A though on Free Speech and “Peace”


“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.”
Eric Arthur Blair or George ORWELL
British novelist and essayist (1903-1950)

“Everybody favours free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground.”
Heywood C. BROUN
U.S. journalist and author (1888-1939)

No one wants to ban speech they agree with. Free speech is a right needed because people in power (be they politicans, solders or protesters) have a tendency to stop those they disagree with from talking.

So, how do you define a peace flotilla trying to deliver aid to a blockaded port?

To me, the same principle applies. “Peaceful” can’t be defined by an attitude, or the actions of a ship traveling through open sea. There is no test of “peaceful intentions” before one arrives at a blockade.

The Israeli solders landed, without lethal arms in their hands. They were overwhelmed by people with knives and heavy sticks, and pipes. One was stabbed.

It now appears that the shooting (at least in one case) came about because the stabbed man was attacked again. In order to save his own life, he pulled out his sidearm and switched from non-lethal to lethal force.

Let’s face it, if someone rushes at you with a knife, and you are pointing a gun at that person, you are going to fire to save your own life. It’s self defense.

The counter-argument from the left is that the solders shouldn’t have been there in the first place, since the blockade (and hence the boarding) is illegal. So they were seeing off trespassers, and had the right to use lethal force.

But that misses the point. This ship was carrying aid, to help people in a peaceful way. They claimed peaceful, humanitarian intentions.

Funny how that was abandoned at the very moment it should have been coming to the fore.

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