It Would Have Been Better To Have Never Published At All: British Magazine Retreats In Abject Fear
Politics magazine the Liberal has followed the Spectator in publishing then hastily withdrawing from its website one of the controversial Danish cartoons featuring the prophet Muhammad.
The independent title, which played a prominent role in the campaign to oust former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy by organising a petition, yesterday published a cartoon on its website alongside an editorial calling for free speech.
Senior police officers at Scotland Yard warned the magazine its staff could not be guaranteed protection from possible protests, after which the cartoon was pulled from the Liberal’s website and replaced by a large white square with the word “censored” placed over it.
Following the withdrawal of the cartoon, Ben Ramm, the magazine’s editor, announced on the website: “Despite our wishes and convictions, for reasons of safety the magazine will no longer carry the cartoon itself.”
In an earlier online editorial accompanying the publication of the cartoon, Mr Ramm had taken a strong line in support of free speech. “[The Liberal] will not be coerced into self-censorship by the threat of violence from those who use a platform of free speech to call for the destruction of the very system that enfranchises them,” he wrote.
George Orwell said, "People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
I guess maybe The Liberals of our world might start understanding why we need a big fucking military, with a bunch of burly, unsensitive testosterone machines schlepping all over the world threatening to kill people.
To stand up and say you are ready to defend free speech, and then to sit right back down when you are told to shut your mouth is quite an example there, Mr. Ramm. Thanks for the help.
UPDATE: Von Schlict writes,
I applaud Mr. Ramm. At least he tried.
Were I told by the police that the safety of my co-workers and the safety of my family could not be assured - I would think twise as well.
Living in hiding as Mr. Rushdie is not easy.
I think Von Schlict has a point here. Maybe I have gone too far in my criticism. What does everybody think? Should I amend the post?