weaker countries that are already facing stress on bond markets, such as Italy. In fact, this is already starting to happen, as more and more countries engage in what can only be described as energy protectionism.

In theory, Europe’s gas security is governed by a regulation adopted in 2017, which makes solidarity among European countries mandatory. But EU countries don’t always observe those rules when confronted with a supply crisis. So, for example, the Italian newspaper la Repubblica recently reported that Italy had received written notification from France’s state-controlled utility EDF regarding a potential two-year halt on power exports as part of France’s energy-saving plans. A spokesperson for Italy’s Ministry of Ecological Transition later confirmed the newspaper report, although it was denied by EDF. Similarly, Croatia and Hungary have both announced that plans to implement measures to limit exports of natural gas to neighbouring countries. While Norway, which has supplanted Russia as the EU’s largest source of gas, making gigantic profits on the back of higher gas prices, has thus refused to back a price cap on its gas exports.

Yet while moaning about such “lack of solidarity” between European states is easy, it is also naïve. This, after all, is simply how capitalism works. For all the talk of “global capitalism”, individual nations — or better, their respective capitalist elites — are still engaged in competition with each other. While the ruling classes of individual countries are more than happy to collaborate to pursue the interests of capital-in-general at the expense of workers — just look at the European Union — their competing interests inevitably re-emerge in times of crisis.

The EU, in fact, far from encouraging solidarity among countries, actually makes inter-capitalist competition even more fierce, by depriving countries of the basic economic tools that are required to deal with external shocks. It doesn’t matter if the continent is experiencing a financial crash, a global pandemic or an energy shortage. In Europe, beggar-thy-neighbour policies aren’t an exception to the rule — they are the rule.


Did Josh Hawley just call for a Christian revolution? – The Post

Source: Did Josh Hawley just call for a Christian revolution? – The Post

By Park MacDougald, September 13,  2022 (UnHerd)

For roughly the last eight months, the Left-leaning sectors of the American media have been warning about an emerging “threat to democracy”: Christian nationalism. For instance, according to a recent piece by a trio of political scientists in the Washington Post, the Right, with its rhetoric about “an ongoing religious war against White Christian national dominance”, is increasingly adopting an “ethnocultural nationalist ideology” that — stop me if you’ve heard this one before — is “at odds with liberal democracy.”

Here in Miami, on Day Two of the National Conservatism conference, the message is clear: yes, we’re religious and we’re nationalists — deal with it.

First, conference organiser Yoram Hazony brought the Old Testament thunder with a speech entitled “After the Revolution—What Happens Next?” Hazony’s thesis, in brief, was that the year 2020 marked the final death of American liberalism at the hands of “woke neo-Marxism.” “If you’re somebody like Andrew Sullivan or Bari Weiss who actually thinks that the old liberalism should continue, then you’re in a tiny minority,” the Israeli scholar said. “You’ve been dispossessed. And what we’re seeing now is a completely new America”.

The question is what can stand in the way of this “woke neo-Marxism.” For Hazony, an Israeli Jew, the only sufficiently powerful force in the United States is Christianity. “If America is going to change, it’s going to change because you” — now directly addressing the conference attendees — “decide that Christianity is going to be restored as the public culture of the United States.”

And who will be the instrument of that restoration? Cue Josh Hawley, the populist Republican Senator from Missouri, who delivered a keynote speech nominally about the Left’s war on American history. It did not take long, however, for the real theme to appear:

We are a revolutionary nation precisely because we are the heirs of the revolution of the Bible … To a world composed of clans and tribes, the Bible introduced the very idea of the individual. To a world that valued the wealthy and the well-born before all others, the Bible taught the dignity of the common man. To a world that prized order and social control, the Bible spoke of liberty. Without the Bible, there is no modernity. Without the Bible, there is no America.

– Sen. Josh Hawley

For an American politician, it was a surprisingly erudite speech — Hawley quoted Fustel de Coulanges, the British historian Larry Siedentop, Charles Taylor, Tertullian, and even Gandalf to argue for the Christian origins of modern conceptions of individual liberty; he also discoursed at some length about Herbert Marcuse, arguing that woke “repressive tolerance” is, in effect, an attempt to plunge America back into the Nietzschean hierarchies of the ancient world.

Hawley ended with a story about the destruction of the Serapeum, the gist of which shouldn’t be too hard to puzzle out:

In AD 390, a crowd of Christian believers gathered at a pagan temple known as the Serapeum in Alexandria, a shrine to the god Serapus. A few years before the virulently anti-faith emperor Julian had attempted to throttle Christianity and purge Rome of Christian influence. Among other measures he seized control of the education system, he barred Christians from teaching, he demanded that all students in the empire study in the ways that he approved. 

On this day in 390, in the shadow of the state’s recent persecution, this group of believers gathered at the temple to take a stand. In the center of the temple, we read, there was a statue of the god clutching a three-headed serpent. The legend went that if any impious hand should dare to violate the majesty of the god, the heavens and the earth would instantly return to their original chaos. 

One soldier stepped forward carrying an axe. All we really know about him is what the historian Rufinus tells us, that ‘he was better protected by faith than he was by his weapon.’ But at that moment, this man made a choice to challenge the powers and principalities of his age… He climbed a ladder to the top of the statue, lifted his battle-axe, and with all his might, drove it home. Onlookers reported that as the blow fell, the god’s jaw broke away, and as it did thousands of rats came surging out of its rotten insides.


American Occupation – Tablet Magazine

Source: American Occupation – Tablet Magazine

Brave dissenters willing to defy an oppressive orthodoxy are our country’s best hope

by David Mamet  April 12, 2022

I lived for very many years in rural Vermont. I’d bought a long-abandoned, post-and-beam farmhouse on a third-class dirt road. The realtor was a German immigrant who’d come to Vermont with his wife and infant children just after the war. He suggested that I call a local builder, Bob, to inspect the house, which was superficially in dreadful shape, but the farm and basement were sound. Bob said he’d be glad to put it right, and he and his brother-in-law restored it to its 1805 perfection.

Bob’s family had lived through the war in Germany, and through the famine afterward, and through relocation in America, ignorant of the language. Bob taught himself carpentry and all the building trades, and became a much-respected member of the small town, where all of his contemporary men had fought against the Axis in World War II. His brother-in-law, Eric, had been in the Hitler Youth, and Bob was a glider commando in the Luftwaffe—the equivalent, today, of Delta Force, or the Navy Seals.

My family became friends with Bob, and his wife, Ilse, became a surrogate grandmother—or better, great-aunt—to my kids. His family was my first encounter with the German national character—hard working, honest, and uncomplaining.

Of course I was seldom unaware that the regime he had fought for was dedicated to the destruction of my people and my race (if Jews are a race … in any case, to my like). I asked Eric about the Hitler Youth, and he said that he’d missed one meeting, and was told by his group leader that, should he miss another, he’d be shot. And, Bob, and every other man of fighting age and ability, was conscripted, and what were they to do?

Just as Eric explained, and perhaps apologized for, his membership in the Hitler Youth, Bob would tell me that his father had risked his life saving a Jew of his acquaintance.

To both cases: perhaps, and perhaps not. I never met a German who had lived through that wartime period who did not share with me the history of his family helping the Jews. Putting aside the question of the stories’ truth, I was struck by their seeming necessity for the teller. The current self-protective rationale of the Nazi era invokes an occupation by the forces of evil, which they were mostly too powerless to fight. Most of the people who lived through it are gone, and their descendants are entitled to imagine a history with which they can live—neither absolutely false nor true, but one in which someone tried to act.

Over the last two years in America, I’ve witnessed our own forces of evil with incredulity, despair, and rage. Corruption, blasphemy, and absurdity have been accepted by one-half of the electorate as the cost of doing business; as has the fear this acceptance generates. Does anyone actually believe that men change into women and women into men who can give birth, that the Earth is burning, the seas are rising, and we’ll all perish unless we cover our faces with strips of cotton?

No one does. These proclamations are an act of faith, in a new, as yet unnamed religion, and the vehemence with which one proclaims allegiance to these untruths is an exercise no different from any other ecstatic religious oath. They become the Apostles’ Creed of the left, their proclamation committing the adherent physically to their strictures, exactly as the oath taken on induction to the armed services. The inductee is told to “take one step forward,” and once they do he or she can no longer claim, “I misunderstood the instruction.”

Those currently in power insist on masking, but don’t wear masks. They claim the seas are rising and build mansions on the shore. They abhor the expenditure of fossil fuels and fly exclusively in private jets. And all the while half of the country will not name the disease. Why?

Because the cost of challenging this oppressive orthodoxy has, for them, become too high. Upon a possible awakening, they—or more likely their children—might say that the country was occupied. And they would be right.

Gandhi said to the British, you’ve been a guest in our house for too long, it is time for you to leave. He borrowed the line from Oliver Cromwell, and it’s a good one. The left has occupied the high places for too long, promoting dogma even as the occasions for their complaint have decreased (what position is closed to people of color, or women? Inclusion in all levels of the workforce; preference in higher education, a seat in the cockpit, in the Oval Office, in a movie’s cast, or admission to an elite school+? And yet the vehemence of their protests has increased, progressing into blacklisting and even rioting by those claiming to represent “the oppressed.”

Old-time physicians used to speak of the disease “declaring itself.” History teaches that one omnipresent aspect of a coup is acts of reprisal staged by agents provocateurs of the revolutionaries, and blamed on supporters of the legitimate government. It would be a historical anomaly if we were not to see such between now and the midterm elections.

For the disease has declared itself, and we are not now in a culture war, but a nascent coup, with its usual cast of characters. The Bolshevists could have been defeated by a company of soldiers in the suburbs of Moscow, Hitler stopped at Czechoslovakia, and the current horrors confronted at the Minneapolis police station or a meeting of the San Francisco school board. But those tragedies, and our current tragedies, were not just allowed but encouraged to run their course.

Yet I believe there is hope for reason and self-direction. Hispanics in Texas are opposing the policies which have infested their state with the gang violence they fled in Mexico; Ron DeSantis and conservative Floridians have displayed irrefutable common sense, responsibility, and probity, opposing “critical race theory” and the sexual indoctrination of adolescents. Black conservatives, similarly, appeal to the reason of their historically reasonable community, to address the horrors the left has made of the cities. In San Francisco, a place where many of us left our hearts but the natives have historically surrendered their brains, the people voted to remove the wicked fools on their school board. And Bari Weiss founded a university in Austin, Texas, for the pursuit of free thought.

As Tennessee said, “Suddenly there’s God so quickly.”

This is a bit more than facetiousness on my part. I’ve found great comfort in the Torah, counseling Moses again and again, when he was reluctant to fight the power of the Egyptians, and unsure he could do it alone, that he would not be alone, as God would be with him.

What we are seeing through these brave dissenters is the wisdom of the Rumpelstiltskin story. The young woman marries a king who locks her in a cell until she is able to spin flax into gold. She despairs at the impossible task, until an elf shows up and says he’ll show her how. He does so. She asks how she can thank him, and he says all he wants is her firstborn child. And she must give him her child until, or unless, she figures out his name. She is terrified and clueless, but she knows she must try. Eventually, after committing to the task, she guesses his name. What prompted her, frightened though she was, to break the sick cycle? She would not visit her plight upon her child.

Now, the disease having proclaimed itself and its dangers having become clear, it is time for us all to overcome the occupation by standing up to those tyrannies under which we are not prepared to live.


The infidels will not be silenced – UnHerd

Source: The infidels will not be silenced – UnHerd

Thirty-three years ago, when I was a teenager in Nairobi, I was a book burner. The year was 1989, the year of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, and I was seduced by the rising tide of Islamism. I greeted the fatwa with glee.

I rarely burnt actual books: we were too poor to afford a copy of The Satanic Verses. Instead, we wrote the title of the offending novel and the name of its author on cardboard and paper and set them alight. It was comical and pathetic. But we were deadly serious. We thought Ayatollah Khomeini was standing up for Islam against the infidels, bringing down the righteous fury of Allah upon a vile apostate. Had Rushdie been attacked then, I would have celebrated.

In the decades since, I have been a refugee, an atheist and a convert to the highest ideals and values of the West: free speech, freedom of conscience, the emancipation of women, and a free press. When I fled from a forced marriage and made a life in Europe, I was bewitched by the culture of freedom. But I still remember with a shudder my time as a pious believer on the verge of fanaticism. I know all too well how righteousness in the name of Islam motivates those who inflict violence on supposed infidels.

I have always viewed the fatwa against Salman Rushdie as a strange conflict between two very different figures. On the one hand, a novelist, raised in what was once secular Bombay and living in the England of Monty Python’s Life of Brian; a man in love with literature and language, who spent many years on a quest to become a published writer. Salman is an intellectual, a lover of stories, and a teller of tales. When he wrote The Satanic Verses, he was more interested in the theme of migration than in satirising Islam. He was certainly not apolitical, but he resided in the world of books and the imagination, engaging with the real world through fantasy. He did not set out to offend Muslims but simply assumed that supposedly holy events and texts were fair game for artists to play with, just as Western writers engaged freely, both positively and negatively, with Christianity.

And then there was the Ayatollah, a fundamentalist figure who had spent long years of exile in the West before returning to Iran to overthrow the despotic regime of the Shah in 1979. Whenever I read about Khomeini, I get the impression that he fancied himself a successor to the Prophet. He was both deeply arrogant and fanatically fundamentalist: a very dangerous combination. He was also a writer, though his subject matter was the Qur’an and Islamic law. Not for him the freely roaming imagination; his interest in literature was constrained by Islam.

While Salman sought to capture the entire world in his novels, Khomeini couldn’t escape religion. Almost prophetically, Salman included a Khomeini-like figure in The Satanic Verses. A character called only the Imam, he is also an exile seeking to return to his homeland to overthrow a despot and install his own tyranny. Like Khomeini, the Imam wants to turn back time:

“History the intoxicant, the creation and possession of the Devil, of the great Shaitan, the greatest of the lies — progress, science, rights — against which the Imam has set his face. History is a deviation from the Path, knowledge is a delusion, because the sum of knowledge was complete on the day Al-Lah finished his revelation to Mahound [the Muhammad figure in the novel].”

And like Khomeini, the Imam succeeds in his quest and devours the very people who saw him as a messiah against the despot. In this, Salman understood so deeply the nature of the Iranian regime when so many then and now fail to grasp its fanatical, unbending nature. The Western response to the fatwa, as to Iran’s nuclear ambitions, was to negotiate. Then, as now, this is a fundamental misunderstanding of the regime. The world of the West and the world of Islamism are totally irreconcilable. The sooner we realise that nothing will appease the fanatics of Tehran, the better able we will be to oppose them.

Just look at the wording of the fatwa itself: “I call on all valiant Muslims wherever they may be in the world to kill them without delay, so that no one will dare insult the sacred beliefs of Muslims henceforth. Whoever is killed in this cause will be a martyr.” This is the language of honour and of sensitivity. Salman has blasphemed — he has insulted the honour of our precious beliefs — and so he, and many others, must die.

The fatwa is timeless. It won’t die with Khomeini. It is eternal. This is why, when it comes to fighting Islamism, the Western tools of diplomacy and reason are useless. We are faced with an enemy that never gives up, who thinks in terms of centuries rather than months or years, and who will wait patiently for an opportunity to strike. Only by understanding these different conceptions of civilisation can we begin to undo the damage wrought by the Iranian regime and other Islamists across the world.

It is unfashionable these days to defend Samuel Huntington’s “clash of civilisations” thesis. But the attack on Salman shows the truth in it. Yes, there really are different ideas of civilisation — and yes, they are in conflict with each other. The sooner we realise this, the sooner we can recover our belief in Western civilisation, and stand up for it unflinchingly against its enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Salman would not, I imagine, phrase it in such a way, nor would he place such an emphasis on the Westernness of these values. But he is nevertheless an exemplar of them; a champion of free speech, bravely standing up for Western ideals when so many shy away from the fight. If only more people could follow his example, instead of taking the path of appeasement in the name of cultural sensitivity, the long years of murder and mayhem wrought by the Islamists on the West might come to an end.

I have lived those long years; I know all too well the threat Islamism poses. After I came out as an apostate, I was forced into a bubble of protection that still surrounds me to this day. I have 24-hour security. I still receive death threats. My friend, the sweet, vulgar, brilliant Theo Van Gogh was murdered simply for making a film with me. His attacker used a knife to stab a letter into Theo’s chest: it said that I would be next.

When I heard the news about Salman last week, I couldn’t speak. I was horrified, but I was also scared. If they could get him on American soil, would I be next? Although I choose to live with security and Salman didn’t, the attack showed how patient and ruthless the enemy is. I am writing this four days after the attack, and have slept for as many hours. Will I ever be free? Will I ever feel safe? Will my children ever feel safe?

More from this author

There is no “Biden Doctrine”

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

But this isn’t my story: it is the story of Salman Rushdie and everyone he stands for, of all the people in the Muslim world and the West who dare to challenge sacred dogmas and find themselves threatened and even murdered for doing so. For them, for us, giving into fear is never an option. As Salman wrote after 9/11: “How to defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorised. Don’t let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.”

And yet last Friday, I was scared. I felt terrorised. I was urged to go into hiding and stay silent for my own safety. For a few hours, I let fear rule my life. But still I knew deep down that freedom is a choice — and that I would keep choosing to be free, to speak and write as I please. In this way, in writing this very piece, I defy the Islamists and all others who would silence me.

Like Salman, I will continue to speak. Like Salman, I choose freedom.