Ban Ki Moon has provoked a certain amount of anger from some commentators by saying that “Freedom of speech has limits”.
“All of this freedom of expression should not be abused by individuals. … Some people abuse this freedom. This effort to provoke, to humiliate others by using (religious) beliefs cannot be protected in such a way.”
Basically, some people use freedom of speech as a sort of virtual armour to go around winding people up for religious and other reasons.
Next, the people who were the intended victims of this winding up get angry. We all know by now that if you insult Islamic people some people in the Islamic world will use this as motivation to stir people up further and get a bit of violence going.
When that violence kicks off who does it hit? Does it hit the initial instigators? No. Does it hit the people who stir up the other Muslims? No.
It hits other people. The two stirring groups are unaffected.
Then the commentators ‘doze in with the “Oh well, people should be able to say what they want without there being violence, it’s not their fault.”
I disagree, it is bloody their fault, and it’s their fault without their responsibility and now you’re defending them.
Look. If you want to defend freedom of speech go right ahead but don’t defend people who go and deliberately being arseholes in order to cause dissent. Such people do not merit or care about your sympathies.
If you want to defend someone, defend Ahmed the Egyptian Grocer who was quietly going about his business before a mob stormed down his street incited by an idiot on the internet who knew he’d never have to suffer the repercussions of his actions.
At the end of the day if people use freedom of speech to offend then leaders will instigate limits. Those limits won’t make a great deal of difference to people dicking about online, but they will make a difference to ordinary people who have to take responsibility for their words and actions.