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Jan 25 2012

We give this kuffar the right to speak

Bruce Gordon has written about the attacks on free speech and 11 February Day for Free Expression in the South African Times Live. He ends by saying:

These are direct attacks not only on the freedoms and rights of atheists and skeptics, but on everybody, everywhere. These are attacks on the basic human right to disagree, the right which is fundamental to all the others.

For too long fear has been treated as not simply a valid alternative to argument, but a superior one. For too long authoritarians of every stripe have told us, “Your facts are rendered irrelevant by our fists” and caused chaos, destruction and war through their violence.

As South Africans, of every faith and none, of every alignment and none, we stand against this privately in our everyday lives. We know that our rights begin in the rights of others, because we have seen what happens when that principle is cast aside.

On the 11 of February, One Law for All is arranging a rally to stand up against this. What do you intend to do? Are you prepared to stand up and say “We give this kuffar the right to speak”?

11 comments

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  1. 1
    Aliasalpha

    For too long authoritarians of every stripe have told us, “Your facts are rendered irrelevant by our fists”

    Now that is a great line

  2. 2
    F [is for failure to emerge]

    Kuffar shirts, anyone?

    1. 2.1
      evilDoug

      They might be just the thing, especially at places like LSE, in view of the utter stupidity and arrogance of the Students’ Union executive there.

      ~~~
      Maryam,
      Bruce is Gorton.

      1. Bruce Gorton

        Awesome

        Thanks for the mention Maryam.

        1. Bruce Gorton

          Sorry, didn’t mean to post that as a reply to evilDoug.

        2. Upright Ape

          Hello Bruce,
          How many of you are there in Soth Africa?
          I guess even the most devoutly misguided nation has its dissenters, as evidenced by the existence of Maryam and me.

          1. Bruce Gorton

            The non-religious were about 5% of the population last I looked (It was a while ago though.) In South Africa atheists tend towards the quieter side when it comes to our atheism because we tend to have less overt threats made against us, and we have a lot of other social issues to deal with that seem to be of higher urgency.

            Corruption, our disgustingly patriarchal cultures, homophobia, racism, various health crisis and a huge big dollop of unemployment tend to strike people as more urgent.

            Of course, I tend to think religion plays a big role in perpetuating those problems so I take a more aggressive stance.

  3. 3
    Crommunist

    My only objection is to the notion that someone is “giving me” the right to speak. The right is mine. You can take from me the ability to exercise it, you can recognize it, you can refuse to oppose it, but you cannot “give” it to me.

    1. 3.1
      RW Ahrens

      +10!!

      1. Rafiq Mahmood

        You are right, of course. The right to speak is ours inherently. But in a way we do have to “give” the right to others and, no less, to ourselves. Freedom will always be eroded. It is always under attack and we have to fight for it.

        On a technical point “kuffar” is the plural of “kafir” so the sentence should be “We give these kuffar…” rather than “We give this kuffar…”

        This is what I wrote to my Indonesian colleagues. Somehow I doubt that we will be able to organise much here, but I may be surprised.

        A call for freedom from Bruce Gorton in South Africa.

        Islamists in London forced a meeting at a university to be cancelled, taking photographs of the audience and saying they knew where the people lived. Their website demanded, “Who gave these kuffar the right to speak?”

        Bruce Gorton answers, “We give these kuffar the right to speak!” He is right. Unless we all stand up all over the world and keep demanding and struggling for the right for everyone to speak we will ALL be in chains. As Bruce Gorton so aptly and elegantly puts it: “These are direct attacks not only on the freedoms and rights of atheists and skeptics, but on everybody, everywhere. These are attacks on the basic human right to disagree, the right which is fundamental to all the others.”

        The One Law for All campaign is organising a worldwide day of action for free expression on 11 February.

        Here in Indonesia we have been suffering the erosion of our independence and nationhood and the rights to make and determine our own laws by the creeping imposition of sharia. Our freedom of expression is being taken away from us as anyone who dares to disagree with the doctrines of the MUI and FPI are beaten (or worse) and thrown in jail. Let us organise demonstrations and meetings openly in the major cities of Indonesia and join in the day of action on 11 February. We will be attacked. We will be beaten. We will be arrested. Indeed, some of us may well be killed. But we have to speak out. We have to say: “We give these kuffar the right to speak. We give the right to speak to everyone. We will not be silent.” It is a duty we owe those who fought for the freedom of all Indonesians against foreign oppression. It is a duty we owe all those all over the world who are being intimidated and told to shut up.

        Let’s organise now. See you on the traffic circle. See you on Merdeka Square. See you outside the DPR and the Isatana. See you on the campuses. See you in Jakarta. See you in Bandung. See you in Yogyakarta. See you in Surabaya. See you in Medan. See you in Denpassar. See you everywhere in this Nusantara. See you in jail, maybe. Yes, maybe even in the mortuary. But we will keep coming back. Again and again and again.

        They can call us what they like. They can call us kuffar. So be it. Well this kafir demands the right to be heard. We give ourselves the right to speak. It is the most important thing we have and we will demand it, we will struggle for it and, if need be, we will be beaten thrown in jail or die for it.

        I then gave the link to your article, Bruce.

        1. Bruce Gorton

          Thankyou.

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