FREEDOM OR THE ILLUSION THEREOF

“Freedom of the press is not an end in itself but a means to the end of a free society.”
~ Felix Frankfurter, Associate Justice, US Supreme Court.

Hmmm, you know what? I’m not the only one who thinks I should buy Danish to counter some of the stupidity we’ve seen in the last few days.

Big Pharaoh is urging everyone to buy Danish.

In fact, he’s got some pretty funny and facetious stuff on the Muslim world’s reaction to the situation in Denmark. I suggest you give his blog a read.

He also says some pretty important stuff, with which I agree. From his 1 February post:

See ladies and gentlemen, this is what’s drawing this region backwards into the abyss of stupidity and irrationality. We invoke religion in everything. We see everything through the prism of religion. Our false religiosity that lacks the power of our God-given mind has crippled our ability to rationalize and make sound judgements and come up with reasonable conclusions. Katrina becomes God’s judgement on America while Pakistan’s earth quake had killed far more people. The Tsunami becomes God’s punishment for the sex industry in Thailand while most of the dead were Muslim Indonesians. The US invasion of Iraq becomes America’s war on Islam while the ones who are ramming suicide car bombs into Shia mosques are fellow Sunnis. And the list goes on and on.

I am sick and tired because I feel so hopeless. I can’t do anything about it. Well, in fact I can do something. All what I can do is urge you to: BUY DANISH.

I never understood that Indonesian earthquake rationale, but I guess it’s because I am not very religious. In fact, you could say I’m not religious at all.

I even learned something from Big Pharaoh’s links to Danish products (which I urge you to peruse). Tuborg is a Danish beer! I didn’t know that! WOW! I wonder if Vladimir at From Holland to Kurdistan can find out if the Hewlêrî protestors caused any trouble in Ainkawa, because Ainkawa is positively plastered with Tuborg signs–as much as the North is plastered with Efes signs. I remember plenty of Tuborg signs in Ain Sifne, too.

Big Pharaoh also makes some excellent comments on freedom of expression, from 30 January:

The reaction of the Arab/Muslim public points out the fact that we still do not know what a free press is. In our countries, we are used to see total government control over the media. Even our so called independent media (Al Jazeerah, Al Arabiyah, etc) are linked to one government or another. We believe that the Danish government can somehow punish the newspaper or issue a degree banning it from publishing what we consider as blasphemous stuff. The truth is, even if the Danish government is against what the paper did, and I am sure they are, they still cannot do anything to Jyllands-Posten.

The very same words can be applied to the press in Kurdistan, especially with this business of “total government control over the media.” And you all know what I’m talking about, don’t you?

The idea of a free press, or of free expression, completely divorced from the government–or parties. . . and any other political organization–is still a foreign idea in Kurdistan. It is as foreign as the idea of a free-standing government that is not dependent on parties, but exists as a separate structure within society, a separate structure which serves the people and not the party elites.

Freedom of expresion is the foundation of all other freedoms. Without it, all the other freedoms are merely illusions.

I am hopeful that Kurdistan will overcome the foreigness of the idea of free expression. Most of my hope comes from the Kurdish diaspora because there is already a good foundation in diaspora for practical use of and experimentation with free expression, an experiential body of knowledge which needs to return to Kurdistan to make the hope a reality.

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