"When they allow a talk show host to play them like a two-dollar banjo, they demonstrate what kind of backbone they'll bring to the job later on, if we elect them. After they get elected will they continue to allow Jeff Crank to put a nickel in them and wind them up every Saturday morning?"

Barry Noreen, former columnist, Colorado Springs Gazette

Thursday, September 9, 2010

FREEDOM OF SPEECH?


By

ROBERT HARKINS

Hirsi Ali, a woman of profound courage, dignity and intelligence, was born in Somalia and raised as a Muslim. As a child she endured beatings from her mother, and along with her two sisters, genital mutilation, a macabre and unspeakable disfiguration, intended to preserve her virginity for a husband.[1] She escaped her family’s clutches, an arranged marriage and obtained asylum and citizenship in Holland. There she went on to became a conservative Member of Parliament. Presently, she lives in the United States. Because she is under a death sentence, her life depends on 24 hour vigilance and the protection of her armed body guards.

Simply for speaking her mind, Hirsi Ali would find a note addressed to her and pinned to the bullet-riddled body of her friend Theo Van Goth. The author and murderer of Van Goth, an Islamic terrorist, condemned Hersi Ali to death. She joins Salmon Rushdie who was sentenced to death for his publication of Satanic Verses, a collection of poems critical of Islam, and Geert Wilders a Dutch politician for his production of the documentary Fitna.

Geert Wilders, now leader of The Party for Freedom, is under sentence of death for his production of Fitna, a documentary in which are collected some of the atrocities attributable to Islamic fanaticism:

I. An interview of a female child, perhaps four or five years of age who when prompted by a teacher expressed the opinion that all Jews are apes and pigs.

II. A partial video of the beheading of David Pearl, a display by his murderer of his severed head, and the execution of a prostrate woman by a man who casually placed a rife barrel to the back of her head and pulled the trigger.

III. Videos of the actual and heart rending deaths at Ground Zero, and the British and Spanish Subway bombings.

IV. A number of speeches made by various Imams calling for Jihad, and the annihilation of Europeans, Americans and their civilization.

V. Muslim interviews justifying the murder of female family members guilty of alleged sexual indiscretions, this in the name of family honor.

Geert Wilders was also indicted by the Dutch Parliament for the production of Fitna. He is charged with hate speech, an ambiguous crime against which apparently truth is not a defense. His trial is scheduled for October of 2010. He endorsed about eighteen expert witnesses including a number of Muslims committed to Islamic Jihad. All were stricken by the Court except for three academic experts, and even their testimony will be given behind closed doors.

Closer to home, the American Left is committed to the abolishment of free speech where such speech might conceivably offend someone or anyone, (this is the criteria for most Academic speech codes)—or where such speech addresses ideas to which the Left does not subscribe. Leftist disagreement is flexible so it is not always possible to know whether one has violated the leftist credo until the word is said or written. However, for the one who is willing to surrender freedom of mind and conscience, heart and speech to the dictates of an renegade ideology, he may be guided generally by the iron tenets of political correctness. For to violate the ever expanding dogma of political correctness is to sin grievously and by that sin to court banishment.

Nathanial Hawthorne captured the ugliness of that same species of banishment in his novel The Scarlet Letter. Hester Prynne and her illegitimate infant daughter were compelled to wear a rag of cloth emblazoned with the red letter A, this to shame Hester to the world as an adulteress and thereby, to banish her forever from her community.

Today, there are others words will do. Tea partiers know them quite well. Violate leftist dogma and you will find sewed metaphorically to your clothes a rag of cloth sewn with the epithet racist, homophobe, holocaust denier or xenophobe, to name only a few.

The tradition of free speech is strong in America. Indeed, from the birth of our nation, freedom of speech has been protected by a Bill of Rights and, previously, by two hundred years of American tradition. Nevertheless, its diminishment proceeds apace. While the citizen may and should simply blow off leftist criticism, Democrats are again seeking the criminalization of freedom of speech. Some years ago, Senators John McCain and Feingold first criminalized that political speech which is usually expressed shortly before a national election. The law, blatantly unconstitutional, continued for a decade or so, until it was condemned and struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court. Nevertheless, Democrats, now working with President O’Bama, are seeking to subvert the Supreme Court’s ruling by new, clever, obtuse and unconstitutional legislation.

Democrat and presidential contempt for First Amendment rights continues on all government fronts. In an article entitled U.S. rams through UN approval of homosexual group that opposes religious freedom, [2] President O’bama, and his administration, working with homosexual groups, intends to criminalize any speech remotely critical of homosexual conduct. The only other groups seeking similar prohibitions of freedom of speech are Muslims from states in which Jihad is particularly active.

The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) voted this week on a US-led initiative to accredit the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC).

The move effectively bypassed a subsidiary committee’s decision to defer action on the group until it answered questions about its support of new homosexual ‘rights,’ which many Member States believe directly conflict with recognized rights to freedom of religion and freedom of expression. Emphasis added. Opposition to IGLHRC’s application centers around the group’s endorsement of a document called the

Yogyakarta Principles, a document which calls for “sexual orientation and gender identity” to be new categories of nondiscrimination in UN human rights treaties.

Among other things the Yogyakarta Principles calls for criminal penalties against those who criticize homosexuality.[3] Emphasis added.

Geert Wilders makes a critically important point. The real issue is not his guilt or innocence, but whether freedom of speech and therefore of thought and conscience, will continue to exist or be destroyed. Indeed, he states emphatically that he is

fighting for one thing: the preservation of our culture, which is based on Christianity, Judaism and humanism - and not on Islam… While Islamization of our society grows, the political elite looks in the other direction and ignores the real problem, namely, the impending loss of our freedom. I am fighting not against Moslems, but against the influx of a totalitarian ideology called Islam." [4]

It was England produced the Magna Carta and, therefore, the frame work of Constitutional rights. It was England that working hand-in-hand with the new United States 35 years after its Constitution was written at Philadelphia, began to stamp out the curse of slavery. Working together England and America hung slavers from the yardarm and cannonaded their slave boats. But it was this same England—or was it— who by the order of one Jacqui Smith, refused to allow Geert Wilders to get off the plane and simply speak his mind to English citizens. The order was reversed by a English Court. On March 5, 2010, Geert Wilders made this speech to the House of Lords in London. I end with a few excerpts.

Thank you. It is great to be back in London. And it is great that this time, I got to see more of this wonderful city than just the detention centre at Heathrow Airport. Today I stand before you, in this extraordinary place. Indeed, this is a sacred place. This is, as Malcolm always says, the mother of all Parliaments, I am deeply humbled to have the opportunity to speak before you.

Thank you Lord Pearson and Lady Cox for your invitation and showing my film Fitna. Thank you my friends for inviting me.

We see Islam taking off in the West at an incredible pace. Europe is Islamizing rapidly. A lot of European cities have enormous Islamic concentrations. Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels and Berlin are just a few examples. In some parts of these cities, Islamic regulations are already being enforced. Women’s rights are being destroyed. Burqas, headscarves, polygamy, female genital mutilation, honor-killings. Women have to go to separate swimming-classes, don’t get a handshake. In many European cities there is already apartheid. Jews, in an increasing number, are leaving Europe.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m being prosecuted for my political beliefs. We know political prosecution to exist in countries in the Middle East, like Iran and Saudi-Arabia, but never in Europe, never in the Netherlands.

But it is not all about me, not about Geert Wilders. Free speech is under attack. Let me give you a few other examples. As you perhaps know, one of my heroes, the Italian author Oriana Fallaci had to live in fear of extradition to Switzerland because of her anti-Islam book ‘The Rage and the Pride’. The Dutch cartoonist Nekschot was arrested in his home in Amsterdam by 10 police men because of his anti-Islam drawings. Here in Britain, the American author Rachel Ehrenfeld was sued by a Saudi businessman for defamation. In the Netherlands Ayaan Hirsi Ali and in Australia two Christian pastors were sued. I could go on and on. Ladies and gentlemen, all throughout the West freedom loving people are facing this ongoing ‘legal jihad’. This is Islamic ‘lawfare’. And, ladies and gentlemen, not long ago the Danish cartoonist Westergaard was almost assassinated for his cartoons.

… we should defend the right to freedom of speech. With all our strength. With all our might. Free speech is the most important of our many liberties. Free speech is the cornerstone of our modern societies. Freedom of speech is the breath of our democracy, without freedom of speech our way of life our freedom will be gone.

I believe it is our obligation to preserve the inheritance of the brave young soldiers that stormed the beaches of Normandy. That liberated Europe from tyranny. These heroes cannot have died for nothing. It is our obligation to defend freedom of speech. As George Orwell said: “If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”.

First, we will have to defend freedom of speech. It is the most important of our liberties. In Europe and certainly in the Netherlands, we need something like the American First Amendment.

…To the previous generation, that of my parents, the word ‘London’ is synonymous with hope and freedom. When my country was occupied by the national-socialists the BBC offered a daily glimpse of hope in my country, in the darkness of Nazi tyranny. Millions of my fellow country men listened to it, underground. The words ‘This is London’ were a symbol for a better world coming soon.

Ladies and gentlemen, we will never apologize for being free. We will and should never give in. And, indeed, as one of your former leaders said: We will never surrender. Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail.



[1] Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel, (Free Press. 2007).

[2] Published 07/22/2010 - 5:09 p.m. CST NEW YORK, (C-FAM) –

[3] The Cypress Times. By Samantha Singson, July 23, 2010

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