It’s a good rule of thumb that there is no one more easily offended than your average despot and surrounding acolytes. Tyranny by nature requires grand fictions, and when anyone dares point out that the emperor has no clothes, or the emperor is living it up while dressing his minions in suicide belts, or the emperor is murdering his own subjects and honing technologies and methods to blackmail, subjugate or kill anyone else in reach, then the emperor and his cohorts take huge offense. If you happen to live under their sway, they chuck you in prison. If you are outside the immediate reach of their secret police and terror squads, they do what they can to maneuver the debate onto their terms. They — who apologize for nothing — demand apologies.
On the list of those most prominently offended by the Pope’s speech, for instance, is Lebanon’s Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, whom Saturday’s New York Times describes as Lebanon’s “most senior Shiite cleric” — a tag that omits his status as chief proselytizer in Lebanon for the Iranian-backed terrorist group, Hezbollah, and one of the gang campaigning — most unapologetically — for the obliteration of Israel. Here’s Fadlallah’s web site, where you can read his dictates on such matters as music and women. By some accounts, Fadlallah has enjoyed the security services of Imad Mugniyah, one of the top killers on the FBI’s most-wanted list of terrorists.
If, regarding the Pope’s speech, we draw up a most-offended list, as the BBC has done, we find it further populated by the likes of a Saudi grand mufti, the Palestinian prime minister, an Iranian cleric, the head of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, and one of the world’s leading clubhouses for protecting terrorists, the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Palestinians hurl firebombs at churches, an Italian nun is shot in the back in a hospital in Somalia, and we are invited to ponder whether these deeds should be laid at the door of the Pope for giving a speech. What does it take for the democratic world to understand? With their constant demands for apologies — over cartoons, over speeches, over you-name-it — the chronically offended tyrants of our time, armed with guns and bombs, are on a very real offensive. Against us.