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Posted by on Sep 28, 2012 in International, Law, Media, Places, Politics, Religion, Society | 3 comments

Compromising on Free Expression would be ‘Unbearable’ (Le Soir, Belgium)

With the publication in France of cartoons perceived as insulting to the Prophet Muhammad, the battle over freedom of speech continues. So is there a happy medium between unlimited free expression and religion-motivated censorship? For Belgium’s Le Soir, columnist Didier Mamann writes that there is not – and if extremists ‘on both sides’ weren’t seeking to take advantage of this well-known cultural tension, there would be no violence over the Western tradition of free speech.

For Le Soir, Didier Mamann starts out this way:

Should we compromise on a fundamental element of our democracy, free expression? This is the question raised by the publication of cartoons depicting Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo [French satirical newspaper].

 

The idea is unbearable. So we would rather side with the white knights who have the courage to brave dangerous extremists capable of setting their editorial offices ablaze. We would like to loudly proclaim the inviolable right of newspapers to publish opinions and illustrations in keeping with both their roles and whimsies. For that matter, we would rather join with those who assert “this is our country, and here, we write what we want to write about Islam, because our secular traditions prevail. We will not lie down in cowardice before religious zealots.”

 

But isn’t this a bit overly-simplistic? Let’s be clear. The publication of these cartoons wasn’t meant to serve any noble intention. It wasn’t about delivering analysis or opinion on Islam to be accompanied by humorous illustrations. Neither was it to thumb our nose at religious fundamentalists who question the foundation of our secular democracies. The decision to publish these cartoons was driven by all accounts to provoke a violent reaction. (Let’s hope it wasn’t driven by the profit motive!)

READ ON IN ENGLISH OR FRENCH, OR READ MORE ON THE UNFOLDING CRISIS, AT WORLDMEETS.US, your most trusted translator and aggregator of foreign news and views about our nation.

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Copyright 2012 The Moderate Voice
  • slamfu

    Long live the 1st amendment.

  • dduck

    From the article: “The damage is done. How can we now appeal to reason? How can we prevent more deaths? How do we explain to Muslims that true democrats don’t wish to voluntarily offend by publishing insulting cartoons or distributing a ridiculous film? The vast majority of Muslims have no wish to challenge our principles of free expression and right to satire. Such a thing would be futile. On both sides, there are belligerents who benefit from turning a deaf ear to calls for appeasement.”

    I agree.

  • zephyr

    Agreed. Long live the 1st amendment, long live common sense, and love live personal responsiblity. The deaths of the American diplomatic personnel in Libya are totally and unequivically on the savages who killed them. The person who made the film is a contemptible idiot, but the killers are responsible for their own behavior.

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