Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Here's to free speech

Let's take a moment to thank the EFF and other public interest groups for their support of free speech. It's worth thinking about the consequences of ever losing it:
In many countries a journalism student covering a demonstration of school children would be commended for his initiative. In Syria, student Mesud Hamid posted photos on the net of Kurdish pupils demanding equal rights. He was arrested while taking an exam at university. "I was tortured," he said. "For one year and three months I was held in a cell measuring one metre by two. I didn't see the sun or sky for all that time." - BBC article
In North America we take it for granted. We shouldn't.
"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
My Chinese former roommates seemed incredulous at my claim that the Bush poster on my wall, which makes fun of his many mis-statements, would be legal in the U.S. Unfortunately, they do not seem to understand the importance of free speech. On the other hand, maybe it's only fair: I can't understand those who actually want their government to suppress speech that its leaders don't like. And you know, governments never stop at suppressing opinions; they suppress inconvenient facts too, and they often oppress the people who have disseminated "undesirable" messages.

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