Free Speech For All. As Long As We Approve

With the Charlie Hedbo attacks and outrage at the attempts of terrorist efforts to suppress ‘free speech’, the everyday editing of Western society actions, the societal conformity and the scourge of political correctness continues unchecked.
The attacks in Paris and the reaction they caused is something that is born, apparently, from the supposed attack on free speech. Attacks carried out in defence of slights on Islamic beliefs, a religion already highlighted in the Western world for all of the wrong reasons. The apparent oppression of women is routinely highlighted, praying several times a day and wanting the world to adhere to sharia law, are things that are given many column inches in the press, generally dictated in a scaremongering or disdainful fashion.
As I have written in previous blogs, I am not one for religion. If a person feels the need to worship, give thanks too or derive comfort from some supreme being, that is none of my – or anybody else’s – business. If that being; entity, is God, Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, Jah, or even Galactus, it should not be a cause of war or discourse.
With a nod to the, somewhat nominal, freedom of speech the press has been wailing about, is not political correctness a suppression of freedom of speech? You don’t think so? Okay. Try writing a negative blog about Jewish people and wait for your popularity to rise. Or venture an opinion on lesbians or gays that does not chime with the popular ethos and see how that works out for you. Expounding racist views can get you arrested. Ah, but you say, those views are offensive! Yes they are. So were the cartoons.
The drawings in the Charlie Hedbo magazine were offensive. Not too the liberal, non Muslim, middle class masses, no. But offensive none the less. Just because they are supposedly satirical or funny, it does not make them less so.
If we truly believe in freedom of speech, the right for people or a person to hold certain viewpoints, no matter how distasteful, then we have to trust in humanity and decency to police even that which we find repugnant, whilst remaining ever vigilant of true threats to life’s liberties.

two plus two is…

Another short film review this week – Two plus Two (2+2=5) – is a film by a Turkish filmmaker, Babak Anvari.

Set in a classroom, it shows how dictatorship is created and enforced, crushing dissent and rejecting all argument. A powerful and captivating film, Two plus Two was originally shot in colour, with no musical soundtrack accompanying it.

Though still powerful and effective, the addition of music and the starkness of converting it to black and white helps to enhance an already extremely incredible story. Using children also really works, giving the situation a sense of hopelessness, as those that are most vulnerable are dominated.

Powerlessness that can be understood by the masses, conforming even when they know something is wrong. The addition of music is inspired, playing softly throughout until a critical moment of choice happens and the music is cut, waiting for the outcome.

You can compare the colour version and draw your own conclusion. I will just end this post with the interesting conundrum – what’s more important – life or freedom?

Update – the black and white version is no longer available.