Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Authoritarian regimes and religious leaders now try to silence western speech -- it's all the same process, whether Paris today, or with Sony.


As Wolf Blitzer said on CNN on 9/11, “there are no words” for what happened in Paris today.
   
But the Wall Street Journal has a compendium of reprisals over the years for depictions of Muhammad, such as regarding the film “Submission” by Theo van Gogh, and the Jyllands-Posten cartoon controversy. Here is Time's account of "Je suis Charlie", link
 
Only two weeks ago we were saying that North Korea can’t control what movies we make and consumer at home.  It’s obvious that this has been going on with radical Islam, especially in Europe, for the last decade. There is a shocking tendency of extremist movements (whether religious elements or secular rogue states maybe distant related to communism) to "go to war" with individual civilian citizens or at least the media companies they run in western countries. Peter Beinart said as much on CNN Tonight to Don Lemon tonight.  My own days of being drafted a dealing with "special training" all the way back in 1968 seem very vivid indeed.  
        
Later, on AC360, Anderson Cooper interviewed Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who had helped make Van Gogh’s “Submission”.  She seemed to play down the distinction between “normal” Islam and radical Islam, saying that Islam has a world vision that seems to demand submission of all non-Muslims – if I heard her right.  “World Vision” is actually a somewhat controversial Christian charity operating most visibly in Africa.   

Peter Bergen offers a rather chilling account of a "silencer" plot in the US from 2009-2011, here.
 
WJLA reports a demonstration in support of the journalists in front of the Newseum tonight in the bitter cold in Washington DC.  The demonstrators use pencils instead of candles.  Scott Thiman reported tonight.  The WJLA story byline is "Radicals try to alter the way news is reported".  And that may apply to more than big news organizations.

I'll add a link to a rather stark "opposing view" published by USA Today (Gannett) (Jan. 8) authored by (London) Muslim cleric Anjem Chourdary here.  He writes "Muslims do not believe in the concept of freedom of expression, as their speech and actions are determined by divine revelation and not based on people's desires." Then he talks about the "responsibilities" of non-Muslims (as if Allah or God had already spelled out the "consequences" of disobedience).  USA Today also has its own view directly linked at that article.  Religious fundamentalists (of any mold) often need to see others forced to follow the same rules applied to them, to make the otherwise "unfair" world make more sense to them.  Authoritarian leaders (like Vladimir Putin or Kim Jong-Un) love to do the same thing in the secular world.

Fareed Zakaria has pointed out that the Koran never mentions blasphemy as such, but the Christian Bible does, and throughout history, Christianity used to be much more concerned with it than Islam, until more recently.  

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