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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Friday, February 25, 2005

Swastika Ban Shelved

After my confidant prediction of a Swastika ban despite the resistance of a number of member states, I was proven wrong by the news today.
A discussion on whether to ban Nazi and other racist symbols at the EU level was shelved on Thursday (24 February) after member states failed to reach agreement.
A commenter on this site even called it a rare example of freedom winning in the EU. Could this be so? Unfortunately not.
EU justice ministers meeting in Brussels decided to put a halt to the debate fearing that it would lead to a further delay of an EU law combating racism and xenophobia, which has been stuck in the legislative pipelines since 2003.
The ban on Nazi symbols was shelved not on grounds of freedom of speech, but rather to enable the passage of a bill that places much more severe restrictions on speech.
The proposed law says that member states should make punishable "public incitement to discrimination, violence or hatred against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin". It also calls for punishment of "public condoning, denial or gross trivialisation of crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes".
Which raises the question as always, who decides what is public condoning or trivialisation and which crimes against humanity count? It raises the spectre of history by parliament, an idea worthy of Stalin’s Soviet Union. As for public incitement, which groups will get off scot-free for encouraging suicide bombers and which will be imprisoned for their traditional views on morality and religion? I wonder? Free Speech that does not include the right to be insulting, ignorant, controversial and otherwise annoying is not in the slightest bit free.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just because a stupid despot stole a Hindu symbol of wellbeing doesn't make it a racist symbol. By all means stop racism. But respect relegious freedom. All across India and south-east Asia swastika has been used as a relegious symbol long before developement of Christianity. The EU cannot claim relegious freedom while denying Hindus the right to worship while displaying the traditional symbol. If anything Germany ought to pay compensation to Hindus for denigrating a holy symbol by using it for evil purposes.