Quid Rides? De te Fabula Narratur

What are you laughing at? The joke's on you.

Archive for January, 2015

A Turkish Non-Delight: Facebook and Freedom of Speech

Posted by Anthony on January 26, 2015

First, allow me to start off this entry with a blanket statement: I love Turkey. I visited Turkey in 2012, and can honestly tell you that there are very few places in the world I have been that were as enjoyable. For me, it contained the perfect mix of ancient, medieval, and modern along with the fine balance so difficult to find these days of European and Middle-Eastern mixed into one fantastic city: Istanbul. The people are about the best you will find anywhere, the food is excellent, and history is everywhere you step which, to me as an historian, was quite thrilling. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Culture, Europe, Middle East, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

How Much Wealth is Enough?

Posted by Anthony on January 19, 2015

Anti-Poverty charity Oxfam released a report the other day wherein their studies show that by 2016 the wealthiest 1% of the global population will own more than 50% of the wealth. By 2020, that percentage is due to rise to 54%. Whereas the elites have been getting wealthier, the poor of the world have seen a marked drop in the amount of wealth they posses: the same report explains that the bottom 50% has seen their wealth drop by $750 billion in the last four years. This bring us to some interesting observations… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Africa, Americas, Culture, Economics, Europe, Middle East, Politics, South Asia | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A Few Thoughts on Freedom of Speech

Posted by Anthony on January 13, 2015

At the time of this writing, the streets of France are once again quiet (or at least quieter), and the world leaders who had gathered there to express solidarity with the Republic have gone home. Except, of course, for the one glaring omission: who exactly did the United States send again? One cannot seriously make the argument that there was no way to send a high profile individual to represent the States. While it is true that the President most likely could not have gone (President’s don’t usually go on spur of the minute trips because of the immense background work that has to go in to him going pretty much anywhere), but one could have at least expected the Vice-President to go, or perhaps even better to have a former President who is well known for his ability to show compassion for the cameras (yes, it’s Bill Clinton) march arm in arm with those heads of state. A no-show, or rather, a minor-league show just seems in bad taste for the the United States at this critical time.

Discussing this issue with others, I am amused to think back on the Satanic Verses travesty and how that matches up to this current issue. Back then, the majority of the “free world” hammered Mr. Rushdie and even the liberal left came out against him. How dare he create an allegorical story that had a section eerily similar to the foundation tale of Islam! How few were they who stood up for his freedom of speech, for his right to write what he wanted regardless of whom he might offend. Today, thankfully, we do not see the same attitude being shown in the western world: almost to a one, the leadership of Europe has come out in steadfast defense of the right to offend and for freedom of expression. One wonders here if the last thirty years have taken their toll on the desire of those in Europe to stay silent, or at least to beg not to offend. One is perhaps not so afraid of Iran exporting her (now completely discredited) revolution to Shia Muslims worldwide, nor is one apt to back down as much now that the threat of violence has been realized rather than imagined. Whatever the reason, it is refreshing to see from a dozen states and then some the impassioned voices of millions rising up as one in claiming the (yes, I’ll use the term) sacred right to offend, or at the very least to feel one can write/ draw/ say something and not have to worry about being murdered for it. Finally, we may stop blaming the victim here and turn our collective finger in an accusatory fashion at the real villains of this travesty: those who murdered individuals because they wished to silence them.

Finally, a comment on Charlie Hebdo itself: good on them for going ahead and printing a cover with a picture of Muhammad on it. This was really the only feasible reaction: answer back the sword with the pen, a long arm from the grave, and show that although you might be able to kill some people, you will never be able to kill off all voices who cry out for justice against such a heinous act. When Creedy had finished pumping bullets into V, only to have the latter stumble forward and grab him by the neck, he asked him in an almost pleading manner “Why won’t you die!?” V‘s answer, of course, was brief yet eloquent: “Beneath this mask there is more than flesh. Beneath this mask there is an idea, Mr. Creedy, and ideas are bulletproof.”

Indeed they are, and so long as that remains the case we have nothing to fear from these ruffians.

Posted in Culture, Europe, Politics, Religion | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Returning to the Fray…

Posted by Anthony on January 11, 2015

When I had initially begun this blog, it was to be as a repository for my published articles while I was in graduate school and wrote for the Rutgers (Newark) Observer. The idea was that I would put the articles out for consumption in case anything ever happened to the website for the paper, a wise decision in hind-site. I did write a few articles after the fact, but as life often can do to one I found myself flooded with all sorts of distractions and so felt that the time had come to cease my publications here. This would simply be a testimony to my past for anyone who cared to read the articles.

No longer…

The recent events in France involving the massacre of cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo has galvanized me and reminded me of why I began writing in the first place: the need to wield the pen as a weapon against ignorance and violence is as real today as it was when I first started writing this blog almost eight years ago. The assault on freedom of speech and expression has now entered (in fact, it has been going in this direction for a while now) a new phase where the theocratic encroachments on us threaten to render us all mute. This is something up with which I will not put.

So, for those of you who have read this page in the past, I welcome you back. For those of you who will find this page in the future, I welcome you in general. And for those of you who truly and earnestly believe that you can silence a civilization through blood and terror, you have another thing coming…

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »