Posts Tagged ‘freedom of expression’

Australian Sports presenter/journalist Scott Mcintyre recently got sacked by his Television Network SBS for making some “offensive remarks” about ANZAC soldiers and general comments about World Wars 1 and 2. The Journalist took to his Twitter account to make a series of tweets that were Anti-War, Anti Anzac Day and Anti glorification- voicing an opinion that is controversially “different” to the general take on the Australian and New Zealand war Veterans and their roles not only in Gallipoli, Turkey but numerous other locations during International war campaigns.

The Australian Channel SBS is known for its “diverse” and “alternative” take on news and current affairs and it is a channel that prides itself from presenting –other than– mainstream views on a variety of topics. Some people saw his sacking as justified whilst others have pulled into question the supposed freedoms of “Freedom Of Speech”.

People that know me might notice that every year during ANZAC day (April 25th) all of my social media outlets are silent. As our Television stations, radio channels and workplaces inundate people with the remembrance of our fallen soldiers and the hard work put forward by Australian and New Zealand service men and women we see that our social media outlets are flooded with comments, memes, pictures and memoirs commemorating the day – except that i do not say a word.

Anzac Day- April 25th- Is an important day in Australias History.

Anzac Day- April 25th- Is an important day in Australias History.

There are a few reasons for this, first of all War is a complex thing. It is easy to put forward a romanticized narrative about Wars, especially when Nationalism comes into play, yet once we look past the facade of the ever so simplistic views of Anzac day and if we dig deep into the wars and our involvement within them we see that not only is war ugly, it actually holds to it two different sides and two different perspectives and once we take a moment to view the war from another perspective it must put into question exactly what we are glorifying and why.?

The same goes for Australia Day- many of us are so caught up in our modern day nationalistic pride that we forget, for some people- the Aboriginals- or the “other perspective” such a day is not a day of celebration, glory or honour but a day of regret, hostility and pain. That is why i also fail to make commentary about Australia Day because i actually think about the other side, i precisely question if i celebrate such an occasion, may i be hurting others? The exact same thing goes for ANZAC day, if i glorify such a day, may i be hurting those that saw the occasion as something else? Something like an invasion or aggressive attempt at war? It’s not my place to make such a compelling stand and statement.

This is where people need to understand, just as the case of Scott Mcintyre- failing to acknowledge such days the same ways as other people acknowledges them doesn’t mean i disrespect our history, neither does it mean i hate my beautiful country or all that we stand for. It doesn’t make us an enemy or disrespectful mongrels that spit on the graves of fallen soldiers. I am absolutely sure i have friends that have had relatives involved in such occasions and i refuse to belittle their efforts or bravery in the face of war, yet i respond to complex issues with a complex mind. I cannot “simplify” war and i cannot dumb down the details of such intense and scattered battles where many individuals stories and narratives contradict the “perfect” storyboard of events that is given to us.

Australia Day: A day of celebration for some and a day of dismay for others.

Australia Day: A day of celebration for some and a day of dismay for others.

There is no Orthodoxy on how an Australian should view ANZAC day or Australia day yet the fact of the matter is people are cast as treacherous villains for having outside opinions of such events that are fed to us by our Politicians and the Media. I cannot help but think as we intensify in such remembrance year after year we are coming a step closer to not only glorifying a past war but unintentionally and subconsciously preparing to glorify our involvement in future wars– most of which are not sanctioned by us but our Allies overseas.

I do not believe Scott Mcintyre should have been fired for his opinions, even if they were poorly expressed. His Employer could have easily “distanced themselves” from his statements on his personal Twitter by distinctively stating his words are not an expression of their views or beliefs- but they should have stood by his right to say what he did without losing his livelihood. Our Nanny State antics are hitting the roof if even a person that works for Australias most “diverse” channel cannot voice his own controversial opinion without getting fired for it or being forced to apologize for offending others.

SBS Sports Journalist Scott Mcintyre fired for

SBS Sports Journalist Scott Mcintyre fired for “offensive” comments about ANZAC day.

Besides, many of the Murdoch Run Newspapers across Australia run articles by “pop up journalists” all the time that are full of racist, homophobic, ignorant and offensive statements in the form of “blogs” and they all manage to keep their jobs, in fact their presence becomes more highlighted, just as the case with out of the Blue “journalists” Rita Panahi or Tim Blair who constantly makes offensive jibes at Muslims in the form of News Corporated “blog” articles. The truth of the matter is i don’t expect any better from such rubbish press, yet i did and still do expect better from SBS who pride themselves in supposed diversity to be able to handle a “diverse” opinion.

At the end of the day Freedom Of Speech is paramount in any civilized society. My lack of speech indicates that i am not confident enough to celebrate, glorify or amplify such days on our calender. I acknowledge the history of it, i acknowledge the Peoples bravery and spirit in the face of war- yet i cannot commemorate something i cannot relate to. There are far too many dissenting opinions and there is more than one perspective we must look through. I look at such days as lessons at most- perhaps such days could make us think more about the value of human life and the tragedy of war and perhaps such days could encourage us to not send more troops abroad so we can avoid the risk of allowing history to repeat itself- again.

Peace, Salam.

Ramey

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Ahhh the wonderful sound of the statement “Freedom Of Speech”. It is as pleasing to the ear as the opening of a coke bottle on a hot summers day...TSSSSSSS – then gulp away at the quenching taste. For a while now i have always been curious about the terminology of “Freedom Of Speech” because to me freedom is absolute; it is limitless; unrestricted and unchallenged. The fact is even a child will come to realize that “freedom of speech” is not necessarily free and in fact is subject to so many terms and conditions that the meaning is deteriorated almost immediately.

As with the latest major protests around the world because of the film “Innocence of Muslims” we saw riots across the Muslim world where almost 20 people died as a result. The United States insisted it would protect freedom of speech, which is fair enough but is consistency not to be expected? It is not only the United States but many liberal “freedom” loving nations have a hard time grasping the meaning of Freedom. Recently when France agreed to publish derogatory paintings of the Prophet Muhammad in a magazine with him bent down on all fours the government then initiated a law making it ILLEGAL to protest this action, yes even a peaceful protest is forbidden!

This must then beg the question- is freedom of expression not a natural response to freedom of speech? We express ourselves in many ways and not always is it true that we respond a word for a word. People who have not been exposed to the sweetness of “Freedom of Speech” cannot be expected to grasp it, nor adapt to it- not overnight at least. Hence when we see angry Muslims in third world countries shout and riot at the mockery of their faith we see their expression is free and history tells us they react to such degradation with violence, it’s not an ideal expression, it’s not speech but it is how some limited people react.

Freedom Of Speech- Fact Or Farce?

When someone attacks your mother and insults you to your face; people practice their expression/reaction in many ways. A person might turn away and invite more bullying. Another person might return the scathing words with more scathing words (leaving an endless cycle of division) and others would knock the lights out of that person (some would say the offender had it coming).

The fact is Freedom of speech is severely limited and i will not stand up for it, not until it loses itself from the shackles of hypocrisy. Let me give you some wonderful examples of how “Freedom Of Speech” is a failure in our society and is often used as a tool to provoke, insult, attack and degrade people and the protection is limited to only certain people, for one group expressing your speech against them is fine (Some minorities) whilst for another group it is forbidden and tabboo (Other minorities/ Governments).

Alan Jones- Abandoned and shunned.

Let me start locally here in Australia- last month radio personality Alan Jones (a controversial man) recently made a jab at the deceased father of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Alan Jones stated that her father died “due to shame” – alluding to the lies, deceit and misconduct of her government and policies. An absolutely stupid and shocking thing to say without a shadow of a doubt, but indeed it is his right. No? After this occurred many companies boycotted Alan Jones and his radio station, people disappeared from around him, he was shunned all over the media and was forced to apologize. He now lives life as a shunned man, gifts taken away from him, sponsors disbanding from any association he may have and an embarrassing position all came from his supposed “Freedom Of Speech”. So attacking the Prime Minister and speaking ill of the dead is a no go zone. Fair enough.

NBA’s Abare Stoudemire fined $50,000 for “Gay Slur”.

Next case in point is NBA player Amare Stoudemire who plays for the NY Knicks. In June 2012 he was fined by the NBA for stating something on his personal twitter. What did he do? He had a fight with a supposed “fan”. The fan made a statement that he should lift his game and make up for his bad season. Amare then personal messaged this “fan” inciting him with gay slurs.  This “offensive” and “derogatory” language cost him $50,000 USD as he was fined for his misconduct. It is unknown if this fan was homosexual or not, but from this drastic example we see a man that used his PERSONAL twitter and sent a PERSONAL message still managed to be fined for “hate speech” even online. So attacking homosexuals is a no go zone. Fair enough.

Julian Assange: Ambushed & Wanted.

Moving forward we have the world famous case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. This man has been responsible for shedding so much light on how politics works and how governments run. Indicating their hypocritical nature and deceit amongst their neighbors. He released information that was true, accurate and direct sources from the offenders themselves. He revealed to the world the ugly side of politics that we all know exists, yet we never wanted to admit or own up to. This has led to a bounty on his head, quiet literally. If Assange is extradited to the United States he could face the death penalty for Espionage and treason. This Hero to the people has become a wicked villain to the governments, from the British police surrounding and attempting to storm the embassy he is held in, to the re-emerging of “rape” accusations coming from Sweden this man has been tormented and continues to be tormented for expression his freedom of speech with these leaks. So attacking the government and politics is a no go zone. Fair enough.

Teacher Patricia. M fired for “Anti Semetic” statement in Protest.

 

Finally we have the case of a substitute teacher in an L.A school in October of 2011. Patricia McAllister was fired for making “Anti-Semetic” remarks even though what she said was no anti-semetic but anti ANTI-semetic. During an OCCUPY LA protest Patricia said:

“I think that the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks and our federal reserve, which is not run by the federal government – they need to be run out of this country”.

Please note that Patricia made this statement in her own time, in her own company and not within school grounds or anywhere near students. The Los Angeles Unifed School District confirmed that Ms. McAllister was fired as they don’t stand for “Disrespectful, intolerant or discriminatory behaviour”– all in the while they confirm this was her own “private opinion”. Why was her comment Anti-Semetic? We know the Zionists she talk about are condemned by most Orthodox Jews.  So attacking Zionists is a no go zone. Fair enough.

Is it fair enough? Or do these examples show the clear crack on the windscreen of “Freedom Of Speech?“. It is so inconsistent within itself. It is so broad in it’s terminology but so limited in it’s capability. It is so selective on who can say what. I do not support “Freedom Of Speech” because it is a system that is flawed. It is a product of the Western Liberal world that we love and desire so much, yet there is so little that we understand. We staunchly stand up and defend something we have not grasped nor really thought about. If freedom of speech is a right and if it is actually free- then the above examples would not exist. Either speech is free and unrestricted for all humans, or this is simply a banner that we wave around for convenience, a flag that we use to insult others, then hide behind. Let’s face is folks, freedom of speech is not a fact, it’s a farce!

Peace, Salam Alaykum.