Draw Muhammed Day – so, what next?

It has been two weeks since my failed attempt to hold a Draw Muhammed Day event on Canada’s Parliament Hill.

To read what had transpired then, please see my posts on the topic.

In the aftermath, everybody wanted to know what was I going to do next?

To be honest, my failure had taught me just how naive I was when it came to this issue.  Yes, I knew I had to DO something – but I didn’t want another failure.  So, the first thing to do was to learn.

In the last two weeks, I spoke and corresponded with many peoples:  some passionate, some intelligent, some knowledgeable – and most a combination of the above.  I got a lot of suggestions and a lot of advice.

One neighbour of mine asked me why I would bother with this – when I could be gardening or doing something else fun.  I pointed out I had kids and could not leave the country in a worse shape for them than it was when I came here.  He just shook his head and drove away.

Another neighbour, whom I had considered a friend, ‘jokingly’ suggested that perhaps I should move, so that her house does not get shot up by accident when ‘they’ come for me…

But most people were actively supportive and gave me some constructive criticism and good advice.

One suggestion I got from a large number of people went something along the following lines:

  • freedom of speech is guaranteed as our Constitutional right
  • so is freedom of assembly
  • Parliament Hill is a public area – perhaps THE public area and as such, it belongs to all of us Canadians
  • therefore, don’t get any permits and just show up with a group of people and do your thing

While I agree with this in principle, there is more to it that just the principle…

You see, there is an organization that is in charge of the activities on Parliament Hill.  It’s some kind of a committee – of course…how else can the bureaucrats avoid individual responsibility – but, it exists for several very practical reasons.

It is necessary to co-ordinate the various events, for simple logistics reasons.

And it is also their responsibility to, through the RCMP, provide security on The Hill (or, in their shorthand, PH).

So while I reject any suggestion that they have the right to judge the substance of the protests in PH  (and their multi-page guide to the use of PH indeed does reserve this right – down to who will speak and what they will say and to limit this to what will ‘fit their image’), I do understand the practical necessity of crowd control and event co-ordination.

In addition, it seems that if I am deemed to trespass on PH, this organization has the right to get me arrested.  And while I think freedom of speech is a worthy issue – worthy enough to go to jail for – I am not certain if getting arrested for ‘trespassing’ has the same impact.  (Which, of course, why this loophole is there…)

So, this is not the course of action I plan to take right now.

Others have urged me to go the Texas route:  to rent a private venue and private security to hold the event.

And while the Garland, Texas, event was a success story (yes, a couple if ISIS goons showed up, but security dispatched them quickly and nobody besides the terrorists got killed – so, despite the media negative spin, this WAS a success story), it feels too much like trying to hold a free speech event in an unmarked basement room with nobody really knowing about it.  And a sign on the door saying ‘beware of the leopard’…

Yes, I am exaggerating – but with my highly limited media reach (I’m no Pamela Geller), I’m not exaggerating anywhere as much as I’d like to.

So, for now, that is also not a preferred course of action.

Then there were those who said that any form of blasphemy is ‘not nice’ and that it is an abuse of the freedom of speech to use it for the purpose of blasphemy. (These are the same people who say “I am for freedom of speech, BUT…”)

To you, I say that without the freedom to blaspheme, there would be no freedom of religion!

Yes, truly!!!

If I were not permitted to blaspheme most Christian’s belief that Jesus Christ was/is the son of God, born of a human woman, who was crucified as a human sacrifice of his corporeal self to his divine self to atone for the sins of humanity – then I would not be free to worship as a Muslim.

If I were not permitted to blaspheme the Muslim belief that Jesus was fathered by a human and did not die on the cross, I would not be free to worship as a Roman Catholic and many Protestant sects.

If I were not permitted to blaspheme the Hindu belief in many deities, then I would not be free to worship as a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew or any other forms of monolatrism/monotheism.

And that is barely scratching the surface!

It is no coincidence that religious books/teachings are exempt from hate-speech laws, because they all hate-speech each other!!!  Which, of course, leaves atheists and ignostics (I do consider myself an ignostic more than anything else) at a bit of a disadvantage:  if everyone else is free to blaspheme and even hate-speech each other’s religion, why are we not allowed to even civil-ly criticize any of them?

NO – blasphemy is not only good, it is absolutely necessary for freedom of religion – and freedom from religion – to exist!!!

Which still leaves me with the question…

What to do?  What to do?!?!?

First thing on my list was a bit of self-education.

If the reason my original event was cancelled was due to ‘security concerns’, then I had better educate myself on this topic in particular.

OK, perhaps picking the International Draw Muhammed Day was not the best for security’s sake.  Perhaps I should pick a less inflammatory date, like, say September 11th – but I jest!

The next item on my list was to learn a little bit about security, public spaces and events and both the theory and how to in that.  I was in luck!

As it so happened, yesterday, 3rd of June, 2015 (exactly 2 weeks to the day when I had intended to hold my failed event), the International Security Conference & Exposition was held in Ottawa – just across the street from the big RCMP building!!!  What luck!!!

Of course, I could not miss an educational opportunity like this!

In my usual bumbling manner, I asked for directions at a hotel nearby the convention centre – and got very exact ones from a nice lady at the front desk.  I followed them to the letter and soon found a room.  Seeing people within, I boldly entered….only to find out that this was ‘the speaker’s lounge’!

Eventually, I found the registration desk, got my badge – and soon found the room with the seminar I knew I could not miss:  ‘Securing Public Spaces’.

It was awesome,

A moderator from The Hill Times (a sponsor) had three most esteemed panelists:  David Harris, Director, International and Terrorist Intelligence Program INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc., some Commie prof from Carleton U who kept insisting that policing causes income disparity (and boasted of helping Greece organize their policing…really, I’m not making this up) and a lady from the City of Ottawa who is in charge of emergency stuff.

The moderator and two thirds of the panel were most excellent!

Joking aside, I really learned a lot about both the theoretical as well as practical aspects of policing public areas.

So, I feel that with my newly acquired knowledge, I might be better able to co-operate (I will NOT ‘collaborate’ – where I come from, collaborators are lined up against the wall and shot – and I am most definitely against violence of any sort) with the powers that control PH.

Perhaps with a different date – one that will work for them and not be so provocative – we can still succeed in having this equal-opportunity blasphemy event on PH.

So, my next step will be to re-contact the power that be and see what hoops I need to jump through to get this event happening!

Thunderf00t’s ‘Harlie Hebdo’ rant

So brilliant, it’s healthy to watch it again!

A Draw Muhammed Event is scheduled for Friday, 29th of May in Phoenix, Arizona

Good on them:  the more we demonstrate that speech must remain unfettered, the more of us stand up against tyranny, the more difficult it will be to silence us all!

And, with freedoms, it is like everything else:  if you don’t use it, you loose it!

So, stand up tall, Phoenix, Arizona!

So many of us came to the Shores of North America in order to be free – and we are not going to be silenced by thugs and terrorists!

H/T:  Vlad Tepes

Draw Muhammed Day event denied: interview

Today, Vlad Tepes interviewed me regarding my failed attempt to hold an International Draw Muhammed Day event in Ottawa, on the Parliament Hill, yesterday.

I hope this clarifies any outstanding questions as to why I though I had a permit to hold the event, when, at the last minute, it had been denied.

Also thanks to Vlad Tepes, here are some audioclips from CFRA, Ottawa’s talk show station, on the topic.

First audioclip is from Tuesday night’s Late Night Counsell on 19th of May

And here, Vlad was kind enough to put up commentary and comments from CFRA’s Lowell Green show on May 20th:

So, what exactly happened with that ‘Draw Muhammed Day 2015’ event yesterday…

I had hoped to hold a Draw Muhammed day event in Canada’s capital, Ottawa – on the grounds of Parliament Hill – yesterday, May 20th,  the International Draw Muhammed Day.
I must admit that through this whole process, I have proven myself to be rather naive, since I thought that ‘following the rules’ was the best way to approach this issue…
As per instructions, I applied for the appropriate permit and was told (via phone) that all was in order and only the security issue needed to be addressed before the permit would be granted.
Understandable.
So, I worked with the Protective Policing detail of the RCMP, the people in charge of the security of The Hill, to move the time and specific location of the event in order to make it as easy for them as possible to ensure the safety not only of this event, but also of every other visitor to The Hill.
In order to ensure this could not possibly be interpreted as an attack on one religious minority and their beliefs, I ensured that this event would be critical of all religious persecution of freedom of speech:  since the Pope claimed violence would be a justified response to an insult to his mother, I invited people to draw the Pope’s mother; since people are in jail for having used an image of Buddha with headphones, I invited people to draw an image of Buddha with headphones.
And, to demonstrate that the prohibition against depicting the likeness of the Islamic Prophet Muhammed is by no means as universal as some loud voices today would have us believe, I planned to display historical Islamic depictions of Muhammed.
In addition, I invited people to draw any other religious/political figure they want – this was a freedom of speech event at the occasion of the International Draw Muhammed Day, nothing less or more.
After both an email and phone exchange with various members of this team, I had met with them – in a local coffee shop, none the less, and was told that thanks to my eager cooperation, all of their security concerns had been addressed and the permit would be issued within hours.
Naively, I believed what I was told, and started to let people know about the event.
Being just one individual and not a member of any organization or political party, I simply posted the info on my blog and sent emails to my friends, who sent emails to their friends, and so on….a word of mouth thing, as I have no budget for ads and such.  RISE Canada even took it upon themselves to put up a Facebook page for the event, as I had not even the skills for that.
I waited for the promised paperwork, and waited, and waited.  As of Tuesday afternoon, I was assured it was coming.
Then, at 5:25pm on the 19th of May, I received a phone call informing me that the permit for the event was denied.
Frankly, I was surprised and at a loss for words – I did all I was told and was assured that all ‘security concerns’ were fine – yet, it was precisely ‘security concerns’ that were cited as the reason fro the denial.
No appeal was possible.
No explanation for what these ‘security concerns’ were was going to be provided.
I contacted the RCMP protective detail assigned to me for the event and let them know….and while I realize I don’t understand internal politics, it seemed to me that they were not the ones with ‘security concerns’.
So, I updated the info on my blog, re-sent emails and let everyone know that indeed, in Canada, our constitutionally guaranteed ‘freedom of speech’  only extends to bureaucratically permitted speech…
Anyhow, everybody respected the prohibition against the event – only some reporters and numerous security forces were reported to have shown up….
I have been asked by many people to please re-schedule the event for another time and that is indeed what I will do.
Yet, I am left with the logistics question of how to go about it, since the official permit will, no doubt, be just as likely denied as the first time….and begging for a permit to exercise freedom of speech seems very silly, if not downright oxymoronic…
Anyhow, that is the stage in which things find themselves now.
Thoughts?

Draw Muhammed Day 2015 – on Parliament Hill, Ottawa

UPDATE:  FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN CANADA HAS BEEN CANCELLED!!!

International Draw Muhammed Day 2015

DESPITE HAVING RECEIVED APPROVAL FOR THIS EVENT FROM THE RCMP HILL SECURITY LAST WEEK, LESS THAN 24 HOURS PRIOR TO THE EVENT, A BUREAUCRAT FROM CANADIAN HERITAGE HAD CALLED TO INFORM ME THAT THIS EVENT IS CANCELLED DUE TO SECURITY CONCERNS.  PLEASE, DO NOT COME TO TRY TO EXERCISE YOUR FREEDOM OF SPEECH IN CANADA – THE BUREAUCRATS HAVE CANCELLED IT!!!

Date:  Wednesday, 20th of May, 2015

Time:  13:00 to 15:00

Place:  Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Canada

Come and join us in drawing Muhammed, the Pope’s Mother, Buddha with headphones and or any other religious/political figure!

Let’s exercise our freedom to blaspheme – while we still can!!!

We will meet at 13:00 hours (1pm) at the Eastern Entrance to the Parliament Hill, because this is the entrance that the October 22nd, 2014 shooter had entered The Hill from after shooting Sgt. Cirillo at the War Memorial.

Then we will walk up along the route the shooter had taken and set up a table on the North-Western corner of the front lawn (just before the shrubbery) at about the half-way point between the two shootings.  (If it is wet and rainy, we will put up a tent, so we can actually produce art and Draw cartoons/pictures.)

And we will exercise our freedom to blaspheme any and every religion we wish!!!

Come one, come all!

Tell your friends!

And let’s prove that freedom of speech still trumps all religious blasphemy laws in the beautiful, wonderful Magna Carta country of ours!!!

UPDATE:

RISE CANADA has been kind enough to put up a Facebook event page for this event:  please, share and spread the word!

A most interesting conversation with an RCMP representative today…

Sorry to have been away for so long – but, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately.

For example, just today, I had a most interesting conversation with an RCMP representative today.

She had called me up to reach out to me regarding my request for a permission to hold an ‘International Draw Muhammed Day’ event on Parliament Hill.

No, this was not to let me know that the event has been approved:  that is up to the bureaucrats, and I have not heard from them yet (except to tell me, 4 days after I submitted my request, that my request ‘had been received’).

Aside:  if this really is a free country, where we, the citizens, have the freedom of speech, movement and assembly – why do we need permits to hold demonstrations/public events on public land?  Should not notifying the gov – for security’s sake – be sufficient?  How is it ‘freedom’ if we need ‘permits’ and promise to follow ‘rules of conduct’ empteen pages long?  If it has to ONLY be ‘permitted speech’ – how is it FREE speech?  If it has to be a ‘permitted gathering’ – how is it a FREE gathering?  But, I digress….

Yet, it was a step in the right direction.

If I do succeed in getting the permit for my freedom of speech event (yes, please – do laugh, so that we may not cry, at my begging for ‘permit’ for a ‘freedom’ event), the RCMP will be there to protect me.

In force.

With machine guns visible.

And their rep let me know that the way I have positioned it, the RCMP is backing me 100%!

FYI, this is from my request for a permit:

May 20th is International Draw Muhammed Day.  However, in order to highlight that all religions are oppressive of free speech and freedom of religion – which includes freedom from religious blasphemy laws – I will be inviting people passing by to join in drawing the Pope’s mother (as he expressed violence is reasonable response to his mother being insulted), a Buddha with headphones on (as people are now in jail for having used that image) as well as drawing the Islamic prophet Muhammed and/or any other religious or political figure.  This will be a peaceful celebration of our freedom of speech, expressed through participant contributed art.

Je suis Charlie Hebdo!

Je suis Eric Brazeau!

JE SUIS!!!

Bill Warner: The Evil Done by Good Men

 

Creeping Sharia in the US: Muslims demand a teacher of ‘World Affairs’ class be fired for showing Muhammad cartoons the day after Charlie Hebdo massacre

If you are a student of ‘World Affairs’, you ought to expect that events that ‘shake the world’ – as the Charlie Hebdo massacre did – will be covered in class.  Anything else would be an abdication of an educator’s responsibilities.

But, if you do live up to your responsibilities, you just might find yourself the subject of protest by Muslims, demanding your resignation or firing:

‘The teacher, Deepa Bhandaru, recently earned her Ph.D from the UW Political Science department, and works for ReWA teaching a free class on world affairs for youth, where she showed the cartoons during a lesson on free speech and religious pluralism.

Like Yessef, many at the protest said they’d lived in the U.S. for decades and emphasized that they embraced American values of freedom of speech and religion. But more than one participant said they felt that showing the cartoons to youth had crossed a line, and insisted that they would only be satisfied if Bhandaru were fired.’

Sad, so sad…

So much sadder since it is so predictable…

We must stop the creeping blasphemy ban in its tracks, or we stand to loose our freedom of – and from – religion!!!

What the great late Christopher Hitchens said about the last set of Muhammad cartoons

More relevant today than ever!

Prescient words of wisdom…