Saturday, February 18, 2006

Censorship on the march!

And so it seems that a gay pride parade in Moscow was cancelled out of fear of violence after the chief Muslim cleric in the region invoked violence if there would be such a parade. In other news, a Muslim cleric offered $1 million for the killing of the cartoonists responsible for the Danish cartoons. What does this say for the future, if being out and proud or critical of the Muslim faith can result in one's death? How does society have a discourse? A Pakistan foreign minister stated, in the same breath (concerning the cartoons): “This is an issue on which there can be no overreaction. Of course, we don’t approve of violence,” she added. Well, which is that? An advocacy of violence or not? Because to the outside eye it seems to be a wink-wink-nudge-nudge advocacy of violence. "We don't approve of violence - but there can't be an overreaction." Pretty contradictory statements. Of course there are crazies on every side, such as Pat Roberston and pretty much everything he utters. There are countless people on the right who preach hate as their reason d'etre. Ann Coulter recently advocated blowing Syria to smitheerns. "Perhaps we could put aside our national, ongoing, post-9/11 Muslim butt-kissing contest and get on with the business at hand: Bombing Syria back to the stone age." What is at the heart of this all? It seems that religious conflict is at the heart of most of the wars in the world today. "I hate you because you don't believe in the god I believe in." The Iranian president already stated: ""We must believe in the fact that Islam is not confined to geographical borders, ethnic groups and nations. It's a universal ideology that leads the world to justice. We don't shy away from declaring that Islam is ready to rule the world. We must prepare ourselves to rule the world and the only way to do that is to put forth views on the basis of the Expectation of the Return." I resent the idea that somehow in the future I or my children would have to wear a burka. I resent the idea that somehow a culture that I see as disrespecting women's rights (any culture that forces women into burkas or head scarves without correspondingly forcing it on men is not okay by me!) wants to spread this to America. So it makes me extremely disturbed when I see things like Italy firing its foreign minister over the Danish toons. What people forget is that the Danish toons were opinion, not fact. And then this opinion was proven correct by the rioting (still going on!) across the world. What is the difference between censoring those toons, and say, censoring images like this: When opinions can be censored, we start to edge into a world of thought police. The slippery slope has begun. There is no reason why somehow religion gets a free pass - especially when religion has taken on so many political manifestations.

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