straight to the point – from different points of view

Charlie quid pro quo by Kevin Baldeosingh

Charlie quid pro quo by Kevin Baldeosingh

In the aftermath of the Charlie Hebdo murders, everyone from al-Qaeda leaders to Pastor Cuffie to various UWI academics have asserted that there must be limits on free speech. And I was almost tempted to agree with them, though only because I would like to ban the use of “privileges” as a verb.

None of them, however, said exactly what limits they wanted, although all of them implied that cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad (who never prophesied anything) crossed the line. I myself think that the only limit on free speech should be the standard one of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded cinema—the principle being that free speech should be restricted when it poses a clear and immediate danger to life and limb and refund on one’s ticket to Taken 3.
However, unlike religious fundamentalists, I am willing to compromise. So here’s the deal: I will stop writing anything offensive about Christianity, Islam, Hinduism and all other religions, including cricket. But I will do so only if the spokesmen for these belief system stop saying things which offend me and the other three Trinis who think like me.
For example, in order for me to not write that the Seventh-Day Adventist Church was founded by a woman named Ellen White who predicted the end of the world not once but several times, Pastor Clive Dottin and his cohorts will have to stop saying that homosexuals are evil, depraved, and waxed. You see, Pastors Dottin, Browne, Balgobin et al spend an inordinate number of Sunday mornings talking about the male anus on 102.1 FM: and that’s really not the kind of thing I want to hear right after breakfast. So, if they desist, I will also stop writing that anyone who describes evolutionary theory as a “Satanic concept” must either be a moron or a pretending-to-be a moron.
Similarly, I’m willing to stop pointing out that most of the terrorist acts in the world today are committed by Muslims; that these so-called extremists can cite suras and hadiths which clearly support their actions; and that hijabs are not favoured by attractive persons with a healthy BMI. But I will do so only if Muslims stop claiming that there are good reasons to marry a 12-year-old girl; if they reject sura 4.34 which instructs men to beat wives who they think might horn them; and buy alarm clocks so they won’t need to use loudspeakers to call one another to pray at 5 a.m.
As for Hindus, I’ll stop pointing out that that misogyny is so ingrained in India’s Hindu culture that the sex ratio is now 943 females for every 1,000 males, due to abortion of female foetuses, female infanticide and bride murders. I’ll even stop pointing out that that there is no proof that anyone ever reincarnates, that karma is therefore a morally absurd principle, and that hamburgers are one of mankind’s greatest inventions. But I’ll do so only if Maha Sabha head Sat Maharaj stops saying that the caste system creates social stability, that the Harappans were Hindus, and that shirt-jacs are fashionable.
In fact, I’ll even include the religious believers in secular ideologies in this one-time offer. So I’ll stop pointing out that feminism doesn’t base its ideas on tested or even testable theories; that feminists’ view of sexuality is informed more by wishful thinking than scientific evidence; and that beauty is not, in fact, in the eye of the beholder. As for the socialists, I’ll even stop pointing out that their hero Wayne Kublalsingh has praised Osama bin Laden and Hugo Chavez and Hitler, if he stops saying he’s survived 16 weeks without food and water.
Once we can reach an accord, then no one needs ever to be offended ever again.

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