Seriously, stop poking the bear

Editor, the Gauntlet

[Re: “Poking a bear in the face with a stick,” Editorial, February 9, 2006]

With regards to “Poking a bear in the face with a stick” last week, it appears that Ray Bradbury’s cautionary tale of Fahrenheit 451 is coming true, but with a healthy dose of hypocrisy too.

Universities are supposed to be among the bastions of free speech. They are places where people should feel free to say whatever they want to whomever, leaving it up to the subject to decide what they should listen to or believe. But last week the editors backed away from a cartoon which Islam calls blasphemy because they were afraid it might make someone angry. Yet it was okay to declare that the CBC would be right to predict that newspapers in “the east” (ie: central Canada) would lack the good judgment to avoid such a faux pas, but they were wrong to assume an Alberta university newspaper would make such a mistake. Furthermore, while refusing to print an offending cartoon, the author compares Muslims to wild bears, and equates the publishing of a cartoon to physical violence.

In your attempt to avoid one offense, the editors have perpetrated two offenses, and demonstrated that freedom of speech is not, after all, alive and well at the University of Calgary.

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