Friday, February 03, 2006

Freedoms Ain't Free

So now the Pakistani Parliment has gotten into the act, trying to shut down Freedom of Speech in the West. For anyone who has not been following this story all week, last week a Danish newspaper printed several cartoons caricaturing the Prophet Muhammed. Picturing Muhammed in any way is forbidden in Islam, but then again, Denmark is not an Islamic nation. Since then all Hell has broken loose in the Middle East, with mass demonstrations, wholesale condemnation of Denmark, the closure of embassies, bomb threats -the whole shebang (Jessica Simpson has so far not been involved, so FOX News may not yet have carried the story).

The "incident" has had profound economic and diplomatic effects for Denmark. Many Middle Eastern countries have quite literally pulled all Danish goods from their shelves, and apparently Denmark did a lot of business in the Middle East -hundreds of Danish workers have been laid off. Danish government officials have now met with ambassadors from 70 Muslim countries, but as the Egyptian Ambassador said, the feeling is that Denmark needs to do a lot more to "appease the Muslim world". The Danish government, they say, must take steps to make sure this never happens again, and the offending newspapers must be thoroughly "punished".

Well, I don't think so...

Earth to "Muslim World"- go [flick] yourselves. You can make picturing your prophet illegal in your own country, but here in the West we will damn well do what we please. It's called Freedom of Speech, and it's worth defending because there are always folks out there who want to stifle other people's.

Just ask Salman Rushdie.

These cartoons may well have been offensive. I don't care, that's not the point. Literature, art and speech, satire, what have you, exist for the purpose of spreading ideas, even of offending people, and of puncturing balloons. And that scares many people, in many socities (including our own -the West is far from guiltless regarding censorship). And so you get people who want to restrict everyone else's ability to express themselves. It's always the other guy's ideas that are scary, or offensive, and are not to be tolerated. In a heartening show of support, the newspapers in many other European countries have reprinted the offensive cartoons. Good for them.

I don't care what religion, nationality or whatever you are, keep your hands off other people's Freedoms. I'm sorry you are offended, but I am not sorry someone offended you. The world will be a better place when people learn to live with the fact that no matter how much you believe you have a direct pipeline to God, you have to leave others alone to find their own way, and that includes some of our own home-grown Christian whack-jobs who are every bit as self-righteous, bigoted and scary as the Muslims now burning Danish flags in Iran.

All of you- get off my Freedoms! I'm not done using them.

UPDATE- The US State Dept. has weighed in- on the side of censorship. spokesman said-

"Anti-Muslim images are as unacceptable as anti-Semitic images, as anti-Christian images or any other religious belief."

I guess he hasn't check out the schoolbooks they use in Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian Authority, Iran, etc., where there have always been anti-Semitic images. Those are the same people now protesting that we need to repect their reeligion. What's Arabic for "hypocrites"? I've got a Biblical quote for them -you reap what you sow.


Mike said...

Well spoken CC. We have enough problems trying to remain free in the face of some whack-job Chrisitans, but when Muslims start trying to limit freedoms with their own particular whack-job religion, then someone has to draw the line.

jgodsey said...

see? that's the difference between you and me...i just go ahead and use the curse word...i don't care whom i offend.