Saturday, February 04, 2006

Fredom to insult? No, grazie.

Green is the Muslim colour
Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

The embassies are burning in Damascus and now months after they were published everyone knows about the cartoons in the Danish newspaper and there are debates about the so-called conflict between freedom of speech and respect for religion.

We had similar discussions in Holland when Theo van Gogh was murdered by a Muslim extremist. Van Gogh had just made a film which was deeply offensive to Muslims by showing Koranic texts projected onto the body of a naked woman. He also constantly referred to Muslims as goatf***ers in the one paper left in the country which would print such nonsense. He is now held up by some idiots as a martyr to the cause of freedom of speech, and we are even to get a statue of him in our local park. As far as I am concerned, he, like the Danes, have mis-used their right to freedom to speech and turned it into a right to insult. Not for me, thanks.

For me, there is no confict. Freedom of speech is a hard-fought for right and a privilege. It should be treated with care and not be used as an excuse to be deliberately and stupidly offensive to other people, whether religious or not.

Likewise, there is no excuse for people to over-react, like killing an idiot like Van Gogh or burning down embassies and marching with offensive placards through London and so on. But these things might just happen if you are not careful.

Also, it should be said that in a world where we can all communicate very easily and news spreads so fast, it is not good enough for the Danes to say that they have a tradition of satire in their country... because these things do get out and we are left with this sort of mess.

And, what must the Syrians be thinking when they read so often that their country maybe the US's next target after Iraq (or Iran)?
Having been there and experienced their high level of culture and warmth of hospitality, it is incredible to think that the country might soon be the next target of the over-mighty US military industrial complex.


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