Friday, January 11, 2008

Rex Murphy: Human Rights Gone Awry

Rex Murphy comments on the recent barrage of "human rights" complaints. It's a rare occasion when CBC broadcasts a speech in defense of the common sense and freedom of speech, yet surprisingly they allowed Rex to express his opinion. I was unable to download and post the video itself so I'm posting some of the transcript.
More currently, I associate real human rights advocacy with the case of a young Saudi woman, who very recently was repeatedly gang-raped - and then she – the victim - charged and sentenced by a Saudi court to 200 lashes and six months in jail for being in a car with a male not her relative. The sentence, after international protest, was voided --- but that young woman’s case represents a real example of the violation of basic human rights.

What I do not associate with this deep and noble concept is getting ticked off by something you read in a magazine - or for that matter hear on television - and then scampering off to a handful - well, three - of Canada's proliferate human rights commissions - seeking to score off the magazine: this is what four Osgoode Hall law students and graduates --- a very definition of the 'marginalized' --- under the banner of the Canadian Islamic Congress have done after reading an excerpt from Mark Steyn's America Alone in Maclean’s. The complainants read the article as “flagrantly islamophobic”.
But where does the BC Human Rights Commission, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Canadian Human Rights Commission come into this picture? Has anyone been publicly whipped? Has someone or some group been hauled off to a gulag? Is there a race frenzy sweeping the land?

Why is any human rights commission inserting itself between a magazine, a television show, a newspaper and the readers or viewers? Is every touchy, or agenda-driven sensibility now free to call upon the offices of the state and free of charge - to them - not their targets - to embroil them in "justifying" their right to write and broadcast as they see fit? The Western Standard magazine, during the so-called Danish cartoon crisis got hauled before the Alberta Human Rights Commission for publishing the cartoons that all the world was talking about. The action drained the magazine’s resources - but it was free to the complainant.

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