Today, freedom is on sale, and most of the time it’s for free. Anyone has an opinion about whatever the subject, without almost no sustainability or subtle observation of the problem and with no consequences whatsoever about what they say. The simplicity is clear cut: either you like or dislike, you agree or disagree, you find it good or bad.
In spite of the colorful speech of today’s world, quite summarized in the LGBT gaudy flag, which is also used as peace and anti-war flag, the speech about freedom has become gloomily black and white: either you are for free speech or against it. No variations of tones; just the poor simplicity of being for a cause or against it. Ours is a time when dialectics has lost its opportunity. And, paradoxically enough, a time when we achieved the best of the regimes, democracy, which tends to be considered the best precisely because it incites and lives better with perfectibility rather than perfection, with debate rather than with conviction. Our flags have been raised in the name of acceptance beyond difference. Nevertheless there’s rarely a public discussion which isn’t reduced to that simplicity of the two possible answers. Needless to say, usually the one defending one position abhors the vision of the other. In spite of this not being an exclusive trend of our generation, I do believe biased opinions have spread and fortified among the youth of today – anything else because youth, today, lasts until you’re 30 something. As a consequence (or is it a way to legitimize it?), you’re pressured to have an opinion but free, as a child would, from compromising yourself with it.
Dualism has been structural to Western rhetoric. It doesn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that the West is painted with the colors of freedom of speech and liberal values, raising the banner of gender, racial and sexual rights, and opposing to intolerance, ostracism, misogyny, racism and homophobia – in Western rhetoric, the civilized West is relentlessly and insatiably fighting the savages. Islam, the Middle East and Arabs are, today, those savages. As ridiculously simple as it seems, we forget to often that when we demonize the image of one, we’re naturally strengthening the rhetoric of the other. Freedom of speech has become a way to demonize an apparent opponent. Islam and Arabs are most to often an alibi, in Western discourse. Europeans (and North Americans) are convinced that Europe (and the United States) is the best place to live in. And it’s probably true for most of us; only that costs the lives of the rest of the whole world. It’s not economy alone that’s unequally distributed; it’s everything else that falls with it. The regimes that emerged in the Middle East are a consequence of the damaging usurpation of European and American power over those countries. And, although we’re told that intervention in those countries aims to organize them on the bases of democracy, we know that is not true. The so-called “war on terrorism” (terrorism based on religious fundamentalism) has in fact affected only the secular countries of the Middle East, as is the case of Syria, Libya and Lebanon. These countries are the countries born from the movement of Arab national liberation, occurred in the previous decades. The attack on Islamic fundamentalism has left out those countries governed by absolute and dictatorial monarchies, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia, who are in fact those most affiliated with Islamic fundamentalism. It is clear as day that the reasons invoked by governors are not the ones that underlie the campaign against Islam and Islamic fundamentalism. In the West, one thing matters alone: money; and power, because money holds power and power makes money.
West created the East. Since the appearance of ISIS, rumors run in Iraq connecting CIA and the Islamic State; a strict relation between the US and ISIS has been documented; Al-Qaeda means database because it “was originally the computer file referring to thousands of mujahedeen who were recruited and trained with the help from the CIA to defeat the Russians". The reports go on. We hear the half-truths and the untruths from the old wives’ tale: that they’re anti-freedom and we pro-freedom, that they’re fundamentalism and we liberalists, that they’re evil and we decent. We’re convinced about the goodness of our liberal values; so much so that we think we can spread it randomly. But what is random for the mass (that masquerade about freedom of speech) is quite strategic for Western business making. They make you fight for second-plan issues while they control their first plan interests. Be all proud because you’re a Charlie, that absolute tomfoolery about saying whatever the hell in the name of freedom of speech, but don’t lose too much of your time because it doesn’t mean a thing. There’s too much scandal all around. People are scandalized all the time. Scandal has become their way of life. Well, it doesn’t have to be. It doesn’t mean a thing. I don’t care about freedom of speech if discourse goes with the wind. We’ve been talking to the walls because that’s literally what we’ve been constructing with our discourse of simplicity of for-it or against-it (take notice of the walls and fences separating Palestine from Israel or those being constructed in Eastern Europe and in Greece to shut doors to refugees). Yes, it is that same undying Cold War, separating the East and the West. We got used to it. This we against them is entertainment, bad and poor entertainment. There are too many of those bouncy fleas named Charlies, populating our land with hatred, intolerance and weak dualism (and this is not to say, obviously!, that there’s any understanding for the attack that came as reply). Criticism should not mix with offence. Most too often we’re loosing our humanity in the name of freedom of speech. I remember that question Le Carré asked in The spy who came in from the cold: how far can we go in the reasonable defense of our western values without losing them in our way? We’re giving Control’s answer – that we shouldn’t be less ruthless simply because our policy is more benevolent – and I’m tempted to think that’s probably a wrong one.