“Your freedom ends where my nose begins.” Over many years, one has heard various permutations of this quote which have been attributed to various people, including Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Wendell Holmes, and the American judicial philosopher and civil libertarian and great advocate of free speech Zechariah Chafee Jr., who was described by the xenophobic Senator Joseph McCarthy as “dangerous’ to the United States (source: the Blog Eternal Vigilance — Posted on November 14, 2013 by ‘Richard’).
The same blog tells us: “In June 1919 the Harvard Law Review published an article by Zechariah Chafee, Jr. titled ‘Freedom of Speech in War Time’ and it contained a version of the expression spoken by an anonymous judge. In the case, each side takes the position of the man who was arrested for swinging his arms and hitting another in the nose, and asked the judge if he did not have a right to swing his arms in a free country. ‘Your right to swing your arms ends just where the other man’s nose begins.’”
Which is exactly what my buddy Arif Aziz’s Tai Chi instructor in Rancho Cucamonga, California, said to him a day after the Texas shooting of the two idiotic jihadists who wanted to attack the poisonous Pamela Geller’s exhibition of our Holy Prophet Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him)’s cartoons in Garland, Texas, on May 3, 2015.
“Geller’s rise to stardom as the queen of anti-Muslim activism is amplified by her international influence and well-funded network of Islamophobes around the world,” so says Courtney Subramanian in The Daily Beast of May 4, 2015. Now then, whilst there are rumours aplenty as to who funds this woman, it is not of any concern to us: what is of concern to people of good faith and love for others, is that some people, few though they are in number, would subscribe to what she portrays as upholding ‘free speech’.
As an aside, as this woman goes about her mad quest to sow discord among Islam and other religions, the Mayor of Garland, Texas, has come out with a statement just a day ago, and four days after the dastardly attack: “Mayor Douglas Athas said he wished Ms Geller, co-founder and president of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, hadn’t picked Garland as the site for Sunday’s event, the Dallas Morning News reported.
“Certainly in hindsight, we as a community would be better off if she hadn’t,” he told the paper. “Her actions put my police officers, my citizens and others at risk. Her programme invited an incendiary reaction. She picked my community, which does not support in any shape, passion or form, her ideology.” “But at the end of the day, we did our jobs,” he added. “We protected her freedoms and her life.”
Absolutely correct. As Arif’s American friends point out, Geller who is from New York deliberately chose a deeply Republican Texas town for her antics which might have not been welcome in the liberal city of New York. It is sad to see simple good Americans fall prey to people like Geller. Let me immediately say that I am one who was taught from childhood to refer to all prophets with the utmost respect. For example, the Virgin Mary was always Hazrat Mariam Alaihis Salam (The Prophet Mary, may peace be upon her); Jesus Christ, Hazrat Isa Alaihis Salam (The Prophet Jesus, may peace be upon him); David, Hazrat Daud Alaihis Salam (The Prophet David, may peace be upon him); and so for Abraham (Hazrat Ibrahim); and for Moses (Hazrat Musa).
Before I go on, let me explain why I called those two jihadists ‘idiots’. Because one such as I look upon the great prophets, most of all the Prophet of Islam (Peace Be Upon Him) with the greatest respect and awe, and anything slighting him would not take away at all from my respect for him, if anything I would believe in him more seeing people like Geller foam at the mouth day in and day out in living colour. I would never take the bait that she and her ilk might throw at me.
I am now going to make a much-debated point about freedom of speech but wish to say at the very outset that I fully believe in the Holocaust and in the fact that the cruel and mad psychopath Adolf Hitler and his equally cruel and mad henchmen and collaborators did indeed cause the terrible deaths of millions of Jews; many thousands of Gypsies, and other minority groups, children, old folk; no exceptions made. I wish to say here that my third-best friend in my Japan days in the very early ’80s, was Jewish and he told me stories of his own family’s travails: I will never forget David Hoech and his generosity of spirit, and his lovely Japanese family. I empathise most completely with what happened in Europe.
Neither am I an admirer of British historian David Irving who was jailed in Austria for ‘denying’ the Holocaust and despite apologising and saying he had recanted, was jailed for three years. But, where was this hero of free speech, this Geller, when it came to Irving? Or is ‘free speech’ only limited to vilifying the prophet of Islam (Peace Be Upon Him)? If she is such a heroine for ‘free speech’ why was she not there defending Irwing? Indeed, why does she even now not come out with a clear statement that she and her band of ‘free-speechers’ demand Austria and other countries, which have these Holocaust denial laws on their statute books remove them because they are anti-free speech?
She won’t, will she? Because the agenda is different. Is it not?
I only say to Muslims: do not be upset at the rantings of this woman described in her own blog as: “Fearless, intelligent, beautiful — Pamela Geller wears her Supergirl costume well.”
I ask you!
Published in The Express Tribune, May 8th, 2015.
Like Opinion & Editorial on Facebook, follow @ETOpEd on Twitter to receive all updates on all our daily pieces.