Thursday, December 16, 2010

No free speech in French territory

AP reports:
FORT-DE-FRANCE, Martinique (AP) - A court has found an 84-year-old businessman guilty of condoning a crime against humanity for praising slavery during a TV interview and sentenced him Wednesday to pay a fine of nearly $10,000.

Alain Despointes made the comments at a moment when the French Caribbean territory was convulsed by protests over high prices and low wages and by resentment that the primarily white, "beke" descendants of slaveholders control much of the local economy. ...

"Historians exaggerated the problems a bit. They talk above all about the bad aspects of slavery," he said in the documentary. "But there were good aspects, too ... There were colonizers who were very humane with their slaves."
All human behavior has good and bad aspects. France makes it a crime to state an obvious truth.

The consequence of such laws is that people of Mantinique will conclude that there were good aspects to slavery that they are not allowed to learn for political reasons. They are likely to suspect that slavery was better than it actually was.

Where I live, a protester can get kicked out of a public meeting for giving a Nazi salute, that is being reconsidered:
SANTA CRUZ - An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed an earlier ruling from the court, ordering a trial judge to reconsider Robert Norse's free-speech lawsuit against the city of Santa Cruz.

Norse, a longtime City Council agitator and advocate for the rights of homeless people, claims his free speech protections were violated when he was ejected from a City Council meeting in 2002 after raising a Nazi salute. Norse was arrested for disrupting the meeting and refusing to leave, although the charges were later dropped.
Among some people, calling your political opponent a Nazi is considered an acceptable debate tactic.

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