Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Perish the thought.

Today I write of three separate yet related events:

1. Last week the Age reported a Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal ruling that during Ramadan bikinis can’t be worn at the public swimming pool in Dandenong (an outer Melbourne suburb) [1].

2. Last week the trial began of Dutch politician Geert Wilders [2a] who’s accused of inciting anti-Muslim hatred [2b, 2c ].

3. Also last week the Washington Post withdrew from publication a cartoon (pictured) [3a]. Apparently in the newspaper’s view it’s anti-Muslim and thus inflammatory. Titled ‘Where’s Muhammad?’, it’s a take on ‘Where’s Wally?’ [3b]. In the latter, Wally’s there for the finding. But Muhammad’s not in the former; so only the title can be anti-Muslim. (How, I can’t fathom.)

These three events have nothing to do with racism and/or racial discrimination – but everything to do with freedom of action and expression in Western democracies. If people are offended by bikinis during Ramadan they’re free not to attend the pool. If people are offended by what someone says , they shouldn’t listen. And if people are offended by a cartoon title, they shouldn’t read it. The hard-won freedoms of non-violent action and expression are, right now, under threat in Western democracies worldwide. Small cracks don’t repair themselves; and they’re easy to repair. But left unrepaired they become big cracks that are harder to repair. And unrepaired big cracks can cause mighty and ancient edifices to tumble. Perish the thought.

1 comment:

Chrows25 aka Leather Woman said...

I think the bikini ban is ridiculous; I do not like seeing women all wrapped up and covered from head to toe, it is offensive to me to be that some considering seeing naked bits of women is evil. However if people want to walk around wearing more material than my bed that is OK by me, but please allow me and others to walk around wearing very little, because I think the human body is
beautiful. Fortunately most of the men I know have never been inflamed to act from lust by just seeing scantily clad women.