Galloway Muzzled: Not Good for Freedom of Speech
Personal comment on the Canadian government’s decision to ban Respect MP George Galloway from entering the country and the implications for freedom of speech.
I note that Respect mp George Galloway has been banned from entering Canada because the Jewish Defence League deem him to be a ‘terrorist’. This is a dangerous precedent to set for human rights, civil liberties and freedom of both speech and movement. The fact that ‘Gorgeous’ George’s biggest weapon is his mouth surely negates the latter charge. Yes, George is outspoken, can be puffed up, arrogant and sometimes too cocksure of his own importance and sainthood, but surely he has the right as has anyone else on this planet to democratically air his personal, social and political views providing they are not inflammatory or inciteful. I have hard him on occasion though using an ad hominem argument against political opponents or callers on shows and I think anyone who uses the ad hominem argument has certainly already ‘lost’ respect at least (George I hope you take note) no pun intended! To air one’s views is one thing, but to demean or belittle someone personally is for me beyond the pale. Considering what the Jewish people of world war two endured concerning their ethnic identities, their demonisation, the loss of livelihoods, status as human beings and their ultimate loss of life in the holocaust, I can understand Jewish sensitivities perhaps still run deep, however, the Jewish Defense League do themselves no favours on the world stage by acting like the nazis they so deplore and implementing such draconian measures against a man with whom many people agree and disagree on his political stance. We may not agree with our neighbour’s views, nor even like their position, but I say they have the right to believe in what they like and to stand up for what they believe in and to speak out on issues they feel strongly about, including the right to march in a peaceful and orderly protest. The effective ‘gagging’ of political opponents is a dangerous trend to begin and one that can only lead to further erosion of human rights. The fact that some Jewish people actually agreed with Galloway seems to be the only threat to the Jewish Defence League who will have to realise that what they’re doing is more akin to a dictatorship and police state than an alleged democratic and free society and the only way to successfully resolve conflict is to dialogue with your opponents and slowly and perhaps painfully (for both sides) work towards a compromise situation, for peace does not come cheap but at a price and sometimes that price is costly or high and a peace that has no value to all concerned is not worth having.