One might be forgiven for thinking, after reading Ezra Levant's address to the Alberta Human Rights Commission yesterday, that a brave, indomitable individual was facing imminent martyrdom, and would speak truth to power, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the firing squad waiting in the courtyard. "You may start your interrogation," he said, mercifully concluding his opening remarks.
But this wasn't Darkness at Noon. Nor was he Jesus Christ in front of the Grand Inquisitor. He was just Ezra Levant, the former editor of a screechy, extremist publication who thought it would be amusing to affront Canadian Muslims by publishing cartoons that he knew would be profoundly offensive to them.
To his likely considerable disappointment, there were no riots, no beheadings, no fatwas in the wake of his oh-so-courageous exercise of editorial privilege. This is Canada. At the very worst, you might end up before a Human Rights Commission to explain yourself when you pull a stunt like that. And so he did. Now this pretentious little man is out to make the most of it, cheered on by his rabid ideological comrades, and carrying on for all the world like King Charles the First:
I would know by what power I am called hither ... I would know by what authority, I mean lawful; there are many unlawful authorities in the world; thieves and robbers by the high-ways ...I do stand more for the liberty of my people, than any here that come to be my pretended judges ... I do not come here as submitting to the Court.
Karl Marx must have been in the audience. "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce."
You may start your interrogation, forsooth. Who on earth does Levant think he is? He's no monarch facing the headsman's axe, no idealist facing torture and death. He's just a crummy far-right propagandist in a spot of bother that he himself created.
I sincerely hope that the Commission lets him off. That would be just the comeuppance he deserves.
UPDATE: (January 12)
BigCityLib has videos. Don't waste your popcorn.
UPDATE: (January 13)
Levant has attracted some Muslim support--or has he? Stageleft has done some digging, with surprising--or not-so-surprising--results.