Tuesday, February 14, 2012

our Rights to Freedom of speech

So how are you all this festival season? What festival? you ask. Why, its the festival of Valentine's day, of course. The merchants are going crazy marketing their wares and giving 30-50% off on all products, from shoes to dresses to jewelry to vehicles to you-name-it. But the red balloons, roses and heart shaped everythings are what make me sick. Poor St. Valentine, he died for a cause and it has been twisted to help the marketing world best.

But but but... this valentine's day has been chosen as the Free speech day - To celebrate free speech and to protest book bans, censorship in the arts and curbs on free expression.

All the great democratic countries who have given their citizens the right to speak are curtailing and banning all forms and means of expressions, using one excuse or the other. And in India, what could irritate the government and its opposition alike, more than the firangi "festival" of valentine's day which promotes dirty, immoral western ideas such as love?

There is a call out for #flashreads where folks are all called to meet at a popular public place and do a flash read.  Nice thought.

Ain't it sad that 64 years after gaining independence from the foreigners, we are still fighting to free speech.

Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech. - Benjamin Franklin

“Free speech means the right to shout 'theatre' in a crowded fire.” 
― Abbie Hoffman

“If freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”  ― George Washington

“This is slavery, not to speak one's thought.”  ― EuripidesThe Phoenician Women

"Freedom is fundamentally the possibility of standing on a street corner and shouting “There is no freedom here!”  ― Yoani S├ínchez

“The interest in encouraging freedom of expression in a democratic society outweighs any theoretical but unproven benefit of censorship.”  ― John Paul Stevens

(All posters courtesy the generosity of Sanjay Sipahimalani--for all four free speech posters, go to Antiblurbs.)

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