Everybody loves Ramy.
This is the man who shows his support of freedom of the press, speech et al, by sacking the managing editor of France Soir.
So why is the sacking of a newspaper editor newsworthy? Well, France Soir was one of the mainstream outlets, along with Die Welt, in Germany, La Stampa in Italy and El Periodico from Spain, to finally carry the Danish cartoons of Mohammed that have been causing such a furore around the world amongst muslims. Just google Jyllands-Posten Danish cartoons and you'll find more information than you can poke a stick at.
But who is Ramy and why is he important?
Ramy (aka Raymond) Lakah is a French-Egyptian citizen with an interesting history. He owns around 70% of France Soir, and according to The Arabist
Rami Lakah was a businessman who had borrowed an enormous amount of money from Egyptian banks in the mid-1990s to expand his medical services empire and constitute a sizable private wealth. In the 2000 parliamentary elections, he ran and won in Cairo’s Ezbekiah district. Lakah flirted with several parties, including the NDP, but no one wanted him. It was clear that he had run because he was unable to repay his debts and that he was only interested in parliamentary immunity.
When politics didn't pan out the way he wanted, he ran away to France, leaving millions behind in debt, and somehow found the wherewithal to purchase the paper.
Shades of Christopher Skase. Good to see some traits are universal.
Over at Tim Blair's, the question was asked as to whether anyone thought M.Lakah was muslim or christian. I thought he was muslim, which after further investigation turned out to be wrong.
But that's okay, too, because while Nina Shea thinks he's Coptic Christian, The Arabist reckons he's catholic. I'm thinking that Mr Issandr El Amrani would know more about this than Nina.
Given Ramy's recent history, somehow I'm actually not all that surprised that he has acted the way he has.
One of the surprising things about how Lakah should have known about the cartoons is that ........ France Soir made a big deal on coming out in favor of the Danish newspaper that originally published them. The headline says “Yes, we have the right to caricature God while the cartoon on the cover shows a Greek god, presumably, saying “Don’t skulk, Mohammed, we’ve all been lampooned at one time or another,” with Buddha and Jehovah (I think?) in the background.
In other words, Lakah either knew and then let his editor take the fall, or should have known.
It will be interesting to see how the management/owners of other MSM franchises handle this situation.