Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression is an expression of freedom. Freedom is a privilege quite precious. Only a man with a civic sense can understand what does a privilege actually mean. Like any other privilege, freedom also warrants obeying some civic norms and rules. Only nomadic and psychotics can afford to pay no heed to the norms of society.
Modern means of transportation and modes of communications have gradually submerged the isolated pockets of human societies into a global community. Electronic media has further enabled human populations to interact freely across the globe. Due to mass communication, geo political boundary lines of different civilizations remained no longer fine and well defined.
Right from Antarctica to Timbuktu almost all of us practically live, at least intellectually in a community rightly called global village. Village is a concept. Village has a unique atmosphere. Contrary to smoky and hazy urban environment, villages have still an air of transparency. In a village almost everybody knows who is up to what.
Thought is articulated in the form of word. Word is a working map of action. Civic sense is like road sense; you have to protect others for the sake of your own safety. You may have a car and its horn of your own, but road is a public property. Auditory threshold and level of tolerance to noise is a public judgment. If someone gets hurt by your wavy and noisy driving, your freedom to drive may come to an end. While driving, expressing your personal mood is not permissible.
Harmony of thoughts is the building block of civic sense; it aims at peace in and around you. Civic sense means protecting the rights of others not to be hurt even at the cost of your own freedom. With freedom comes responsibility.
The importance of civic sense has unfolded to be many fold when you throttle your way on the super-highway of information that en-routes throughout the globe. This route is open and interactive round the clock. More you become hi-tech, more you ought to be careful. It is important to surf the internet safely without making an accident. When uploaded, words and images, moving or still, move with a speed that supersedes the range of trans-continental missiles. If deployed unwisely, words may prove to be potential WMD (weapon of mass destruction). Any surfer addicted to thrill and gamble of getting over-night fame can trigger the ballistics of hatred and chaos.
To be read, one does not have to be a writer now. Simply push few strokes of your key board and you are read throughout the world. Right now when I am typing a sentence in my lap top connected to a modem, I am responsible and at the same time answerable to temperament and sentiments of six billion human beings. What a freedom to experience, and what a responsibility to share!!
To make this global village more viable and lovable place to inhabit, there we need to learn a civic sense. Mutual respect of the members will be the key factor that could invite and accommodate more and more people to populate this virtual village. It is the hospitality and not the hostility that would be the norm of the global village.
Only civic population of the village can lay down the rules of freedom of expressions. Rules are not regulations. Moral rule is a matter of insight. Rest of the folk may consider the naked expression of vulgarity a “freedom” of “expression”. Hues of nobility become visible only where vulgarity fades out.
In a civilized society, freedom costs a lot of self-constraints. A wise man from the West put it very rightly by saying “Your freedom of waving your stick ends at the point where my nose starts”. To rephrase this theme of wisdom, if my freedom of expression starts hurting others it will amount to be a crime.
If we cannot enchain the beast within, global civilization becomes endangered. Global warming will become too fast, much before the ozone layer get disrupted, if we do not stop adding fuel to burning sentiments of those who are disturbed by our self defined freedom of expression. If I am not listening to those I am hurting, I am committing an act of extremism. Freedom of expression can never be synonym with expression of might is right. Civilization means migration from might is right notion to that of right is might. If right is might does not become a norm, global civilisation and peace will remain a dream to be awaited long.
Global peace is a composite architecture comprising of multiple strips of colours from different parts of the world. That is why the world is colourful. Discarding or disregarding a single colour will mar the mural of world peace. If someone claims to be religious, he must show a sign of recognition to other religion. If someone is claimant of secular thought, he may take religion a matter of love affair of humanity at large. It is a bond of love that bridges the present with the past. Past is an asset of all humanity. Past is present’s heritage. Love is a blood that gushes forth in our jugular vein and becomes a prime cause of life; if bruised, it may lead to bloodshed. The key factor of global peace and harmony is to regard each-other’s love. If we disregard love, heritage of humankind is discarded. The person whom you love is sanctified. Similarly social customs, geographical area, era, events and belongings of the beloved also become sacred.
In this era of information technology, let no terrorist or Terry burn the book of sanctity that belongs to humanity. Let no baseless and faceless person ignite the fire of hatred and hell by distorting the true face of history.
Peace stems from with IN; if there is no peace with IN, there is no peace with OUT. If peace of mind is disrupted, global peace become disturbed. It requires a lot of saints and sentiments to build a monument of peace with-in. Distortion of sentiments is a direct threat to world peace. Disrespect of saints and prophets is even a bigger threat. History provides the proof. No matter followers of a religion practice the teachings of the religion or not, they hardly compromise with the notion of disrespect of their saints and teachers. Religion or belief is an asset of human being; and nobody can welcome a person with a slogan of freedom of expression who tries to trespass his fences. If offence is the right, defence is even a prime right. In every civic society we teach our children to observe a note of respect of the belongings of others; what about the sacred assets of religion, books of religion and the pioneers of religion?
Taliban is not a form; it is a format of thought, distorted and perverted. You may find Taliban in every corner. Taliban is a temperament, a temperament of imposing your perception by hook or by crook. Extremist has no boundaries and no religion. They may be found from Kabul to Wall Street. Almost a decade ago Taliban destroyed and disfigured the gigantic monuments of Buddha in Afghanistan. Their sadistic and extremist act created a shock wave across the globe. The religious sentiments of Far Eastern population were bruised by this brutal act. World witnessed millions of devotees of Buddha crying with tears as they watched on their television screens signs and symbols of their religion being disgraced.
While fighting Taliban in mountains, we are facing another creed of Taliban that is sitting behind their desktops expressing similar brutal acts of terrorism on social media like YouTube and Face book. They are violating the basic human rights by humiliating respectful monuments of dignity. They are sabotaging the signs of nobility. They are virtually committing acts of violence.
As the globe is dwindling between two groups of extremists, world peace is in danger. One group raises religious slogans that are totally out of context of the teaching of religion and thus exploit the religious sentiments of common folk.; the others are liberal fundamentalist who are bent on injuringing common man’s religious sentiments. Both the parties have a tunnelled vision and fixed ideas. They simply “believe”____ “I am right without doubt; and you are wrong without_____ because you do not agree what I believe”
Prophets are the noblest human being on earth; they are the hallmarks of greatness of humankind. Disgraceful gestures to such monuments of greatness will prove to be a suicidal attack on the noblest part of humanity. This gesture is, in itself a proof of arrogance and perversion. Monuments of nobility are to be loved, to be adored and to be respected; and not to be mocked and ridiculed. Prophets of the past must be regarded as World Common heritage. To preserve their prestigious position for the sake of generations to come should be a prime responsibility of UNESCO. All the nations of the world ought to vote unanimously to preserve this intellectual asset of humanity. UNO must take this agenda as World Peace Mission. If defamation law holds good for a living personality, it must hold true for the personality living in the heart of humanity. It is a food for thought for intellectuals and legislators with international vision and for those social activists who are seriously striving for world peace. “Respect for all and hatred to none” should be part of syllabi of the students’ right from the kindergarten to university campuses all over the world. No community should consider itself “wise” enough to fool around other communities.
”O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.” (QURAN 49 : 11)