In an effort to display (or rather, abuse) freedom of speech, a number of neo (I’d prefer to call them pseudo) Conservative bloggers have supported the publication of the 12 cartoons by various newspapers.
Tim Blair, who joined me in an interview with the Triple-J program “Hack” on the afternoon of Monday 6 February 2006, has published all the cartoons in full. He has given the usual spiel about freedom of speech.
At least I think he has. I really don’t know. Why? Because around 6 months ago, Mr Blair decided to show his devotion to freedom of speech by banning me from commenting on his blog.
And my crime? I was being way too critical of a certain non-Arab country in the Middle East whose name is not Iran. Or more specifically, I was being critical of Ariel Sharon.
Mr Blair’s devotion to freedom of speech did not, at the time, extend to freedom to criticise Israeli Likud Party leaders, a right enjoyed by Israelis themselves.
Mr Blair also did not like the fact that I was using genuine conservative argument to show that his positions on a number of issues bore greater resemblance to those of the East German Communist Party than to mainstream conservative thinking.
Of course, those agreeing with Mr Blair’s position have been free to leave anonymous comments on this blog. The fact that they may find themselves unable to use words with more than four letters doesn’t stop me from allowing them some free speech.
Mr Blair also apparently made references to the fact that Arab newspapers had posted anti-Semitic cartoons in their pages. Yes, I agree that they have done this. And this is wrong. But does that make it ok to follow their example?
Naturally, Mr Blair is an expert on racism. Which explains why he allows racist and xenophobic views to be expressed on his blog. You will find him citing Mark Steyn, Daniel Pipes and a range of other persons whose views about Muslims virtually mirror the sorts of views published in German newspapers about Jews during the 1920’s and 30’s. All sorts of strange and wonderful conspiracy theories are attributed to Muslims.
So for proponents of unbridled freedom of speech, all I can say is that with friends like Mr Blair, who needs enemies?
Still, Tim does provide people with food for thought. And he sounds like a nice bloke on radio. I’m sure if I met him in person, he’d turn out to be good for a laugh over a few bottles of (in my case) Maison. Then I could share with him a few Nasruddin Hoca stories. Or perhaps some of the Prophet Muhammad's jokes reported in Shama'il Tirmidhi and other classical works.
Words © 2006 Irfan Yusuf