Saturday, February 4, 2006

The Cartoons, Laws against Holocaust denial, etc: Who is to say what is and is not allowed?

The cartoons may be terribly insulting to a Muslim, yet I cannot understand how these same Muslims kept silent all those years when the Arab/Muslim press were -- and are -- filled with cartoons of the most antisemitic character.

In fact the leaders of the Arab countries in which these cartoons appeared, defended them in the name of "Free Speech."

Well, what is good for the goose is good for the gander or, to put it another way, you cannot have it both ways.

Holocaust denial is terribly hurtful and insulting. It comes from people who are fans, on one level or another of the Nazis, yet they have a right to say these terrible things.

The cartoons have hurt many Muslims -- they may be in the worst of taste -- but you cannot outlaw them, not in countries where free speech still stands for something.

And as the writer in Spiegel online [see previous post] asks: if the West is so horrible why are so many Muslim choosing to live in Western societies?

Maybe they are doing so because they think they can fundamentally change those societies. If that is indeed so, it is even more incumbent upon those of us who understand the value of free speech to defend it even as we abhor the uses to which it is put.

1 comment:

Dave said...

What upsets me is that these folks in the Arab world are completely bent out of shape and rioting over a cartoon...but they seem utterly unfazed by vicious terrorist attacks like 9/11, which kill thousands of innocent men, women, and children. When 9/11 happened, these folks were cheering, shouting, "Allahu Akhbar," and firing guns in the air.

So murder is fine, but calling your God naughty names is wrong.

It reminds me of the Cold War days. When NATO held exercises, the "invaders" were called the "Red Army," and the "defenders" were the "Blue Army."

But the Soviets objected to that, so NATO changed the invading "army" name to "Orange."

A British officer commented, "You can train to kill your enemy in all kinds of nasty ways, but you musn't call him rude names that might upset him."

The more I study people, the more I like my dogs.