Seldom have I felt so out of step with the public debate as I have done since the terrorist attacks in Paris and Copenhagen. It seems to be impossible to in any way counteract the absurd tendency to compare any defence of the freedom of speech with intolerance or even incitement against Muslims And the problem is particularly acute on Facebook. Therefore I have decided to keep my mouth shut on this subject for a suitable time in the future.
But I still stand by what I have written:
The Encounter with Our Time’s most dangerous fascism
For the time being the terrorists seem to have won the battle about their prophet’s inviolability in the media. While most regrettably the right wing monopoly of the fight for freedom of speech remains uncontested.
One of the most regrettable neologisms in our language has been the term ‘freedom of speech fundamentalism’ (whatever next?: Democratic-fundamentalism? Romantic fundamentalism?).
Hitherto, the charge of fundamentalism against human rights has only been championed by Søren Krarup and others on the extreme right wing. Now this term is frequently used by left-leaning people, especially by the generation of 68, to throw suspicion on other people who believe that we should not allow ourselves to feel threatened and compromise on the fundamental elements of our democracy – freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech.
When on Facebook I have myself wondered about the new weakness relative to Islamic Fundamentalism, I have immediately had to explain to other left wingers that I have not adopted an arsenal of right-wing opinions:
No, I do NOT support the Israeli Occupation’s brutal assault on Palestinian civilians! No , I do NOT believe that the answer to terror is more surveillance and control which undermines the Rule of Law! No! I do NOT believe that Muslims are worse or more dogmatic people than other religious believers!
I consider myself to be a religious person but I believe that religion – in the sense of church teachings, power institution and dogmatism often risks being the opposite to free thinking, tolerance and democracy. Religiosity should be a private matter, and we must never allow religions to constrain our shared democratic free space.
I have neither drawn or printed drawings of gods and prophets. Nor am I of the opinion that one should print drawings constantly and ubiquitously or “just for the sake of provocation (and there are certainly not so many people either who hold that opinion).
But I will fight for the right of every draftsman, artist and author not to expose themselves to danger by expressing themselves in the way they may find fit. Including if I do not agree myself. And regardless of the right to her freedom of speech being threatened by multinational conglomerates such as Apple and Facebook, by criminal masterminds or by religious fanatics.
I’m going to think things over. Clearly this debate requires communicative skills I do not possess today. I will practice. In the meanwhile I have a book about the BZ squatter movement to write: