Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Basic Freedoms: A Relic of the Past

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As I mentioned yesterday, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff is visiting Canada. After speaking in Montreal last night, the following op-ed by her was published in The National Post:

Attacking the messenger
by Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff


The following text is adapted from remarks delivered by the author in Montreal on June 20 at a pro-free-speech event organized by the group ACT Now for Canada.

For far too long, many of us in the West have taken our basic freedoms for granted. These rights include freedom of individual conscience, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to practice our religion freely, or to have no religion at all. Perhaps most importantly of all, they include the right to voice our opinions freely and to publish them without hindrance.

Nowhere is this attack on free speech more evident than in Europe. The Framework Decision of the European Union states that “each member state shall take the measures necessary . to ensure that the following intentional conduct is punishable.” Such “intentional conduct” includes “conduct which is a pretext for directing acts against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin.”

Dutch politician Geert Wilders, me and numerous other Europeans who have criticized Islam have been punished as a result. For several years, I gave lectures and seminars on the dangers that Islamic law, known as Shariah, posed to my country, Austria. A year and a half ago, I was made aware that “hate speech” charges might be filed against me because I had “denigrated religious teachings.” Eventually, I was tried, convicted and fined for little more than repeating passages from the Koran itself.

My case was not based on law. It was a political trial. It was intended to silence criticism of Shariah law. It was also intended to discourage anyone who might consider following in my footsteps. The European establishment fears a frank discussion of Islam and its legal doctrines — and is reverting to the methods of a totalitarian state to enforce silence on the topic.

This has a historical precedent [in the Second World War era]. Totalitarianism did not come quickly to Austria: It took five years, from 1938 to 1943 for a full-fledged dictatorship to appear, and for people to realize it. If it had come overnight, Austrians would have fought against it. Instead, there was creeping gradualism [in the erosion of] freedom, including freedom of speech.

Vienna today is not a city of jackboots and swastikas. It is prosperous, peaceful and civilized. But there is another Vienna, which includes areas populated by a Muslim majority, where resentment breeds high crime rates, with high unemployment resulting from Muslim youth unwilling or unable to finish compulsory schooling. Ignoring these problems will not solve them, nor will silencing the voices of those — such as me — who criticize government inaction.

Reclaiming our nations will not be an easy task, but if we do not make the attempt, European civilization — the heart of Western civilization — will be destroyed. What were formerly our nations will become regions with indistinct boundaries, populated mainly by people of foreign cultures and administered by totalitarian bureaucrats. The natives will be reduced to curators and costumed actors in a quaint theme park.

Call it “Euro World”: Authentic cuisine, ethnic dancers and fireworks at 10 o’clock. Basic freedoms, a relic of the past.


For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.

11 comments:

Gregory said...

Good for her. I wish that this could get published in mainstream media. I know...poop in one hand and wish in the other and see which hand gets filled....

matism said...

Until the pigs and their families start to rot in hell on a regular basis, NOTHING will change. For it is the pigs who enable this.

Nick said...

I think that there are two groups operating at a political/social level that we need to concern ourselves with. One is the true believers, politicians who will have nothing said against the fabulous land which exists nowhere but their own imagination, in which we all hold hands and sing together by the riverside on a moonlit night. The other is the 'enablers' - the many people who work for the state and the media who have so much invested in the way things are that they don't want to rock the boat. After all, they might fall out.

Even if anyone in this second group thinks at all about that iceberg they glimpsed up ahead, they're so afraid of what it might mean that they deny having ever seen it. After all, it means disaster. The policy is to pretend that there is no iceberg, and even if there is some ice up there, there's nothing below the surface. Nothing to worry about, move right along please, the new series of American Idol is showing and Coronation Street is showing at 9pm five nights a week, John Stape goes mad, roll up roll up and let's all watch TV.

Meanwhile the boat sails forward. The engines are still running, and the handles are pushed forward.

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

The people of Sparta are marching on Athens, the paper trail leads to the City of London how long before the bonfire of the vanities.

Hesperado said...

I disagree with ESW's implication that the Euro system that is officially/legally harassing her and Wilders (among others) is a form of creeping totalitarianism -- if that totalitarianism that is creeping is meant to be understood as sufficiently synonymous with the Nazi state and the Communist state.

The Euro system is simply enforcing the law as it stands (with certain members, let us say, refusing to relax their vigilance for dotting every i and crossing every t in those laws). Various parts of Europe, along with the UK, have developed over the decades since Hitler's madness various laws to protect against hatred and bigotry devolving into more overt and dangerous sociopolitical processes.

The laws themselves are not the problem, nor is their vigilant prosecution. One element simply is suppressed from the rational equation -- and that is the double standard whereby the most egregious flouters of those anti-bigotry laws -- Muslims following Islam -- are not only being effectively exempt from those laws but are being effectively positively protected from those few people and groups who are trying to point out that Muslims following Islam are the real threat to the anti-bigotry ideals of post-WW2 Europe and the West.

What is happening is remarkably ironic and paradoxical, and mirrors in certain ways the mistakes made that enabled WW2 to become tragically necessary, and before that the mistakes made that set the gears in motion for the tragedy of WW1: Namely, because

a) Muslims are deemed to be an Ethnic People (or a wonderfully diverse rainbow of Ethnic Peoples);

and because

b) Ethnic Peoples have been erected into a category of the only groups of concern for the danger of bigotry escalating into collective crimes (lynchings, rounding up, concentration camps, ethnic cleansing)

and because

c) the concern of (b) derives, in Europe and the UK, directly from the "Never Again" mantra that deeply formed sociopolitical consciousness after the madness of Hitler

and because

d) the concern of (a) has developed an internal logic deeply flawed in rational terms, such that its concern trumps the concern of (c) -- i.e., in the event that data indicates that Muslims following their Islam, not any other group, represent the new danger of a "New Hitler", the current Western system, being so deeply invested in the concern of (a), tends to consistently opt for letting the concern of (a) trump the concern for (c) -- often to the point of irrationality based in the belief that it is impossible for any non-white Ethnic People to ever pose a danger of violence in the service of a collective hatred, intolerance, supremacism, expansionism; and that, thus, any data that indicates this is deemed prejudicially to be false -- even when mountains and mountains of data, and oceans and oceans of dots to connect are evident under their nose and throughout the West (not to mention throughout the Third World wherever Muslims exist in large numbers).

It is the logic of this template, and its politico-legal effects, that are impinging upon ESW and Wilders, et al. It is not some kind of nascent totalitarianism on a par with Hitler, Mussolini, Lenin/Stalin, Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, et al.

Kevin Stroup said...

I must disagree with Hesperado. It is totalitarianism. They are telling you what you can say which is "de facto" thought control. They do not want you thinking bad thoughts. In addition, they are enforcing the law in a very discriminatory, and totally just mannner. That is tyranny. I know B.S. when I smell it.

Gray Falcon said...

If those "hate speech" laws were meant to be implemented equally, 90% of EUropean "journalists" and more than half the politicians would be sitting in jail for Serbophobia. The fact that they aren't suggests that the laws were put into place with a political objective - enforcing PC/Cultural Marxism, what have you.

1389 said...

Gray Falcon and Kevin Stroup are right.

It is totalitarian indeed.

If a different regime were to come to power that demanded that those laws were to be applied evenhandedly, then indeed, more than half of the politicians of the prior regimes would be sitting in jail for Serbophobia. True, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon, but if it did, then the left would be screaming to have those laws overturned.

Much as the people who blood-libeled, and made war upon, the Serbs, deserve punishment for that, it should be for libel (making demonstrably FALSE allegations) and for selling out their own countries to our common Muslim enemies, and NOT for "hate speech" as such.

I still disagree with "hate speech" codes, even in hypothetical situations that might work in my own favor.

Problem is, the "hate speech" laws are always twisted to benefit evil people, rather than working to protect the innocent.

1389 said...

Here's the latest from Austria: this time it's video game censorship

Light of Reason said...

I don't think people take freedom of speech for granted. It is a wonderful right we have and I would think we are all grateful for it. The only issue here is how far a person can go within their right to freedom of speech. As with all freedoms, freedom of speech also comes with responsibility which is why we have laws against slander and libel! That is, saying something false with the intent of harming another person, and presenting it as fact.

People know when they are being malicious and when they are purposefully provoking another person or groups of people. If someone is quoting from any religious scriptures or narrations etc, they have the right to do that. How else can people learn and have religious and philosophical debate?

However, its a completely different thing to present something, i.e a verse from scriptures, out of context and show it as something its not. This is wrong and will obviously offend and provoke.

I do feel as though, the law can sometimes take things too far, as can some Muslims in their attempt to protest against provocations. They are not setting an Islamic example. Muslims in particular need to be in complete control of their emotions against any provocation, as that is what Islam very clearly teaches.

So by all means, study, quote, debate, ask questions, give lectures – say what you like, but don't purposefully distort teachings to hurt and provoke others and please bear in mind the sensitivities of all faiths.

latté island said...

Light of Reason, the problem with bearing in mind the sensitivities of all faiths, before voicing an opinion in public, is that it leads us back to the kangaroo court if someone can possibly be offended. How about we just have free speech, deal with it or go back to the Ummah.