There’s no censorship more effective than self-censorship, since whatever is censored never even sees the light of day. From Giulio Meotti at gatestoneinstitute.org
• The West has capitulated on freedom of expression. Nobody in the West launched the motto “Je Suis Avijit Roy,” the name of the first of the several bloggers butchered, flogged or jailed last year for criticizing Islam.
• Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, sided with the Turks. She condemned the German comedian’s poem, called it a “deliberate insult,” then approved the filing of criminal charges against him for insulting the Turkish president.
• The West is veiling its freedom of speech in the confrontation with the Islamic world: this is the story of Salman Rushdie, of the Danish cartoons, of Theo van Gogh, of Charlie Hebdo.
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, just released an interview with Italy’s largest newspaper, Il Corriere della Sera, where he suggested a kind of grand bargain: We Iranians will discuss with you our human rights situation, if you Europeans suppress freedom of expression on Islam.
Last week, Nazimuddin Samad sat at his computer at home and penned a few critical lines against the Islamist drift of his country, Bangladesh. The day after, Samad was approached by four men shouting “Allahu Akbar!” (“Allah is great!”) and hacked him to death with machetes.
These killings have become routine in Bangladesh, where many bloggers, journalists and publishers are being killed in broad daylight because of their criticism of Islam. There is a hit list with 84 names of “satanic bloggers.” A wave of terrorism against journalists reminiscent of that in Algeria, where 60 journalists were killed by Islamist armed groups between 1993 and 1997.
But these shocking killings have not been worth of a single line in Europe’s newspapers.
Is it because these bloggers are less famous than the cartoonists murdered at Charlie Hebdo? Is it because their stories did not come from the City of Light, Paris, but from one of the poorest and darkest cities in the world, Dhaka?
No, it is because the West has capitulated on freedom of expression. Nobody in the West launched the motto “Je Suis Avijit Roy,” the name of the first of these bloggers butchered last year.
From Bangladesh, we now receive photos of writers in pools of blood, laptops seized by police looking for “evidence” and keyboards burned by the Islamists. We receive images reminiscent of the riots in Bradford, England, over Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in 1989, ten years after the Ayatollah Khomeini had revolutionized Iran into a stronghold of Islamic extremism.
Yet the stories of these bloggers from outside Europe remain shrouded by a ghastly transparency, as if their death has been only virtual, as if the internet had become their grave, as if these fallen bloggers did not deserve the virality of social networks.
There is also the case of Raif Badawi, in Saudi Arabia, sentenced to 1,000 lashes, ten years in jail and a fine of $270,000 for blogging thoughts such as, “My commitment is…to reject any repression in the name of religion…a goal that we will reach in a peaceful and law-abiding way.” The lashing order added that he should be “lashed very severely.” In addition to that, Badawi’s human rights lawyer, Walid Abu al-Khayr, was sentenced on July 6, 2014, to 10 years in prison. He was accused of: “inciting public opinion,” “disobedience in matters of the sovereign,” “lack of respect in dealings with the authorities,” “offense of the judicial system,” “inciting international organizations against the Saudi kingdom” and, finally, for having founded illegally, or without authorization, his association “Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia.” He was also forbidden to travel for fifteen years after his release, and fined 200,000 riyals ($53,000) according to Abdullah al-Shihri of the Associated Press.
To continue reading: The Death of Free Speech: The West Veils Itself