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Friday, 21 September 2012

Intolerance

It never fails to amaze me that those who loudly trumpet their 'right' to do something, never consider the responsibility that having a 'right' imposes. The latest outburst of fundamentalist rioting, burning and killing in Libya, Yemen and several other Muslim states is a response to the rather crude video created and released by a US based film maker of Middle Eastern origin. OK, he has the right to do this in the US. He probably also has the motivation as he is, by the accounts I've read, a Christian driven out of his homeland by Islamic legalistic restrictions and persecution.

All well and good, he wants to bring this to world attention in a political world that, at present, doesn't want to raise these issues and would rather ignore them. So he makes a film which is, frankly, offensive. But this isn't, apparently, enough for some. Now we have a French magazine publishing deliberately provocative cartoons. All this does, despite their claims to be exercising their 'right' to publish what they choose, is to inflame extremists on both sides. It plays directly into the hands of those who wish to inflame things and bring about conflict.

Is it responsible behaviour? After all, we claim we have the right to 'freedom' of speech, religion and political affiliation, but all of these require the exercise of at least some responsibility. No one, it is true, has an absolute 'right' to not be offended by something, but that does not infer a 'right' to deliberately offend or provoke. In the case of the film maker in the US, he has exercised his 'right' to make his film, but he did so in the fullest knowledge that it would provoke a violent response. This is not responsible behaviour.

The French magazine editor has now published his offensive cartoons - again with the deliberate intent of causing maximum offence and in the full awareness of the fact he is endangering every westerner currently in any Muslim governed country. It has, no doubt, increased his circulation temporarily, but the cost is likely to be very high in terms of destroyed property, lives placed in jeopardy and damage to relations between peoples.

We are, at present in the western 'democracies,' very privileged. Our forefathers fought long and hard for the privileges we now take as 'rights,' but the abuse of these same privileges is likely to lead us back into a dark age of conflict and possibly a loss of all we currently enjoy. It is worth thinking carefully before we embark on any action which is deliberately provocative. Perhaps someone should make those who deliberately seek to provoke pay the piper ...

1 comment:

  1. The film is offensive, because, well, based on HIS history, HE WAS offensive and crude in addition to being other things of low moral (New Testament) Christian standards. I have no sympathy for these people still living in the 6th century as their ultimate political goal is to drag the rest of the world into their backward morass.
    Just one of many things that should NOT BE NEGOTIABLE in a democracy is Freedom of Speech. The solution is to let them live as they please, forbidding any personal travel by them to western countries or vice-versa until they politically "grow up" and become more than Stalinist thugs who do things like put million dollar Fatwa's on writers and journalists. All foreign aid should be cut off and they should be isolated culturally where ever possible as, after all, by OUR standards, they have a right to live as they please.
    Knowing that much of the above is not "politically" feasible in the unsuccessful "love fest" attempts by present western politicians, an alternative would be to flood their airways with similar material by the thousands until they are at least inured/overwhelmed by it all. Or if not, at least the world will see what a spectacular waste of time we are spending on attempting to bring their cultures into modern society.
    By the way, your "anti-robot" letters are way too hard to read. Might get more comments if they were a bit easier to read.

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