Really, France? The country that prides itself on its liberté responds to an unfunny, hateful and stupid Facebook comment by arresting the idiot who posts it? The week after holding a march honoring free speech as well as those killed over exercising free speech? France does have a long tradition of conditional liberty. I think we all know the famous quote, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, unless you post it on Facebook, in which case you deserve to be arrested.” (This quote is really, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” It is misattributed to Voltaire but is actually a phrase used by Evelyn Beatrice Hall to describe Voltaire’s position.)
On Wednesday, French comedian Dieudonné M’bala M’bala, who goes by his first name only, was arrested for being an “apologist for terrorism” over a post he wrote on Facebook on Monday: “Tonight, as far as I’m concerned, I feel like Charlie Coulibaly,” mixing the “Je Suis Charlie” slogan in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shooting with a reference to Amédy Coulibaly, the man who killed four people at a kosher supermarket last week.