On Freedom of Speech

August 9th, 2007 · 3 Comments
by Kassia Krozser

It seems to me there are no shades of gray here. Suppressing a book because you disagree with its content is always a challenge to freedom of speech. And the writers who disputed this — whether Roald Dahl or John le Carré — had different agendas. Sometimes writers are contrarians just for the sake of being contrarians or because they are simply jealous of the attention another writer is getting. The fact remains that Rushdie, by writing, did not cause injuries and deaths. The fatwa did.

File Under: Quote of the Week

3 responses so far ↓

  • Sylvia // Aug 9, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Hi, I got here via Metaxu. I read that letter to the NTY and unfortunately the author make one crucial mistake. In honour cultures, which is what we’re dealing with here, words are as important as actions, if not more so. If someone says “I saw your daughter holding hands with a man,” it doesn’t matter whether she did or not. If people belive it, the family’s “honour” is soiled, and the girl must be punished to clear the family’s name. When we hear that Muslims are “offended” by criticism of Islam, we should substitute the word “dishonoured” if we want to really understand the vehemence of the reaction among the more extreme elements. These people aren’t crazy, they are just following the rules of their culture (or subculture, since many Muslims don’t agree with this behaviour), and we misunderstand it at our peril.

  • Mitzi // Aug 15, 2007 at 2:35 am

    It’s hard for those of us in the US (even though we’ve had our censorship issues – Huckleberry Finn comes to mind), to understand what Sylvia so clearly stated.

    Supposedly in our culture (there have been some changes since 9/11) words (and thoughts) do not equate with deeds. When we start changing that premise, then we may start throwing out out other rights. Oh, wait – that’s just what we’re doing now.

    Off my politcal soapbox – sorry.

  • Dave // Aug 18, 2007 at 6:42 pm

    Examining anything without your own cultural bias is pretty difficult. When you throw religion into the mix its gets extremely difficult.