Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
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Sorry.  I was nervous about my first diary in a long time and knew that I had forgotten something.  
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:05:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the link. And welcome back, by the way.

As to the substance of the article, I think my own criticism would be from a rather different angle: The fact that the newsie didn't spend a single sentence deconstructing the whole Eurabia bullcrap speaks volumes as to his professional integrity. That and the fact that I smell quote mines all over the article.

There is certainly a number of very real complications in going after racists who masquerade as critics of religion while at the same time disabusing religious groups of the notion that they can impose their dogma on other people's speech (and that being "offended" is sufficient cause for legal action). But the article is so much of a mess and conflates so many different cases that it's hard to see whether this is a case of the former or the latter. And that, in and of itself, speaks ill of the BBC.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 08:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
what are "quote mines"?

my problem with this article is that it is portraying this legislation as something entirely new and unwarranted, when in fact, it's been around for at least a decade and used almost exclusively against Holocaust deniers.

not that there is anything wrong with that, but they haven't prosecuted people that promoted hatred against immigrants, native people, or in the most famous case, Don Cherry, the man who hates anyone who isn't English Canadian.

now that the shoe is on the other foot, and the "brown" people are trying to  use this law, the same people who complained against Holocaust deniers are now stating that the law is obsolete, or other such stuff

moving the goalposts I think it's called, and by not researching it, the BBC is pushing this agenda forward

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:13:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I might ask what Canadian media companies are saying.

The BBC can only ever be considered a "British" news organisation, and news about Britain is its speciality, even if some who live here might ask if they're even any good at that any more. All other world news should be interpreted as an entertainment along the lines of "see what the strange foreigners are doing".

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:39:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
in that case, they would have definitely known who Mark Steyn is and what he represents

as for Canadian media, one of the national papers, the National Post, is the one that made headlines by printing a fake story about Iran forcing its Jews to wear yellow stars of David, so...

the CBC however, can be quite impartial

MacLeans' magazine, Canada's equivalent to Time magazine, is the one that published the multi-part series on Islam and refuses to publish a counter argument

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:04:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you implying that pursuing legal action against Don Cherry would be warranted?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:24:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think so in certain cases.  Don't you?
He could certainly be charged with incitement to violence.
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:34:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not at all.

I think frankly the notion that this is even remotely something to be considered undermines the whole point of free speeck and respect.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:38:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well I'm all for free speck
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:41:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
speck is bacon in german
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:42:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
perhaps instead of pointing out my typo, you could explain what Don Cherry has done in your view which would warrant legal action under Canada's hate speech laws, and frame this in a way which would indicate you are conscious of the fact that any organization who might do so would likely utterly undermine its credibility in the court of Canadian opinion, likely irreversibly.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 10:50:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know what your background is, but you seem to be familiar with Don Cherry's work.

you don't seem to realize that the CBC has already discredited itself in the eyes of the French speaking part of the country by continuing to give Don Cherry a platform from which to spread his racist views.

There's a segment on the RDS network that has a person dressed like Cherry say the most vile and ridiculous things and is considered a comedy segment during the first intermission of the RDS hockey games.

The discreditation of the CBC by that segment of the population doesn't seem to count to you, however.

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:00:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
too multicultural, perhaps?
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:02:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i watch the canadiens on rds, every single match almost.

i have no idea what you are talking about.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 11:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't seem to find the name of the series, but my friends assured me that it was going on - maybe on Radio-canada.  
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ah, sure thing, when in doubt, pull something out of your butt and when called on it, "a friend assured me".

I watch src and listen to radio-canada too. every day.

Again, I don't know what you are talking about. No doubt it was a sketch or two like on english language 22 minutes or air farce, in reaction to some of the outrageous things Cherry sometimes says. This is in no ways a support for going after him for hate speech, like you suggest. And, as a franco with lots of family in quebec, I recognize nonetheless that sometimes when he goes off the rails it's because of moronic complaints, from a certain kind of quebecker, in the Montreal press, like complaints along the lines of Saku Koivu not speaking french so he shouldn't be captain or some other similar bullshit.

But a regular item? No way. Complete fabrication.

Anyhow, there's no hockey on src anymore, hasn't been for a long time, it's all on rds or ris now, and on rds or ris, what you say happens, doesn't, it's still demers, pedneault and brunet on the plateau every entracte.

seriously, saying Don Cherry deserves to be prosecuted under hate speech legislation - that's some serious dose of whack here you're serving.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:41:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
nope.  I remember reading about it as well.  I just don't seem to have any luck with google.

and how can you even think that French Canadians are cool with Don Cherry when he regularly insults them as a group?

by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 12:50:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I watch Don Cherry, I love Don Cherry, and I am French.

Maybe you've been able to piece together some of this already in this thread. I'd be happy to point you in the direction of some of my posts, on this site, where I link to Don Cherry video. In fact, I just did last week.

I don't have a problem with Don Cherry. I think he's funny, and even I understand when he pisses me off and I don't agree with him what his point is and that he has a right to express it.

Is this hard to understand?

Man, people should lighten up. And we wonder why the left gets such press as being just so many bedwetters.

I suppose you'll watch this video and decide Don Cherry is also a homophobe...

Or, maybe because he seems so comfortable joking around and getting so playfully phyisical with a gay man on TV, you take this as an affront to the sensibilities of homophobic Islamists in Canada, of which there are more than a few, and who deserve to have their intolerance of homosexuality respected?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 01:19:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quote mining. The Borovoy quote that you deconstruct yourself is a prime example of quote mining: The context is surgically removed to make Borovoy appear to be opposed to the laws when he is in fact in favour of them.

And the quotes from Mr. Awan also set my BS detector off. They are too short for my taste. Unless Awan is an experienced public speaker who is used to delivering soundbytes, it is likely that he is being quotemined as well.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:02:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Borovoy has a strange stance on the law:  apply it to high profile Holocaust deniers, but don't use it to prosecute hate speech against Muslims.  I tried to find a quote of his that would summarize this.  
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:05:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I actually think his stance (as evidenced by the quotes supplied here, and assuming that those quotes are reasonably representative) to be fairly coherent.

He seems in favour of using hate speech laws to prosecute people who push racism and certain particularly egregious variants of historical revisionism, but he is not in favour of applying the same laws to cover cases in which the speech is merely offencive. That is an entirely coherent view.

And, I might add, a view that goes quite a bit farther than I favour myself; I don't think it's prudent to punish people for speech that isn't directly threatening or inciting to violence. Shutting up holocaust deniers sets a precedent that might very well be brought to bear on anarchist agitators as well, and I would not want to see those put behind bars. For a variety of reasons.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 03:34:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the difference between racism and offensive speech?  and who decides?  certainly not the Muslims.
by zoe on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 04:41:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
what's the difference between racism and offensive speech?

Incitement to violence, discrimination and/or other crimes.

and who decides?  certainly not the Muslims.

Of course religious groups don't get to define what's racism and what's not. Giving that power to the clergy would be point-blank insanity. Imagine giving Herr Ratzinger the power to outlaw unflattering speech. I doubt you'd want to live in the resulting society.

And that really is the crux of it: If you want "the Muslims" (who, contrary to your simplistic suggestion, do not agree on where the line between offencive and discriminatory is, nor on what speech is offencive in the first place) to be given the prerogative to decide what speech is discriminatory (and thus illegal) and what speech is not, then you have to give the same power to Hizb-ut-Tahrir, to the Catholic Church, to the Church of Mormon, to the Southern Baptists, to the Seventh-day Adventists and a whole host of other seriously unpleasant organisations.

Even leaving aside the fact that such a doctrine is self-contradictory (since many of the above-mentioned organisations find the very existence of other organisations on the list discriminatory), I singularly fail to see why it is desirable to put the judgement of what speech is acceptable into the hands of the most doctrinaire reactionaries on the planet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 08:17:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hmm, I see a few inconsistencies between your pronouncements and actual life.

a lot of clergy have been involved in the anti-discrimination movement, if you allow me to call this so, over the years, not the least of which is Gandhi, MLK, and others

religious groups such as Jews, Mennonites, and others have also participated in Canada and the USA to increase the laws' protection of their members and to raise consciousness about the effects of discrimination on all members of society

I don't see why Muslims should be any different

the Catholic Church has also made many statements and taken many actions to affect political events in many countries, some to the  benefit of the people, others not so much so

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 08:23:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a lot of clergy have been involved in the anti-discrimination movement,

Which does not change the fact that vesting the power to condemn speech in the hands of the clergy would include vesting such power in people like Ratzinger. If Martin Luther King gets the right to ban offencive speech, then so does Ratzinger and Osama bin Laden.

religious groups such as Jews, Mennonites, and others have also participated in Canada and the USA to increase the laws' protection of their members and to raise consciousness about the effects of discrimination on all members of society

I don't see why Muslims should be any different

They aren't. If Jews lobby for laws prohibiting blasphemy against Yahwe, they should be laughed off the stage. If Muslims lobby for laws prohibiting blasphemy against Mohammed, they too should be laughed off the stage. That's entirely consistent.

the Catholic Church has also made many statements and taken many actions to affect political events in many countries, some to the  benefit of the people, others not so much so

Your point being? Since when do two wrongs make a right?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:23:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I am not saying that Muslims should try to ban any talk about Mohammed but talk about whether Muslims are trying to take over the world, are evil, etc which is what these articles were about.  

And Oussama Bin Laden seems to have plenty of freedom of speech as does the Pope.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:32:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Who died and made these particular Muslims prophets? I.e., who's to say that all, or even most, Canadian Muslims agree with them?

Supposing that a group of Jews were to attempt to ban The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, would you show the same degree of sympathy?

And of course madmen have freedom of speech. That is a red herring. The question is whether they should be permitted to police other people's speech.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 09:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.  I think that that particular book is banned and should be if it isn't.  It is hate literature plain and simple.

and as for Holocaust revisionists, I think Holocaust deniers should face bans on their freedom of speech.  To say that the Holocaust never happened is clearly hate speech.  However, to try to investigate if Hitler gave the direct order to unleash the "Final Solution" can be considered valid historical research.

The reason that I mention that is that, from what I have read, that is one of the points raised in the criminal investigation and conviction of David Irving in Austria.  He was also prosecuted for talking about points which are historically unresolved.

On the other hand, he is also known to be a hate-mongerer on other issues related to Jews.  Although he should not be imprisoned for this (unless he advocates and incites violence against a minority), his freedom of speech should also be curtailed.

As should Mark Steyn and Ezran Levant's, two of the commenters in the BBC story.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:07:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yes, absolutely.  I think that that particular book is banned and should be if it isn't.  It is hate literature plain and simple.

It is also, however, a historical document. Properly contextualised - that is, annotated and given a foreword that explains its origins, it provides a valuable insight into a part of European history. Banning it may prevent it from being used as propaganda, but it will also airbrush it from our historical consciousness.

and as for Holocaust revisionists, I think Holocaust deniers should face bans on their freedom of speech.  To say that the Holocaust never happened is clearly hate speech.

Why?

I can see that a case can be made that Germany and Austria might want to ban Nazi parties and the associated expression and paraphernalia. Certainly, such measures were necessary sixty years ago. And while, personally, I think that the justification wears increasingly thin as the years go by, I am not sufficiently conversant with the state of German de-nazification to conclusively state that such laws are obsolescent.

But that is Germany and Austria. Those countries have a very specific historical reason to take heavy-handed legal measures against anti-semitism. It is not clear that the same is true for other countries, nor is it clear that there are similarly powerful justifications for indulging in the same kind of heavy-handed measures aimed against islamophobia.

On the other hand, he is also known to be a hate-mongerer on other issues related to Jews.  Although he should not be imprisoned for this (unless he advocates and incites violence against a minority), his freedom of speech should also be curtailed.

So, how do you propose to curtail someone's freedom of speech if you're not willing to imprison him? Impose fines? They'd have to be pretty hefty to shut him up.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:41:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the same way that yelling "fire" in a crowded theatre causes a stampede, hate speech causes hate towards certain identifiable groups which can then develop into violence

every country should be careful of this for the sake of social harmony and protection of its citizens

in France and other countries, there has been the recall of magazines and books which have been deemed offensive.  this turns out to be quite costly to the publisher and one or two incidents would be useful deterrents.  

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 10:59:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a much longer causal chain between "hate speech" and the damage that it causes (i.e. the actual crimes committed) than between yelling fire and the stampede it causes. This makes establishing a causal relationship between hate speech and violence a decidedly dodgy issue.

Or, shorter version: I don't buy your causal chain. You're engaging in a slippery slope fallacy.

And on the subject of "social harmony and the protection of its citizens," one might just as easily argue that a syndicalist agitator promoting strikes and blockades as means to achieve higher wages is disrupting the "social harmony" and that citizens need to be "protected" from him.

Lastly, I notice that you keep conflating offencive speech with hate speech. Do you think that the two are the same? If so, who determines what is offencive?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 11:29:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
that's an easy one - if it is directed at a group of people identifiable by their ethnic origin, skin colour, religious affiliation, age, sex, sexual preference, or handicap.

so union busters would only be using hate speech if they were trying to bust up a union of Santa's elves.  ;-)

by zoe on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 12:37:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Union busters are targeting people based on their political affiliation. Are you saying that political affiliation should not be a protected category? If so, expect labour unions to file for church status.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Apr 8th, 2008 at 01:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the article is so much of a mess and conflates so many different cases that it's hard to see whether this is a case of the former or the latter. And that, in and of itself, speaks ill of the BBC.

I have long complained that, nowadays, reporters (this isn't a problem unique to the BBC) simply don't do the proper research to be able to effectively contextualize events.

News, to such people, is simply a noteworthy event. The idea that it might arise out of circumstances and require a context in order to properly understand it simply isn't a part of these people's training.

I'm afraid that hankering after real journalism comes under wishing for a pony. It ain't never gonna happen.

However, I would ask when the BBC has ever really been neutral. Whatever its claims to impartiality, it has always been pro-establishment, a little bit elitist and effecitvely moncultural. Also, individuals have their own bias which means that as reproters, they tend to edit selectively to suit that bias.

No individual, or programme, howver much effort is applied, can be impartial. Impartiality can only result from a plurality of voices and viewpoints, something which the BBC actively avoids, preferring to maintain the fiction that one view can be definitive.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:33:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm afraid that hankering after real journalism comes under wishing for a pony. It ain't never gonna happen.

Ahem?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:38:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ya want an egg with that ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 09:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whatever its claims to impartiality, it has always been pro-establishment, a little bit elitist and effecitvely moncultural. Also, individuals have their own bias which means that as reproters, they tend to edit selectively to suit that bias.

Today: BBC report on the end of the inquest into the death of Princess Diana

It isn't that Nicholas Witchell is factually wrong in anything he says.  And, personally, I resent the waste of £7m of taxpayers' money spent to confirm what was perfectly obvious on the day she died.  But the whole tone of the article, starting with the title:

Fayed conspiracy claim collapses

is smugly, gruesomely pro-establishment.

by Sassafras on Mon Apr 7th, 2008 at 01:21:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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