Friday, January 08, 2010

The Truth is the Truth- but Whose Truth is True?

Until reading this article about the Muslim protesters who called British soldiers murderers, I have not really had a view on the case. I don't think British soldiers should be described as murderers. They act on the orders of their officers and are sent to war by the government. If anybody, it is they who should be the object of Muslim wrath. On the other hand, we are supposed to be a free country, and if we take away one person or group of people's freedom to demonstrate, we endanger the freedoms of everybody. But, they have chosen to live in Britain and should accept our way of life and foreign policy. But we can't expect everybody to give up all aspects of their beliefs and culture... and so the arguments could go on, a swing one way and then another.

In this enlightening article, Munim Abdul claims their behaviour was not threatening, abusive or likely to cause offence, because it was the truth. He went on to claim : "If it's the truth then there's no way they would find it upsetting" and "It's like calling a paedophile a paedophile, that's what he is."

That is where I took the view he and the six other defendants were wrong, morally if not legally. There are many things we are restricted from doing and saying, even though they may be or we may perceive them to be truths. For example, Mr. Abdul has a darker skin than I do. In Britain, we have a very specific law that prevents me from discriminating against Mr. Abdul, or from abusing him based on the very real truth that his skin is a different colour to mine. So arguing abuse is not abuse because it is the truth is at best very weak. It could also be very dangerous if this claim is upheld by a British court, because allowing a defence in this case on the basis that the abuse was truthful would allow a racist to use a similar defence.


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