The greatest argument for freedom of speech

11.25.02

I still maintain that the greatest argument for freedom of speech is that it gives the idiots and racists a perfect opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot, simply by opening their mouths. For example, the following letter to the editor appeared in this morning’s Gazette, regarding the controversy over the Egyptian miniseries “Horseman without a Horse”:

In regard to your Nov. 8 article “Egyptian drama series promotes hatred: Israel”: Egyptian media policy ensures Egypt’s equal respect for all religions and beliefs. It also does not allow for any dramatic work or program to contain innuendos aimed at religious institutions.

The drama series in question, “Knight without a Horse,” does not contain, in its dramatization nor its discourse, what could be taken as a “call for anti-Semitism.”

Egyptian media policy respects the right to freedom of expression, that being a human right. Denying individuals this right would not be synonymous with the democratic principles that Egyptian society follows and that allows this society to respect the cultural practices of others as well as their religious and sacred beliefs.

Stirring up an allegation of “anti-Semitism” at this time of crisis is an old tactic, and since the allegations have not been proved truthful, we think there is a hidden agenda.

In regards to the allegations that “anti-Semitism” is growing within Egyptian society, there is a big difference between anger toward Israeli politics and “anti-Semitism.”

This drama series, like all others, has passed through a rigorous censorship governmental committee prior to receiving approval for broadcasting. This committee ensures that any material that might be thought to contain religious innuendos be removed.

It appears that certain Zionist circles have created this propaganda to divert attention away from the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories and its daily consequences on the Palestinian people’s freedom and right to practice their religious rituals and to earn a living.

Fatma Abdalla

Director of the press office, Embassy of the Arab Republic of Egypt, Ottawa

I could comment, but he does such a nice job of exposing his ignorance with his own words, I hardly feel it necessary! I mean, aside from the usual and expected Zionist conspiracy theory and allegations of a “hidden agenda”, he manages to defend free speech and “rigorous” governmental censorship in the same letter. And “Egypt’s equal respect for all religions and beliefs”? Those being Muslim, Muslim . . . and Muslim, right? Certainly he can’t mean Jewish!

For a closer look at what’s really being said in Egypt these days, I direct your attention towards an editorial in the Egyptian government paper Al-Akbar (translated by those nice folks over at MEMRI) – one of many articles that praises the recent Jerusalem bus bombing that claimed 11 lives.

“This operation in which eleven Israeli terrorists were killed and dozens were wounded stems from a number of reasons, the first of which is that this operation is a consequence of a brave ambush prepared by Palestinian martyrs … in Hebron which … because of the state of madness that over took the ruling Israeli gang led by Ariel Sharon, who seeks to spill more Palestinian blood, especially the blood of children, women, the elderly, and the brave people of resistance.”

“In essence, everybody knows that the resistance is the only way for liberation, and there is no alternative. This weapon, the weapon of legitimate force, is the only weapon that Israel fears. Only the resistance can smash the Israeli arrogance and idiocy of its leaders.”

Egypt, remember, is supposedly at PEACE with Israel. It sure brings a whole new meaning to the expression, “with friends like these, who needs enemies?”

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