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Archive for the ‘Freedom of Opinion’ Category

Welcome to reality

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on March 9, 2008


(CNN) — Thousands of Afghans packed a sports stadium in the western Afghanistan city Herat Saturday to protest the reprinting of the same Danish cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed that sparked rage in the Muslim world two years ago.

Afghan protesters burn a Danish flag

Afghan protesters burn a Danish flag during a demonstration last month in Kabul.

Several newspapers in Denmark reprinted the controversial drawing last month after Danish authorities arrested several people who allegedly were plotting a “terror-related assassination” of the cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

The protesters shouted slogans in their native Dari language that, translated into English, included “death to enemies of Islam” and “death to Denmark and Holland and the insulters of Islam.” Anti-American slogans were also heard.

“We have gathered here to express our anger against this inhuman act of the Danish paper that insulted our Holy Prophet,” said Faqir Ahmad Herawi, a scholar who helped organize the protest.

I support their right to protest, provided they do so in a civilized manner. In return they actually have a human obligation to accept that FREEDOM of SPEECH and FREEDOM of EXPRESSION is a democratic principle on which any civilized society is based.

Threatening people because they exercise this Freedom is not acceptable. Trying to kill people because they speak their mind is not acceptable.

I don’t try to kill President Ahmadinejad because he denies the Holocaust nor do I attempt to murder Robert Faurisson or Norman Finkelstein because they claim outrageous things about Jews and Israel.

Someone claimed the other day that Moses was on drugs during the Revelation on Sinai, and you don’t see me or anyone else trying to kill or threaten to kill that nut-case.

Religious Satire and Political Satire has always been part of critical thinking and of democracy. Religious and Political Fanatics on the other hand have always tried to silence Satire. Because it always carries a grain of truth – that is the point with Satire.

Welcome to reality

Posted in Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Freedom of Speech…

Posted by Henric C. Jensen on June 16, 2007


Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression are most often considered synonymous with each other. When we use them we most often, if not always, mean “Freedom to Express any Opinion we like in Speech.”But is this synonymization accurate?
Exactly what is covered by those three seemingly identical expressions?

Originally Freedom of Speech was intended to cover the citizen’s right to criticize their Government without fear of reprisals. That is how it is still intended. This can easily be understood by looking at the context Freedom of Speech is covered in Dictionaries. Or by studying the exceptions made in legislation.

In this respect equalizing Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Expression is correct.

Over time, however, Freedom of Speech has come to cover every man and his dog’s every utterance, whether towards the Government or towards his fellow man. The concept has been vulgarized. This is where Opinion and Speech part ways. Which is evidenced by the additional legislation that has come into being in almost all modern democracies. What would never have been thought of as being socially acceptable within the society where Freedom of Speech originated is now something there has to be legislation against.

“African Americans, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans are inferior to White/Caucasians and deserve to be exterminated…”

“Homosexuals are dirty spreaders of AIDS and should be locked away…”

“Fat People are lazy and stupid…”

“Arabs are terrorists…”

“Jews control the Banks…”

Freedom of Opinion originates in Freedom of Thought – i.e the right to think for yourself, and this should never be limited. I may hold any opinion I like at any time. Also those out-lined above. Those utterances are not covered by Freedom of Speech, because they can all be classified as hate-speech.

So, when people want to limit rights of Speech and Expression to such speech and expression that is not offensive, they are actually protecting the original intent of Freedom of Speech, rather than exercising censorship.

“freedom of speech is integral to tolerance, which some people feel should be a basic value in society. Professor Lee Bollinger is an advocate of this view and argues that “the free speech principle involves a special act of carving out one area of social interaction for extraordinary self-restraint, the purpose of which is to develop and demonstrate a social capacity to control feelings evoked by a host of social encounters.” The free speech principle is left with the concern of nothing less than helping to shape “the intellectual character of the society”.”

Freedom must be tempered by the Responsibility to have Self-Control. That is far from “I wanna say what I wanna say, and I am going to say it NOW!

Shalom!

Posted in Censorship, Freedom of Opinion, Freedom of Press, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, Human Rights | Leave a Comment »

 
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