Saturday, February 18, 2006

Freedom of Expression Alright!

This is a great article written by one of my favourite bloggers, Eman. A well informed, well educated Palestinian-Jordanian woman, currently living in Tunisia.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks doing nothing but replying to comments on my blog, entering forums, leaving comments on people’s blogs, just to defend Arabs in general and Muslims in particular.
I’ve reached a point where I’m truly and utterly FED UP! Some people just don’t want to listen, they keep blabbering and asking pointless questions for no reason but to say: hey, gotcha!
Well I really don’t care anymore. Think whatever you wish, we’ve been living with wrong impressions and a stinky reputation for ages, we sort of got used to it, we’re trying to get the message across that we do have people who are worth respect, but no use, so here’s my decision: no more replying to offensive and rude comments left on my blog; no more entering pointless discussions; and no more defending, we’re a lot more better than wasting our whole time on defending our stands and explaining our culture as well as our religion to those who are not willing to listen with an open-mind in the first place.
I’ve had enough of this whole cartoon issue, I’m not shocked for the reactions of non-Muslims, and I don’t blame them for hating us even more after the stupid violent reactions of some Muslims during protests burning embassies and threatening innocent civilians. And here I am again for the millionth time condemning those violent reactions, there is no justification whatsoever, they are of no use, they are disgusting and have caused us Muslims more damage than the cartoons themselves.
BUT, not accepting violence and condemning it does not mean I deny Muslims the right to be offended and react any peaceful way they choose, no matter how silly and pointless their choices seemed to non-Muslims.

What shocked me, or better say disgusted me, was the reaction of some Muslims to this issue. They are not condemning violence only, but the simple right of Muslims to be offended in the first place.
In what twisted logic is it ok for ALL people to express how they feel towards others freely with no restrictions, but when it comes to Muslims it becomes really “not cool” and “not civilized” to do the very same?
I mean when the hell are you going to finally stop kissing asses to win admiration and be called modern and open-minded!! Or is it that you got used to saying sorry no matter what!
To all those who consider people like myself to be dumbasses, whether you’re Muslims or non-Muslims, believers or non-believers, I ask: Who is standing for the so-called freedom of expression when Muslim women are getting kicked out of schools and are getting fired for simply putting a harmless piece of cloth on their own heads?
Who is apologizing for Muslims who are being expelled from countries they’ve been living in as constructive members of society for ages just because of their religion? Where does freedom of expression exactly fit when some countries are forming Arab-speaking police units to track the speeches of Imams in mosques? Who is defending Freedom of the damn expression when Israel lobbies against tagging Paradise Now as a film from Palestine, because to them there’s no such thing as Palestine! Where is Freedom of Expression when a petition is created and signed by over 11,000 Israelis to force the withdrawal of this Palestinian movie from the Academy Awards?!

Why get out of the topic, let’s stick to cartoons. Being offended by a cartoon mocking our prophet is stupid, conservative, backward and intolerant? What should WE say about our Palestinian cartoonist NAJI AL ALI, who was assassinated because he dared express the suffering of Palestinians in his cartoons? Huh! Or are our cartoonists pieces of trash!

If you want freedom of expression, you need to apply it equally regardless of religion or origin. Freedom of expression loses all its sense when you practice double standards.
If you really believe in freedom of expression, you need to respect the differences and know the fine line between expressing yourself for a cause, and hurting someone in the name of expressing yourself.
And most important of all, you need to know that freedom of expression was never disregarding the other part or freeing yourself from ethics and responsibility, because if you reached that point, what’s the use of calling you human!
I guess there’s nothing better to end this post than the Charles Kingsley quote I’ve been typing all over the blogosphere lately: “There are two freedoms - the false, where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he ought”.

Original Article can be found here


Anonymous Jinan said...

Wow...I couldn't have said it better myself! I went to Palestine 2 years ago...and that is when I really got to know the works of Naji Ali.....and I heard the protesting against Paradise Now being recognized as a Palestinian film. I think it is absolutely unbelievable....there IS a Palestine, because there are Palestininan PEOPLE....they won't recognize them as Israelis, so what do we call them? I agree with you also on the issue of Muslims denouncing other Muslims' reactions....I was mad as hell at those pictures, and I told people so. I am not going to try and pretend that it didn't bother me so I can seem more "American"....Islam is my religion, and while I don't like to create a bad image for it, I will state my opinion on things. Thanks for this was enlightening!

20 February, 2006 23:12  
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