Saturday, January 19, 2008

Responding to Reader Feedback

One of the downsides of having a blog devoted mostly to long-winded posts on esoteric topics is the lack of interesting criticism. It is a rare and glorious occasion indeed when it does happen. Fortunately, my recent post on the aspiring Afghan journalist charged with blasphemy has yielded such a response. As usual when this happens, I feel obliged to respond to the concerns expressed therein.

Let's begin:

I just stumbled upon your blog and couldn't resist sharing with you how amused I am finding you supporting freedom of expression for Afghan journalist Parwez kambakhsh. In view of your diatribes against the left or the liberals in this country.. I guess as long as the jailed journalists have spoken out against muslim doctrine and not against the US, you support their release. But, it's a start. We actually have something in common.

Well, where do I begin? First, allow me to thank you for your interesting and delightfully fact-free response. I'm pleased I could be a source of some amusement. After all, everyone knows that liberals and leftists stand unreservedly for free expression. This is why conservative speakers are so frequently invited to speak at left of center college campuses and are never harassed when they do so. Even more important, Right Wing Death Beasts like myself who dare to use our right of free expression to criticize the views of many on the Left obviously support censorship.

BTW, who are the journalists who have been imprisoned for condemning the U.S. government and where are they being held? Please return and share this information with the group.

As a member of AIUSA, I suggest you check out the work we do on behalf of people like Parwez, not because of what he rails against,but because we believe he should be able to express whatever beliefs, as long as they do incite others to using violence. I wonder if i can count on your support if next time someone there gets jailed for speaking out against the US forces private jails. or will you conveniently sweep it under the carpet as blatant lies?
And for your information, the Taleban has been heavily criticized by Amnesty International if you care to track our reports.

Yes, I've actually cited the work of Amnesty International, directly and indirectly, a number of times on this blog. I also criticized AI in 2005 when it made the morally obscene and intellectually vacuous comparison of Guantanamo Bay with the Gulag.

I was intrigued by your statement that "we believe he should be able to express whatever beliefs, as long as they do incite others to using violence." First, I assume you meant to say that you support free speech "as long as they do not incite" to violence. Which is interesting, since that's virtually similar to what I've said when arguing against efforts to ban Islamist writings here in the West. As I put it in one post: "The point of standing up to the Islamists is to defend free expression, not deny it."

See, that's something else we have in common. All you had to do to find it out was search my archives.

As for your request for support "if next time someone there gets jailed for speaking out against the US forces private jails", again, please feel free to actually point out when and where this has happened. Also, what do you mean by "private jails"? If the facts are as you describe them, I will unreservedly condemn such occurrences. Just recently, I condemned Somalia's U.S. supported transitional government for brutally cracking down on that country's independent media. Again, this is something you would already know had you simply scrolled down a few posts.


Thanks and looking forward to your response,


Blogger Stephen Denney said...

The thing about Amnesty International is that anyone can belong. Being a member of AIUSA does not make one a spokesperson for the organization, though, just as being a member of the Republican or Democratic parties makes one a spokesperson for either of those parties. So while Elsie makes some interesting comments, I don't know that her views necessarily represent those of AIUSA.

1:29 AM  

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