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Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend
coco fusco on Mon, 20 Feb 2006 21:13:30 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Ayaan Hirsi Ali, The Right to Offend


There is a problem with the logic involved in posting "The Right to Offend" as a
response to protests. The existence of protests is not necessarily equatable with
the suppression of freedom of speech. There is just as much of a right to protest
as there is to free speech. I am sure there are many secular muslims who are
against the protests against the cartoons, just as there are Arab women who are
against the veil, etc etc etc. Shall we all marvel forever at the diversity of
opinion in the muslim world or can we just accept that as a given? Who presumes
all muslims to think one way?
 
  There are plenty of right wing protests in the US against abortion, gay marriage
and a host of other "liberal issues."Many are carried out under the instructions
of Christian fundamentalist ministers. I am not in favor of bombing clinics, but
those groups have as much right to protest as I have to express myself, whether I
like it or not. Those rights are distinct from the question of whether those
protesting are being "manipulated" .
 
 As for whether or not I am too casual with the term fascist, I beg to differ.
Several state governments in the US have instituted laws forbidding the use of
languages other than English in affairs of state, and private enterprise follows
suit, finding that the xenophobic political climate makes it possible for them to
reinforce the prejudices of arrogant Americans who refuse to listen to other
languages or fear that something awful is being said about them. In the past,
fascist regimes in Europe have suppressed minority languages as well. 
 
 I find it truly amazing that anyone would argue that immigrant television
stations represent a formidable force in Europe. Despite all the xenophobic
hysteria about foreigners in Germany, France, Holland and elsewhere, the actual
populations are small and relatively speaking quite poor. The stations that air
programming directed at those populations don't reach the vast majority of
Europeans, and don't play a determinant role in mainstream public life in Europe. 

 
 Coco Fusco


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