Originally from https://tyij.wordpress.com/
There are many things that make this country great. The Freedom Of Speech is but one of them, yet what an integral and essential and wonderful one it is. There is of course an irony with this freedom, in that at times we have to listen to things we find offensive and threatening.
The greater irony lies with the current BDS and SJP movements so popular on college campuses. As students chant Sharia Law and cheer Hamas, they fail to realize that a similar debate in the countries or areas they put on a pedestal would result in their silence, their deaths… by stoning or being set on fire. Their freedoms to say what they want and to criticize a government would be met with the swift hand of injustice… and perhaps even a left-handed backswing. Ironic. Sad.
Anti-Semitism is alive and well in Europe and has been for quite some time. Dangerously, it is getting worse. I have friends who could not get married in a restaurant in France because one of them was Jewish. This was years ago. More recently, some family of a friend of mine said that the anti-Jewish tone and situations in Belgium were as bad as pre-World War II. People are genuinely scared.
Now stories coming out of UCLA, Stanford, UC Davis, UC Irvine, University of Chicago and possibly my own alma mater, Northwestern, show how far the hatred is going and how genuinely terrified many Jewish students are.
“If you prick us do we not bleed?
If you tickle us, do we not laugh?
If you poison us, do we not die?”
William Shakespeare – The Merchant Of Venice
Obviously there is a lot more in this quote, both before and after this passage… but it speaks volumes as to what is going on in the world.
People have the freedom to say almost whatever they want, unless it is a call to violence or murder. If they want to lie, they can… and way too often it is done on the front page of the New York Times, on the air by the BBC or in way too many news media outlets to discuss. No one is saying that Israel is without fault, but when history is rewritten, when propaganda and PR are shouted instead of accuracy and truth, when the condemnation of a country becomes a call to arms against a religion, silence is no long an option.
And yes, the very same argument can be used in discussing Islam.
We must be specific with our words.
We must be cautious.
We MUST speak the truth and the whole truth.
In a world where news is immediate and electronic, the truth does not seem to matter much anymore. Speed and being first seems to be the call of the day. Shoot first, issue a small correction on page 42 later.
He who shouts first and loudest is usually regarded as the truth bearer. Retractions are never uttered or printed with the same velocity, volume or size… They are buried, quiet…
And so we begin to see the true costs of silence, especially in a country where the freedom of speech is free. All the words we want are at our disposal… on the tips of our tongues, or the tips of our fingers.
Speak, write, share…
What we ask of our friends is that you speak up if you see or hear anti-Semitism or any kind of hatred. Please do not write this off as something that does not affect you… something that only a minority is saying… that only crazy people are saying… that only people on the fringe are saying.
It hurts. We are scared. We are confused. And we need to hear from you.
What we ask is that you educate yourself to the truth… the facts… and protect them with your words, your voice… with your support.
What we ask is that you make sure we are okay when someone utters words of hate, because while it may not hurt you directly, it causes us great pain, fear and damage.
“Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us.”
In theory, perhaps there is some truth in that, but in reality, words can devastate. Words can break apart a marriage.
Words can break apart a friendship.
Words can destroy many things.
And words often lead to actions, and these actions are often filled with fury and hate and violence.
When words are one-sided…
When words are shouted…
When words are printed in big, bold headlines, or used as Breaking News, too often THOSE words become the truth, become the reality, whether they are or they are not.
Words are free. You have so many of them you can use, so why not speak up and speak as loudly as those who are hurting you, hurting your family, hurting your friends?
Words can protect.
Words can correct.
Words can diffuse.
Words can heal.
Words can save a marriage.
Words can save a friendship.
Words can save many things.
Words can save the world.
Words can open up a dialogue, a discussion, a debate and thus words are the true basis of Democracy and freedom.
Words must be exchanged.
Words must be shared.
Words must go back and forth.
Words are a terrible thing to waste!
Silence is a waste of freedom.
Silence is truly death.
To those who think this is not affecting you… that you don’t want to get involved… that your life is good and safe and there is no need to make a fuss. What happens when this hits closer to home? Will you stand up then? And will there be anyone left to help protect you?
The Nazis did not just kill Jews; they killed Gypsies and homosexuals, Russians and those who did not support them. They ravaged Europe, destroyed so many. They left millions and millions dead, because voices were silent, both before and of course after.
Hitler’s words and rallies were but the beginning… systematically put into action. So to say that words have no value, that words don’t matter is both naïve and dangerous.
Iran says it will destroy Israel. The creation of Hamas is based on the words that Israel does not have the right to exist. These are political conversations to have another time.
But students painting swastikas on Jewish frats… shouting death to Jews… Sharia Law… Intifada… Hamas…
These are conversations we MUST have now.
So speak up, speak loudly, speak the truth.
For the true cost of the Freedom Of Speech is in NOT using it.