It's late afternoon on a Thursday and the sun is shining effortlessly behind a smattering of ominous grey clouds, forcing a sharp, silver lining to glisten, ironically, around each silhouette. My dog...
As someone who has always been on the forefront of struggling against violent Islamic extremism in Canada and elsewhere, I have been warning against the use of the term Islamophobia to silence objecti...
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Among the groups that I saw at the Toronto march was a contingent of elementary school teachers. As most people know, the great majority of elementary school teachers everywhere are women. As women, they have experienced more than their fair share of discrimination, pay inequity, and even violence in the workplace. But should teachers have the right to protest and then to bring their views and opinions into their classrooms? It might depend on the views and how they are expressed.
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Continuing the thoughts of my last post, Circling the Wagons,... We all value freedom of speech - but wherein lies the true value? Is it just that we like the ability to give voice to our thoughts an...
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The past week has brought a number of important issues to the forefront -- and many revolve around athletics. So, can we talk about freedom of expression in gym class?
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As the former director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, I have had to stand up for the rights of people I don't like very much, people who say and write things that I had hoped never to hear or read. But I have also taken the opportunity to let them know that, just because I will fight for their right to free expression, I have no intention of respecting what it is they say or represent. I am going to use MY free speech to let the ugly, abusive, and racist people out there know that they are wrong.
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If I were a teacher starting my career, or even in a well-established position, I would be very concerned that any publicly unpopular view I might hold could affect my employment. Even if I never chose to let my students know my views, my public political participation would be deeply chilled.
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What Iranians lived in that time -- what they channeled through their intellectual salons and prison letters, their dreams and childhood memories -- felt to me like an epic novel, replete with calamities and reversals, crescendos and epiphanies, and a sweeping arc of history that cut through its core.
Suddenly, I became aware that this comment thread had opened a window for me into the American ideal of freedom and how virulently many Americans support the First Amendment without any consideration of the violence that hate speech causes. I realized that the concepts of inclusivity, diversity and multiculturalism that I had studied were not the first things on these people's minds. I began to think that these concepts didn't figure into their equation at all.
Freedom of expression has cost my husband, Raif Badawi, his own freedom. As we speak, he is locked inside a small cell in a remote prison in Saudi Arabia; a country where censorship prevails. A country, my country, which views women as second class citizens. A country, my husband's country, that he so loves -- all of its land, its women and men, his love of his country, which extends right up to the doors of Shura, which is set on ruining the aspirations of an entire people. A country where the young are choking in a whisper that should be a scream.
Study editor Fred McMahon says the goal of the index is to measure the degree to which people are free to enjoy classic civil liberties.
So much has been written about the cartoons published in the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But should main stream print media re-publish them? What if children see the images? What then? Or, alternatively, should we actively show them to our children? If we want our children to live in a democratic society, we had better teach them that freedom of expression has two ends to it.
The folks at Charlie Hebdo did. They had the courage to embrace and use their rights to say how they felt. Playing like a loop in my head, was the fact that the shooting at the Paris office of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was the act of absolute cowards. Has society taken for granted the fundamental right of free speech and expression that allows us to voice our opinions? I don't care about religious affiliations, they don't change my opinion. I do, however, care to speak about the freedoms that were so maliciously attacked Wednesday.