This is a guest post by BeaverMoose:
Attendance wasn’t bad at Toronto’s ‘Charlie Hebdo March’ that started at New City Hall at 2 pm on Sunday, January 11, 2015: there were slightly more than 2,000 people in the crowd, about ten percent of the Montreal march’s turnout of 25,000 held the same day.
A marcher explained to me, ‘That’s understandable that Montreal had more attendance. They read Charlie Hebdo and identify more with Paris than Toronto does.’
On short notice, 2,000 wasn’t bad for a march organized in Toronto concerned about free speech in France. I happened to see a notice about the march on TV and showed up to find about 2,000 people with king-sized, hand-made cardboard ‘pencils’, French, Iranian and Ukrainian flags, a hundred ‘je suis Charlie’ posters. Many held up home-written posters and slogans in different languages, Dutch, Danish, Iranian and English.
About fifty expat Iranians held large ‘je suis Charlie’ signs in written in French and Arabic script, along with free speech detainees persecuted in Iran. They described how no freedom of expression whatever is allowed in Islamic Iran.
A Dutchman wearing wooden shoes marched next to a Frenchman holding a hockey stick with a French flag on it.
A woman with a paint brush agreed that artists seem to understand the critical importance of free expression more than people in other lines of work. ‘As early as I remember,’ she admitted, ‘I was getting in trouble for drawing caricatures, usually of my teachers.’
Another person chimed in: ‘Artists have to maintain a ‘screw-you’ attitude – otherwise, they can’t be much of an artist.’
After speeches about freedom at Toronto’s New City Hall were finished, the crowd marched half a kilometre to Dundas Square, up Toronto’s main street, while chanting ‘Charlie…Charlie…’ and ‘liberté…d’expression’.
Muslims on the street averted their gaze, while a seller of ‘halal’ poutine looked on nervously while muttering prayers to seek refuge from those who were demanding free speech.
There was also a man who wore a sign on his hat that said, ‘I am a Muslim but I am human first.’
I walked up to him and smiled before asking his point of view. He said he doesn’t agree with terrorism. I asked him: ‘Do you think I am a kafir? ‘ (i.e. a troublesome disbeliever) ‘No, you must do something bad to be a kafir,’ he responded.
Were the Charlie Hebdo artists kafirs? ‘No, I do not think so,’ he said.
Did he disagree with Sharia law about blasphemy? ‘I do not think we should kill people who write something.’
‘But,’ I said, ‘If you do not follow Sharia law, you have left Islam…can you convince the mullahs at Al Azhar University that you are right and they are wrong?’ He replied, ‘No, I do not think I can do that.’ In other words, nice Muslims like this man, realize he cannot change Islamic law.
The Toronto ‘Charlie Hebdo’ march was attended by people who understand that freedom is not free.
Unfortunately, freedom isn’t secure once for all when there are Islamic terrorists who are trying so hard to take it away. I really thought that after the attack on our national Parliament Buildings, Toronto would have had more marchers. Canadians will need to see they are the ones who must pay for our freedom by getting out of their comfortable chairs and marching for it. Our battle is against those who claim their right not to be criticized is more important than our right to speak out against misogyny and supremacism.
This is my moment to speak to those who did not attend. Canadians, it’s YOUR freedom we marched for today. How important is freedom to you? What has to happen to us Canadians before we realize how precious our freedom is? Let’s not wait until something worse happens.
So let’s keep marching for freedom (more next time, please). The Islamic terrorists won’t stop their marching, their bombing and their shooting until they realize that we love freedom more than they love death!
They won’t stop until they realize their actions are completely futile. Rather than give in to them, we have to rally against them and tell our politicians ‘OUR FREEDOM IS NOT NEGOTIABLE!!!’
Earlier, I wrote about Eric Brazeau’s upcoming trial and I said he had already served more time in jail than was possible for the ‘crime’ he had committed.
I was wrong!
I did not expect the judge would not only sentence him to double what the prosecution was seeking, but also that the judge would not apply the usual 2.5 to 1 credit for time served pre-trial, as is customary in Canada…
Oh, how naive I feel…
So, let me be the first to say:
One of the most distrusted professions in Canada is ‘lawyers’.
The other one is ‘politicians’.
Yet our judges are ‘patronage appointments’ of lawyers by their politician buddies.
Ever wonder what is wrong with our judicial system?
I just can’t put my finger on it….
Everybody, well, everybody with a functioning brain, that is, is outraged about the jihadist terrorists’ murder-spree at Charlie Hebdo.
I think I made my views on this clear.
And, predictably enough, them ‘nothing-to-do-with-Islam’ chaps of the Islamic State (aka IS aka ISIS aka ISIL) claimed responsibility for the Charlie Habdo murders and gloated that more such attacks are coming.
No, I will not call them ‘Barbarians’ because I would never insult Barbarians by likening them to these savages!
But, at least they are just rogues, playing at a state, right?
It’s not actual UN (ok, I’m choking on this phrase, but roll with it) actual UN recognized countries, right?
And certainly not any ally of ours, right?
Weeeeeeeel, not so much!
Flogging is a punishment often inflicted on Muslims by Islamist governments, because Sharia (Islamic law) commands it. And all Islamist governments are guided by Sharia – including the ones our young men and women had liberated.
Like Afghanistan. Whose new Constitution, drafted with the help of Western ‘liberators’, cites Sharia as the ultimate ruling authority.
And the punishment of flogging is often so severe,
those being punished the victims often die. Unless the sentence is broken up into ‘managable’ bits: you know, just to the brink of death, let you recover, flog some more – almost to the brink of death, let you recover, and so on. This is how the torture is maximized.
That is pure Sharia.
That is pure Islam.
UPDATE: JE SUIS ERIC!
In case you have not been following his case, Eric Brazeau is most definitely Canada’s Political Prisoner.
OK, so he may not be a very likeable guy – I’ve heard from people who are frustrated with him but support his cause as well as from people from the freedom of speech movement who cannot stand him. Having never met the guy, I am unable to pass my own judgment.
And this is the crux of the matter ‘BUT!!!’.
Regardless of anything else, it would be irresponsible to not bring the facts of the matter to public knowledge.
Eric Brazeau had a politically incorrect conversation while using Toronto’s public transit.
Eric Brazeau was very, very careful to restrict his commentary to a codified, dogmatic doctrine – without any allusions to peoples or cultures.
As a direct result of this conversation (and, I have seen a private video of it, so even though I am not permitted to publish it, I can honestly report to you, my dear reader, that this conversation was limited to factually accurate criticism of a doctrine without any allusions or references to people, individuals or practitioners of any doctrine), Eric Brazeau was arrested and jailed without any possibility of bail.
Eric Brazeau charges criminal charges as a result of this private conservation because it is charged that the conversation ‘offended’ some people who eavesdropped on it.
The judge said that the possibility that Mr. Brazeau might have another politically incorrect conversation while on bail was sufficient reason to keep him in jail to await his trial without any possibility of bail.
By now, he has spent more time in jail awaiting trial than the longest possible sentence he could receive for the charges he is facing!!!
If being held in jail for longer than the maximum potential sentence – and for speech, not deeds – is anything other than the very definition of being a ‘political prisoner’ (and I say this as the daughter of a former dissident in a communist country – not some naive idealist), then the term ‘political prisoner’ has been rendered meaningless!!!
OK – disclosure: this really, really gets under my skin!
Many of the ‘free speechers’ will not stand up for this guy, because he is not likeable.
The last time I looked, being an asshole did not mean you did not have human rights – or that setting a precedent of our society being OK with stripping a jerk of his human rights because we don’t like him is OK….because when people who don’t like you come to power, the legal precedent of it being OK to treat YOU as less than human will have been set…
So, I planned to be there tomorrow morning, in the Toronto courtroom, to witness Canada’s baby-step towards tyranny. By the way, his case number is 4815998145000366701, in case you can follow it or go to 2201 Finch Av W in Toronto this Monday, 5th of January, 2015 and report on it (if you can and do go, I will be very happy to publish your report on the case – just contact me with your account!).
I had planned for months to attend – I planned to travel to Toronto the day before and attend this trial and then, on Wednesday, the ‘Concerned Citizen’s appeal’ in the Presto scandal case. But…
…you may have noticed, my dear reader, that I have been unusually ‘quiet’ lately… I’ve been a little under the weather and am simply not fit to travel and so, unhappily, I will miss both court dates. You cannot imagine how angry and sad this makes me, but, as the saying goes: the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…
So, if you can make it there, do let me know and I will do my best to spread the word!
EDIT: P.S. There are two trials scheduled for 10 am in courtroom #211 at the Finch Street Court location in Toronto – so, there is no way to tell whether Mr. Brazeau’s trial will be first or second…but, scheduling two trials for one day….having witnessed quite a few civil cases (but no criminal ones), I find it difficult to believe two trials which could strip people of their civil liberties could possibly be sufficiently heard by one judge in one day…
DRM – Digital Rights Management, is the digital copyright protection placed on electronic media by the major manufacturers/distributors of content (movies, CDs, etc.). And while some people argue that some copyright protection is reasonable, the rules regarding DRM are so one-sided and shortsighted that all impartial observers criticize them – for many reasons.
We can now add one more reason for valid and legitimate criticism: DRM directly discriminates against the visually impaired:
‘Any digital text can be read aloud through text-to-speech, granting people with visual impairments the basic human right to read — unless there’s DRM in the way.
Tricking the technology used by Amazon, Apple, Adobe and Google to stop blind people from adding text-to-speech to their devices isn’t hard — but it is a felony, thanks to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. A UN treaty intended to help people with visual, cognitive and sensory disabilities access copyrighted works has been all but killed by the big publishers.’
If you are new to this debate, I encourage you to get informed because there needs to be a balance of rights: protecting the rights of the content creators/owners must not rob purchasers of said material from being able to access it in a format that they would like.
At the current time, the rules governing content purchased on electronic media are created by politicians on the advice of industry lobbyists – very powerful and rich industry lobbyists – without any weight being given to the needs, much less the rights, of the consumer.
More balance is needed or electronic vigilantes WILL gain widespread public support.
The Robin Hood myth has survived many centuries for a reason. Unless the society wishes for hactivists to become the next incarnation of the Robin Hood character, fixing the deeply flawed and corrupt copyright governance is a necessary first step!