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Saturday, February 04, 2006



Clive, I'm finding I'm quite surprised by reactions to this affair, for example, the European papers standing up to attempts to stifle freedom of expression, while people like you, who I've so far found interesting, intelligent and reasonable, say things like "we should avoid causing needless offence". I think in this case it is absolutely essential to cause offence, for 2 reasons:
1. Not printing the cartoons now looks entirely like giving in to violent threats and pressure.
2. We have to counter this trite comment that "freedom of speech doesn't mean the freedom to offend people". Well, yes it does. That'e exactly what it means. What else could it mean?

There is nothing wrong with being offended by things - it happens to me all the time. But we have to learn to live with that as the price of freedom.


Fair point, Ilana,
I have very mixed feelings about this, as you can see. I was against the religious hatred bill proposed in the UK, but I still think papers should exercise self-censorship in certain cases. I guess what it comes down to is that we should pick our battles carefully, and in this case I don't think those cartoons pass the test.
Brownie's suggestion over at Harry's Place seems a good idea to me:


Agree with ya too Clive.
I think FoS should be used to make a specific point... its an important liberty that we should treasure and exercise when necessary, otherwise it becomes devalued if all its used to do is insult people needlessly (without making a specific point) than just about FoS in itself.


Dear Clive:

Found this via trackbacks.

A quick note, re Raf's last name is not Bey - Bey is a Turkish honourific that amuses me to attach to him. Well come to think of it, he uses it sometimes as well. Roughly Sir Raf. An inside joke as it were (which is amusing if you know Egyptians, for example, else requires a long and tedious explanation).

Not that he or I would particularly be put out by being so cited (as Mr Bey), but I thought a quick note to explain.

Else, disappointed to have the feeling 'Aqoul may have to specialise in this cartoon nonsense for a while.




"I think FoS should be used to make a specific point... its an important liberty that we should treasure and exercise when necessary..."

That sounds a bit too much like this for my liking:

"It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed." (Lenin)


Thanks for the tip re Raf's name. I knew about the term "Bey", but decided to go with the name he uses on his own blog,"Raf Bey...The Levantese". And there was always the slight possibility he was related to the jazz singer Andy Bey

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