Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Free speech: Is the West any better than Communist China?

In Beijing the other week, camera crews and foreign diplomats were harrassed, pushed and punched by police outside a courtroom where the civil rights lawyer Pu Zhiqiang stood accused of “inciting ethnic hatred”, and of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble.” His charges relate to posts he left on social media which were critical of the Chinese government, including one in which he questioned its “excessively violent” crackdown on Uighurs in Xinjiang province. Looking on, foreign powers tutted, then went back to not caring terribly much.

Earlier in December, a humanist group at Goldsmiths University in London welcomed the activist Maryam Namazie to speak at an event. An Iranian woman who fled that country after renouncing Islam, Namazie has nevertheless consistently challenged “the erroneous conflation between Islam, Islamism and Muslims” and lobbied for British Muslim women to be afforded proper protection in family courts. To the Goldsmiths Islamic Society however, she was persona non grata. Having previously hosted Hamza Tzortzis, a man who advocates the beheading of apostates, has likened homosexuality to cannibalism and regards free speech as un-Islamic, it declared Namazie’s presence on campus to be a “violation of [their] space”. Members showed up to intimidate her, turning off her projector and shouting her down.

The response of the university was to put the humanist group under investigation – almost as cowardly an action as the decision of the students’ union at the University of Warwick, which in the autumn blocked a visit from Namazie on the grounds that her presence might offend Muslim students, only to relent when academics protested. Meanwhile, the Feminist and LGBTQ+ Societies at Goldsmiths enacted their own astonishing feats of gutless intellectual timidity in voicing solidarity with those offended by Namazie. The latter organisation explained that: “If [the speakers felt] intimidated, we urge them to look at the underpinnings of their ideology. We find that personal and social harm enacted in the name of ‘free speech’ is foul, and detrimental to the wellbeing of students and staff on campus.”



Anonymous said...

More Politically Correct stupidity by Liberals.

Bird of Paradise said...

Liberals their all mouth and no minds they can yammer all they want to about Free Speech but want it for themselves alone

Anonymous said...

I notice all these liberal progressives spout their rot in countries where they know their rights to free speech are well-protected.