Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
February 12th, 2006



I don’t see how the Danes or any other European could possibly be proud of what they’ve caused, in clinging to the already-overextended freedom of speech as the end-all and be-all:

At Friday sermons throughout the city, preachers attacked satirical cartoons of the prophet Muhammad as blasphemy and urged Muslims to defend his honor. Entrances to the Al-Murabit mosque were strewn with Danish, Israeli and American flags so worshipers could trample them as they entered for prayers. Outside the mosque, banners called for a boycott of Danish, European and U.S. products “until Denmark is brought to its knees, regretting this farce called freedom of expression.”

The next day, thousands of protesters gathered in a main square. Under the watchful eye of plainclothes security agents, they chanted rhythmically, “We will sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, dear prophet.” They then marched to the Danish and Norwegian embassies and set them on fire.

Freedom of speech – or its more inclusive cousin, the freedom of expression – is a means to encourage constructive discussion. How this violence can possibly be classified as “discussion,” and how the original caricatures were ever constructive, is completely beyond me. According to this article by Newsday, the Syrian government might well have been behind the recent violence in Syria. This is not free speech; this is the “Hate Song” in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.