Monday 22 October 2012

The Neo-Crusade Strikes Back

I've been to Pandaria for the past few weeks, and there's no shortage of stuff to do. Still, certain current events have been too big to ignore.

In wake of the Innocence of Muslims political forgery that was posted on YouTube, a hate speech poster campaign by the American Freedom Defense Initiative -- led by none other than neo-crusader lieutenant Pamela Geller -- goes to show that the neo-crusader movement has learned little or nothing from Anders Breivik, instead reinforcing its state of denial. Jewish American organisations have been among the strongest critics of the posters. Even Fox News saw fit to blur out the word 'savage' when it broadcast the story. (Warning: you may have to resist the temptation to do physical damage to your monitor, just from looking at the poster.)

A court injunction from the NYMTA initially halted its posting in the subways of New York and San Francisco, but a subsequent appeal by Geller and her cohorts allowed it to proceed on the grounds of free speech. Egyptian-American journalist Mona Eltahawy was nabbed by Transit police for spray-painting over one of the posters, in defiance of a Geller loyalist attempting to obstruct her. However, anti-hate activists -- Christians no less -- then came up with the idea of directly counteracting Geller's posters with their own ones.

That is probably the best possible antidote to hate speech - elevating equal and opposite free speech to the same level, instead of outrightly censoring the hate speech. The pedlars of hate speech have traditionally had the backing of big money, governmental authority, or both. But with the advent of crowd-sourcing, that monopoly on power can be challenged.