Archive for February 2009
Slumdog may have won the best picture award, but in my (irrelevant) opinion, the best movie of 2008 was WALL-E.
Now *that* is a “feel good” movie.
From the BBC,
The editor and publisher of a top English-language Indian daily have been arrested on charges of “hurting the religious feelings” of Muslims.
The Statesman’s editor Ravindra Kumar and publisher Anand Sinha were detained in Calcutta after complaints.
Muslims said they were upset with the Statesman for reproducing an article from the UK’s Independent daily in its 5 February edition.
The article was entitled: “Why should I respect these oppressive religions?”
It concerns the erosion of the right to criticise religions.
The opinion piece by Johann Hari from the Independent is acessible online. It raises some very important issues.
But a free society cannot be structured to soothe the hardcore faithful. It is based on a deal. You have an absolute right to voice your beliefs – but the price is that I too have a right to respond as I wish. Neither of us can set aside the rules and demand to be protected from offence.
Yet this idea – at the heart of the Universal Declaration – is being lost. To the right, it thwacks into apologists for religious censorship; to the left, it dissolves in multiculturalism. The hijacking of the UN Special Rapporteur by religious fanatics should jolt us into rescuing the simple, battered idea disintegrating in the middle: the equal, indivisible human right to speak freely.
How hard is it to understand the concept of freedom of speech? The day that India removes the idiotic rule (Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code) and allows the free criticism of every religion, is the day we take a step of progress as a democratic nation.
However, going by the explosion of outrage and protests, that day is a very long way away. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen in my life time.