Free Speech: We Will Not Cower

Image: Charlie Hebdo

When foreign governments, religious leaders and their faithful followers threaten and murder individuals for daring to speak, anyone who values his own life and freedom must stand with, and speak for, the victims.

We call on everyone to post and publicize the content that these totalitarians do not want us to see, as we are doing here.

It does not matter whether you agree or disagree with the particular book, cartoon or movie that they seek to silence. We must defend our unconditional right to freedom of thought and freedom of speech.

The totalitarians are counting on self-censorship: that their threats and attacks will leave most of us too scared to speak out and criticize their doctrines. They then have a chance of killing the few individuals brave enough to defy them.

We must end any hope that this strategy will prove effective.

In the wake of the attacks on Sony, many people rightly observed that if The Interview were put up on the Internet and made widely available, the attackers’ goal of silencing the filmmaker would be unachieved. The same goes for criticism and satire of Islamic doctrine.

If we now all defiantly make the content and images the jihadists wish to ban widely and permanently available across the web, the attackers will have failed. They may have taken the lives of the editor and cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, for which we grieve, but they will not have taken their freedom.

The alternative is to cower and stick our heads in the sand in hope that the issue goes away. But this will not end the threat. It will only make our freedom disappear.

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