Friday, February 27, 2015

Freedom of speech a la French Style

In some of my articles on France, I mentioned how hypocritical the entire French society is. It gave the modern world the concept of equality, liberty and fraternity. But truly it never learned how to walk the talk. If you do things French style, everything is kosher but if it is not done in the French manner, it is haram. So, am I surprised with the new revelation that the French professional basketball player Akin Akingbala (originally from Nigeria) has been fired from his team for re-tweeting a message that began, 'Je ne suis pas Charlie', meaning 'I am not Charlie,' in reference to the cartoonist who was killed? The tweet then went on, 'I am Ahmed the dead cop. Charlie ridiculed my faith and culture, and I died defending his right to do so ‪#‎JeSuisAhmed‬'.
Do you see any problem with Akin's view? I don't see any. As a western Muslim, I can understand why he would tweet what he did. But the secular fundamentalists have problem with Akin's freedom to express his views. The French team would have liked him to keep quiet and/or march with their fellow hatemongers against Islam and Muslims. But when Akin said the most reasonable thing, there was no tolerance for such views. He was terminated. You call it freedom, I call it abuse and intolerance.  
As Khalid Baig brought to my notice: Akin's crime was to merely retweet something from the account of an activist who began this tweet (and tens of thousands of people retweeted as well).
As always, his news item is barely making any rounds in any mainstream media outlet.
By the way, his is not the first (nor, it appears, the last) of a line of people who have been arrested or otherwise penalized for saying something that was deemed insensitive to the Hebdo attack.
By such practices, I am forced to cry out foul at the complete and total hypocrisy of advocates of 'FREE SPEECH'.
As a Muslim activist fighting Islamophobia has noted, "In a way, these news items are good, because it shows what many have been saying all along: the issue really has nothing to do with the absolute right of free speech, and everything to do with the right to provoke and anger and insult a select group that is already politically marginalized and socially vilified, and expect no response."

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