What an opportunity M. Cherif Bassiouni provided. And Robert Spencer was akin to that Robber Baron of the Mauve Decade who proudly explained, “I sees my opportunities, and I took “˜em.”
The amazing exchange between M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, and Robert Spencer would fill any polemicist with envy. Rich in years and honors and worldly acclaim and so on and so forth he may be, but still the not-quite-candid-and-more-than-slightly-confused M. Cherif Bassiouni has just seen his own polemic carefully taken apart, in public (“in the full light of history”), with the resulting parts then held up for examination and silent — there is no need for sound effects here, the sound can be turned off — ridicule.
Spencer’s reply to him is unanswerable. He has no answer. He must now remain silent. And if he still has some of his wits about him, he must at this point be truly mortified. For what can he say? He’s one of those eminences so used to being an eminence, he can’t quite fathom those who do not yield to his (to him) self-evident authority and rank, and who demand of him such things as truthfulness, logic, consistency — you know, stuff like that. He expects, but in this case did not receive, the accustomed salaam-salaaming of everyone. I could have told him — I happen to know — that Robert Spencer is no respecter of parsons. We’re in America now, and the Argument From Authority (I’m the famous legal scholar, you have to defer to me) cuts no ice here. The same intellectual standards are required for all. And M. Cherif Bassiouni is clearly no Lauterpacht, or De Visscher, or — nota bene — Julius Stone.
This exchange also puts me in mind, too, of a cartoon dear to many a young American. I am thinking of Wile E. Coyote, just when he has assumed he has successfully launched a missile –an Acme Missile, bien entendu — in the direction of the Road-Runner, and then suddenly he hears that tell-tale “Beep Beep” and sees the Road-Runner whizzing happily by. And then W. E. Coyote looks down, and sees just under his seat the Acme Missile still sitting on its launch pad, because it had apparently failed to launch correctly. And just then, just as he looks down, just as the awful truth is shown by the expression of fear and horror on his face, that Acme Missile explodes in his face.
That is more or less what happened to M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University. He no doubt bitterly regrets having dared to answer Robert Spencer with such obvious illogic, about the admitted difference between what the four Sunni schools of jurisprudence have concluded about apostasy and the view which he, M. Cherif Bassiouni, claims is quite different, of something he calls “Islam.” What a perfect occasion to demolish him, and what sportsman could have resisted?
Tant pis pour lui.
The exchange (ah, ces echangistes!)? Epatant.
These bits of slightly off-color parlez-vous have been supplied, with malice aforethought, since M. Cherif Bassiouni is, undoubtedly, and quite proudly, francophone. For without French as his passport to the great world, the world of Western thought, and Western legal theory and practice, then where, really, would M. Cherif Bassiouni, and others of his ilk, undoubtedly be?
M. Cherif Bassiouni won’t be returning for another Acme Missile blow-up any time soon. He’s very famous. I read something by him once, something on International Law. But what illogicality. What possessed him? He could have written something different, something urging Robert Spencer, for example, to publicize, and give support to, those who, like M. Cherif Bassiouni, are trying to “change” Islamic doctrine. But that isn’t what he did. He did something else. He made a claim, and then kicked the basis of that claim out from under himself. Spencer pointed out that the stool was gone, and M. Cherif Bassioiuni promptly collapsed onto the floor.
M. Cherif Bassiouni, Distinguished Research Professor of Law Emeritus and President Emeritus, International Human Rights Law Institute, DePaul University, should have gone to Hollywood to work as someone’s foil or straight man. Instead, he’s stuck in Illinois.