01 September 2005

Freedom of Speech

Despite a huge surge in governmental repression, investigation, and perhaps most disturbing, documentation of free speech in the US, it is still a place where one can speak their mind. Freedom of speech is not meant to protect acceptable things to say, its purpose is to shield all speech, including the vulgar, mean spirited, bigoted, offensive, and all other undesirable forms.

This is not true in most places outside the western world. China and the Islamic world are probably *the* places with the least freedom of speech in the world. Further evidence of this came to light today, when a famous author in Turkey was charged with insulting Turkey's national character by stating the truth about the Turkish treatment of minorities. In particular, the ruthless slaughter of the Armenian population in the 1915 genocide, something the Turkish government adamantly refuses to acknowledge, even today, 90 years later.

This forgotten genocide of a people who had lived in eastern Anatolia for 15 centuries is a sad chapter in history, and the sheer fact that the Turks got away with it led the Nazis to plot their own genocide 30 years later. But I digress. Speech, any form of it, is a freedom we take for granted, but it must be fought for, every day and every opportunity, lest it be lost.