Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Freedom of speech

"Take away all my freedoms, but the freedom of speech so that I can win them back"
Watch the video, "Ezra Levant" a conservative on The Micheal coren show. The interview is about "Free speech" and well worth your time, but this particular segment is relevant to what's happening across the world right now.

It is ironic that the conservatives are fighting for free speech whereas the "liberals" are bedfellows with those who want to regulate "offensive speech".

Something in our very own backyard to match it. Here's the background : the UN(or rather its oil-peddling puppeteers) introduced a legislation banning the defamation of "religion". Johann Hari had published an essay criticizing this erosion of free speech in "The Independent" which was reprinted in "The Statesman".
The UN’s Rapporteur on Human Rights has always been tasked with exposing and shaming those who prevent free speech – including the religious. But the Pakistani delegate recently demanded that his job description be changed so he seeks out and condemns “abuses of free expression” including “defamation of religions and prophets”. The council agreed – so the job has been turned on its head. Instead of condemning the people who tried to murder Salman Rushdie, they will be condemning Salman Rushdie himself.
Of course, we get the entire media crowing over how the freedom of an artist is being compromised when there is outrage over paintings of naked Hindu goddesses, but we don't get quite the same squeaks from our esteemed media when their fellow editor gets arrested for hurting the religious feelings. The editors had to bend over backwards and beg to be released from prison(and they have my sympathies here).

I am heartened to see that at least the author could afford to stand by his views.
What should an honest defender of free speech say in this position? Every word I wrote was true. I believe the right to openly discuss religion, and follow the facts wherever they lead us, is one of the most precious on earth – especially in a democracy of a billion people riven with streaks of fanaticism from a minority of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. So I cannot and will not apologize..... Nothing worth saying is inoffensive to everyone....

They are people like Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the young Afghan journalism student who was sentenced to death for downloading a report on women's rights. They are people like the staff of Zanan, one of Iran's leading reform-minded women's magazines, who have been told they will be jailed if they carry on publishing. They are people like the 27-year old Muslim blogger Abdel Rahman who has been seized, jailed and tortured in Egypt for arguing for a reformed Islam that does not enforce shariah law.

It would be a betrayal of them – and the tens of thousands of journalists like them – to apologize for what I wrote. Yes, if we speak out now, there will be turbulence and threats, and some people may get hurt. But if we fall silent – if we leave the basic human values of free speech, feminism and gay rights undefended in the face of violent religious mobs – then many, many more people will be hurt in the long term. Today, we have to use our right to criticise religion – or lose it.

Read the complete article here .

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