November 18, 2003 | Peter

Free Speech

George Bush, who is facing a well organised protest in London when he visits soon, has a simple and effective response to such activity. As he did in Canberra when Bob Brown expressed dissent, Bush just says how much he likes free speech.
So it is somewhat ironic that many Americans are begining to wonder what the future is for free speech in the US itself. As part of the war on terror, many Americans have found their assumptions about the right to express their views, and especialy their dissent, under question. First there was the fear that showing any disagreement with the ultra-patriotic reaction to September 11 would generate abuse or even violence. And then the government began to undermine a whole series of activities under the excuse of seeking out terrorists or information about terrorists. So, very quickly many Islamic men suddenly found their right to free speech curtailed by imprisonment. Then many other Americans found that the government intended to monitor their mail, other communications, and even the books that got from the library. There has been resistance to this growing surveillance, but a newfound sense of unease haunts those who may disagree with what Bush or Fox think.
Bush wants to export ‘freedom’ to the middle east. Presumably this freedom includes the freedom to dissent. Let’s hope that the essential freedoms of a healthy democracy remain strong in the nation that is supposedly the template for all the emerging countries. Like Iraq.

Posted by Peter at 8:09 pm | Comments Off on Free Speech |
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