Strangling Freedom of Speech and Expression

The UK is on the fast track to becoming a closed society in its hurry to emulate Saudi Arabia. Last week, it denied entry to Geert Wilders of the Netherlands. “Dutch populist politician and controversial anti-Islam campaigner Geert Wilders has been refused entry to the United Kingdom despite being invited to visit by a member of the House of Lords, the British parliament’s upper chamber. . . Geert Wilders, perhaps best known outside the Netherlands for having made the video Fitna, in which the religion Islam and its holy book the Koran are attacked as providing a basis for terrorist attacks and for the undermining of western democracy and values, had been invited to London for a showing of this film to members of the British parliament.”

Thankfully, Fitna is available on the web and this idiotic attempt to shoot the messenger will only make the message more compelling.

Pat Condell is one of the most articulate and outspoken commentator on the present degeneration of the Western world and its consequent abject surrender to Islam. Here’s Pat Condell’s take on it.

It is worth noting that it was 20 years ago that the Indian Congress government banned Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and thus compelled the ayatollah Khomeini to call all Muslims to murder Rushdie and others associated with the book:

“I inform all zealous Muslims of the world that the author of the book entitled The Satanic Verses – which has been compiled, printed and published in opposition to Islam, the prophet and the Koran – and all those involved in its publication who were aware of its contents are sentenced to death.”

Publishers and translators of the book were attacked and some killed. Many people died in Muslim mob fury. The Indian government has blood on its hands. But that is par for the course and it is not going to stop anytime soon. The colonial government of India — by which I refer to the government of India post 1947 — continues to strangle free speech as a way of pandering to the most vicious and ruthless of its constituency.

I conclude this with an excerpt from an opinion piece in The Australian — How the West was Lost for Free Speech — Sept 2008:

. . . where self-censorship is deemed insufficient, there is a battery of laws to enforce state censorship, from legislation against hate speech to the demand by the UN that every member take a stand against the “defamation of religion”. It is not just critics of Islam who are being silenced. British laws against the “glorification of terrorism” and moves in the US to alter the first amendment so that it no longer provides protection for Islamic radicals show that Islamic critics, too, can no longer say the unsayable.

Twenty years on from The Satanic Verses it is time we took a stand against this trend. “Give me the liberty to know, to utter and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties,” wrote 17th-century poet John Milton. “He who destroys a good book kills reason itself.”

Freedom of expression is not just an important liberty; it is the very foundation of liberty, for without such freedom we cannot define what those liberties are.

. . . It is everybody’s business to ensure that no one is deprived of their right to say what they wish, even if what they say is seen as offensive.

As George Orwell once put it, “If liberty means anything, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”

I note an important deviation: usually, India is the follower and it apes the West in many matters, but in the case of denying freedom of expression to its citizens, the West is rapidly aping India’s regressive moves.

Related posts: All posts under the category Freedom of Expression. You may wish to read “Ridiculing Religious Insanity” also.

Author: Atanu Dey

Economist.

3 thoughts on “Strangling Freedom of Speech and Expression”

  1. I am not so sure about the ‘strangling’ of freedom of speech in India.
    I guess it’s against a ‘particular’ religion (and its in entire world). Apart from that we really don’t ‘strangle’ freedom of expression anywhere – Do we?

    Case in point – Delhi HC dismisses complaints against M.F. Husain

    “…but in the case of denying freedom of expression to its citizens, the West is rapidly aping India’s regressive moves.”

    Well at least East has something to teach to West.

    Like

  2. India has shown the world the power of dhimmitude.

    The west is rapidly aping and beating us at it — the recent UK grovel-fest “please dont attack us” is a good case in point.

    We live in interesting times.

    Like

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