Showing posts with label freedom of expression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freedom of expression. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 26


The posters in the New York Subway stations represent:
a. Clash of civilizations.
b. Clash in religions.
c. Clash of speech.
d. Or, all of the above.

Activist Mona Eltahawy was arrested for spray-painting over posters suggesting that Muslims are uncivilized. "Eltahawy was arrested after a supporter of Geller's initiative attempted to prevent her defacing the sign with a purple aerosol," reports Peter Beaumont for the Guardian. 

Eltahawy defended her action as "free speech," too. But then she didn't pay $6000 in advertising costs for posters in 10 subway stations. In New York City, paid advertising carries more weight than activism.

The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which commissioned the posters, and Eltahawy are receiving far more publicity and attention than either paid for.

As a side note, The Color Purple is one of my favorite books about literacy.

Update, September 30: Eltahawy is on UP With Chris Hayes, and she describes the spray paint as pink - not black, so people could still read the poster. Chris asked her, why she responded to the trolls? She responded, that she felt compelled to respond to the bullies. Still like purple, not changing the art. Readers have asked who is the artist. Answer: 2-minute Paint creation.

Saturday, September 15


Protests in Cairo over a film trailer, The Innocence of Muslims, originally called Desert Warriors, represent but a fraction of Egyptians, the vast majority who continue to go about their daily lives. Journalist Ethar El-Katatney provided perspective this morning on UP with Chris Hayes. Protests were reported in 23 nations, each fueled by varying sources of anger, the foolish anti-Muslim film serving as an excuse in many cases.

The protests are scattered and fragmented.

On the other hand, the vast majority of people in the United States, the third most populous country in the world, are puzzled, not prepared to fear and resent 1 billion Muslims.

Likewise, most Americans are not ready to dispense with freedom of expression. It may be difficult for other cultures to reconcile, but  most Americans both support peaceful protests that blast the US in Egypt and Libya and Yemen and beyond, as well as a mean, self-centered, biased filmmaker's right to make a film and, as writer Oscar Wilde once said, make an ass out of himself. Violence is wrong, freedom of expression is open to all. The nation's first president, George Washington, said in a speech to officers in 1783, “If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”

Protesters can walk on the US flag, and this makes Americans stronger.

Photo courtesy of Mohamed CJ and Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, September 12

Victim of irresponsibility

US Ambassador Chris Stevens worked his entire career to better lives and improve connections between other cultures and the United States, most recently in Libya as it undergoes transition from dictatorship, civil war and efforts for representative government.

He and at least three other Americans were killed today while fleeing the American consulate in Benghazi.

Protests flared this week after a television cleric in Egypt found an amateur video denigrating Mohammed - a video without humor or merit, one that otherwise would have attracted attention. He showed clips over the weekend and reposted them on YouTube. Rumors flared that the clips were part of a major Hollywood film to open on September 11. Tempers flared.

The film was irresponsible.
Showing the film on television was irresponsible.
The protests that turned violent were irresponsible....