Deborah Gyapong: Ezra Levant's friends and fellow bloggers

Ezra Levant's friends and fellow bloggers













Last night's event was private, but Ezra Levant managed to slip in some of his friends and fellow free speech bloggers and journalist friends.

I'm the ubiquitous one in the blue lantern-decked blouse. Kathy Shaidle of Five Feet of Fury is the tiny gal with the red dress. Pretty scary, eh? Mark Steyn is wearing the gold tie and when he posed between me and Kathy he described us as a hatemonger sandwich or something. But hey, I'm gluten free, does that count for anything? The man with the pink shirt and glasses is Fred of Gay and Right. There's a picture of me with immigration minister Jason Kenney, an old friend, taken by the "shy and retiring" Blazing Cat Fur. In fact he took most of the photos here. He'll have his own montage when he returns to Toronto.

Stephen Taylor's the man in the black shirt. I brought a couple of The Defilers to give away to bloggers who might read and review it. Stephen insisted on buying a copy, saying he buys his friends books. Of course it helped to have Kathy Shaidle next to me telling him what a great read it was, but warning him not to start it that night or he'd never get any sleep.

Businessman and philanthropist Nathan Jacobson is shown with National Post columnist Father Raymond de Souza.

Jacobson recalled the famous words of German Pastor Martin Neimoller:

"In Germany, they came first for the Communists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist;
And then they came for the trade unionists, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist;
And then they came for the Jews, And I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew;
And then . . . they came for me . . . And by that time there was no one left to speak up."
(I like Mark Steyn's rendition of those famous words in his latest book Lights Out: Islam, free speech and the twilight of the west)

The people up here here are fighting for all of us, he said, warning that enemies are trying to shut down our early warning system and trying to "silence our sentries."

"They are heroes," he said. "They deserve our support . . ."

The National Post's Kevin Libin (former editor of the Western Standard which published the Danish cartoons) flew in from Calgary for the event. He's in two shots: one with him on the left, me, Kathy Shaidle and my press gallery colleague Brian Lilley, CFRB and CJAD Ottawa bureau chief. Lilley has been one of the few mainstream media journalists who has actually covered any freedom of speech issues. The other shows Kathy, Ezra, myself and Libin on the right.

It was a great event. A good time was had by all, as the saying goes.

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