HOME :::: f your place of worship facilitates speakers who inculcate ill-will towards fellow beings, please speak up, it is a place to seek peace and not ill-will. Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, Temples have all inadvertently allowed such men to speak. Save sanctity of the place.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Freedom should be free

Freedom should be free
ABSTRACT: The central theme of this piece is about Freedom of Speech; a hallmark of civil societies. No matter how hateful or ugly people get, we should not curb it, as ultimately freedom stands to gain more for the society, things will wash out. We also have to recognize the inhumanity among us when it comes to the pain of others, that will put us on a higher plateau of finding solutions.

In case of Gaza, the people of Israel, Palestine and Jews around the world are divided, please remember on national issues like this, only fanatics have clear positions, the majority debates the concerns to find lasting and just solutions. The media does not present you with the extraordinary Jewish efforts to do the right thing or the struggles of the Palestinians to be fair given the conditions they are pushed into.

In case of Kashmir, the Indians, Pakistanis and Kashmiris, the Indian Goverment, Indian Media, Scholars and humanists are all divided. The position taking has protracted the conflict, it is time we think in term of long terms solutions that are sustainable; fairness and justness guaranty peace.

If denying the rights of others, or bulldozing the rights of others was the case, the problems would have gone away. It is easy to be jingoist, it gets short term support, but in long haul fairness prevails.


I was reading one of the posts on the Face book about Kashmir conflict, as usual a majority of the comments sought solutions, a few, spewed hatred. I have pondered over the discussions on conflicts like Gaza and the tragedy of her people. In both the cases, it is appalling to read the degree of degeneration of humanity between the few Pakistanis, Indians, Kashmiris on one hand, and Palestinians, Israelis and the Jews on the other hand. The good news is that only a fraction of the each group of people is ugly for the time being, until they are given a chance to turn around; the majority of them are good people, to which I might add, good for nothing.

As a part of the solution, a few wanted limitations on freedom of speech. I'd like you to consider your own argument against such an idea, and instead go to the root of it and bring about a change through education and free will. Let Freedom be free.

Freedom is gutsy, you wouldn't be afraid to debate and discuss an issue. Ultimately what sustains is participatory decissions. If you clamp down on others, it is because you are afraid and that is a legitimate fear, as one day the tables will turn. Each one of us has to reap what we sow. Taking advantage of the other never works, you live in virtual fears if you do. It happens even among family members and spouse. There is an automated spiritual balance in each one of us. Vanja my friend shared a video on Freedom, it is worth watching, the link is at the bottom. That is the kind of relationship we ought to conder nurturing with the members of our family and friends; to be ourselves and to be free. Real bonding comes from freedom.

Hate is bonding, with it; one is reduced to slavery and becomes worthless to himself and the society. Whenever you think of the person you hate, it makes your blood boil, it makes you run or even violent, it makes you shiver and really makes you worthless for the next few moments until you regain control of yourselves and obtain your freedom back again.

If you justify any killing be it in Kashmir, Gaza or Darfur, you have to ask yourselves, if one killing is justified over the other, because they killed, you have a right to destroy them to teach a lesson, then if they get the power to hurt you, are you saying revenge is fine? Would you like to continue the cycle? Are you willing to take the responsibility of being a murderer?

Your question that "they are the ones who are causing the problem" is short-sighted. Did you think you are the reason it is deteriorating? Are your actions and words mitigating it? If you have the gun would you want to silence them, aren't they doing the same? Are you any better than those murderers?

We have to question our inhumanity, can we justify killing in any shape and form. Killing one human is like killing the whole humanity says the Torah and Quran, the whole world is one family adds the Bhagvad Gita and Jesus says Love thy enemy. Why the heck are we abandoning our own teachings? These teachings should not be resisted because they are religious, instead think of the goodness religion brings to every one us.

One's language determines if one is a peace maker or yet to become one. If one is loaded with sewer in the tummy, bad smells comes out of his mouth or the pen. So we need to monitor ourselves; do my words and actions mitigate the conflict or aggravate it? What is the outcome I want, and how are my words and actions geared to achieve that. Let’s be the change we want to be as Mahatma Gandhi puts it.

As nations, it is our duty to keep law and order and faithfully guard the safety of every citizen. Hate is one of the many sources of disrupting the peace in a society and it is our responsibility to track down the source of such hate and work on mitigating it. We have an obligation to maintain a balance in the society. When we are at peace, we can generate peace and we can expect peace around us.

Mary Ann Thompson-Frenk of Memnosyne Foundation adds, we have to be conscious cultural co- creators of the change we desire. Eboo Patel shares that while other people are spending their time derailing peace and societal balance, we have to focus on matching or exceeding goodness. Prophet Muhammad had said, the only way to combat evil is overwhelming goodness. He even prayed for people who were hurting him, because he believed in invoking the goodness in others. Jesus said, love thy enemy, to which I add, our role in the world as peace makers or religious persons ought is to mitigate conflicts and nurture good will for peace and security of each one of us.

Religion has never been the problem or source of conflict, although some of us find it convenient to ascribe the problems to it, that ain't going to absolve us of the responsibility. It is the individual who drives people into wars, hate and destruction. The verbal wars of Bush and Ahmedinejad escalated the issue and have flared up the conflicts. If the idiots had resorted to fact finding, instead of showing off who is the greater bully; had they employed responsbility in figuring how to mitigate conflicts, the world would have been different today. If these guys can believ in one iota of their religion, they will be fine men. It is still not too late to stop the fiction that is added to it every day. If every one understands his own religion, problems fade and solutions would emerge.

If one is a peaceful and a loving person, only good things will come out of him/her. One needs to guard him or herself and find cures for storing hatred inside and finding a dump for hate. You cannot have peace outside, if your inside is not. Peace begins with you and I (Len Ellis, Dallas Peace Center).

The debate about freedom of speech perhaps exists from the day the society evolved with at least two people interacting. Ultimately freedom is the right thing, the Tsunamis will wash off, but the freedom prevails. Curbing freedom would have kept the world under wraps; women would not have had the freedom, the slavery would have continued, men would have continued to abuse the women and children, industries would have prospered on the sweat and blood of people, and you would have been a victim of it in one form or the other.

Freedom of speech should not be curbed; there have been times that the short term temptation to bring short term peace sounds right.

Freedom should be gauged in terms of individual freedom but tied to law and order at large. Hate speech intentionally disturbs law and order, incites people and as such it should be treated like a murder, a bomb, or a riot. However, one should not be made responsible for his intention, but the consequence of his actions.

Freedom is good, let it prevail.
The gains of curbing are short-term;
The temptations to clamp down may not be evil,
but let the free market find its own balance

Just watched a good youtube on freedom

Mike Ghouse is a thinker, writer speaker and an activist of pluralism, interfaith, co-existence, peace, Islam and India. He is a frequent guest at the TV, radio and print media offering pluralistic solutions to issues of the day. His websites and Blogs are listed on http://www.mikeghouse.net/

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  1. Mike,

    This article of yours is phenomenal and I immensely enjoyed reading it. I subscribe to your notions of religion, peace and freedom and hope that one day we can truly achieve all 3 as human beings.


  2. GhouseAs the people of Kashmir, India and Pakistan, we need to see the long term effects of any solution. We need to face the issue with guts - guts to see different points of view without accusing and slandering the other.

    1) If a plebiscite goes for independent Kashmir, the politicians of both nations won't let them live in peace. Kashmir will be raped by every GD nation on the earth, our own America will mess up it up in its game against the Russians, and the Saudi may turn them fundamentalists with their monies. Ultimately the Kashmiri people’s suffering may become eternal.

    2) If they opt for Pakistan - the Kashmiris would loose out, the BJP extremists will mess up the internal order of India, they have demonstrated that rule of law is of no significance to them; they will f’up the nation with anti-Muslim tirades and then the whole nation will burn. No one will be happy.... Read More

    3) If they opt for India, and give a referendum to the existing LOC as the international boundary, a sacrifice they have to make for their land be divided between Pakistan, China and India for a better future for their people.

    Peace and prosperity for them as a people continues, their relationship will continue in three lands unhindered as the political conflict comes to end.

  3. Gargi, as you may have, I have, quite extensive web of relations with the Pakistani, Kashmiri and of course Indias, my lot. As individuals there is very little hate or dislike towards each other, except of course the few extremists.

    But in groups, some pretend to take a different public stand than what they otherwise stand for. We need to bring a reconcilation within ourselves - our public and private stand should be the same.

  4. RehmanKhurram bhai, why should India throw out Kashmiris? It is for Kashmiris to either understand the principles on which India is based or find a new home for their anarchic desires. India is for all secular and peaceful people. If it is not acceptable to anyone, they are free to leave the country.

  5. RR
    India belongs to every one of her inhabitants. No one has more rights than the other. To think one can tell the other to walk is dangerous and borders on fascism. The world would shrink with that attitude; no Indian in America, No Gujaratis in Punjab, no Keralites in Bengal... Vasudaiva Kutumbukum, one nation under God, we are all one people… religions cry out loud to bring peace to humanity. We need to listen to our own religion.

    The Rednecks in America will tell the same to Indians and other immigrants to go back to their country…. And I am surprised that you made this statement “India is for all secular and peaceful people. If it is not acceptable to anyone, they are free to leave the country.” RR, no one has that right to say to the other. Can I say the same to you? What gives me the authority to say that to you?

  6. Viji,

    I did not call you a fascist by any means. Your name certainly sound like an inclusivist.

    Every human has a right to the land he breathes from its air, drinks its water from and feeds on its grains. Land is the roots for the person that is raised on. The rich hertigage of India anchors in Pluralism. Nature has intentionally created diversity in matter and life. No two humans are alike. If we can learn to respect the otherness of other, and accept the Genetic and nurtured uniqueness of each of us, in our case 1.1 Billion Indians, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.... Read More

    Fascism is the attitude of excluding people who differ, the statement to tell others to go elsewhere borders on fascism. No one should have that right in any society.

  7. Democracts attack on Goldstone Report

    Are the Jews afraid of facing the truth


  8. Shame on the congressmen and women and the Senators of the United States, don't they have the GD guts to speak their conscience?

    In the long haul, the biggest enemies of Israel are these greedy men and women who are letting Hawks of Israel get away from murders and massacres and compromise peace and security of Israel and the Palestine for a long time to come.

    Justice is the only thing that is sustainable, the short term (in terms of Jewish history) gains for bullying the congressmen and women and getting the US to veto the UN Security resolutions is going to hurt the Israelis common people. The idiots have been doing this for 60 years, it is time to wake up and speak up if not evil persists the Neocons.

    Our American arrogance has no limits, the world votes one way and we the other. It is this attitudes that sets us one who don't care for justice, all the congress and senate cares is who funds them.

  9. The question is whether Muslim minorities whether in Thailand,Philipines,India are ready to live with the available SO CALLED FREEDOM IN INDIA,PAKISTAN OR INDEPENDENT KASHMIR( an option NOT available to them as per present scheme of things).
    A Pakistan government has to withdraw from its Azad Kashmir,baltistan area to have a genuine plebiscite.
    But if Kashmiries opt for Pakistan, how it will affect Indian Muslims left in India.during partition, the Muslims got 25% of territory for 25% of population.But it is India's generosity that more than the present population of Pakistan of Indian Muslims were allowed to live in India and lead a life as EQUAL CITIZENS.Whatever India;'s fault line, they prefer to live in India than in Pure Pakistan. NOT single indian Muslim ran to Pakistan during godhra riots inspite of common border. THEY RAN TO MUMBAI OR EVEN DISTANT CALCUTTA BUT NOT TO PURE PAKISTAN.
    Again Pakistan feels that in spite of Muslim Majority area , Kashmir has been wrongly given to India by King of Kashmir and Sheikh abdullah.(It is another matter the Hindu King of Kashmir was scheming with Britishers to have an independent Kashmir).
    Pakistan is not ready to accept SHIMLA ACCORD as it is Unequal being enforced on defeated nation as per its Army which runs its foreign policy.
    Now the US is scheming for Independent kashmir for its machinations but the mayuhem which will follow in subcontinent is NOT one can visulaise.