Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Why #IStandWithBaharMustafa

Bahar Mustafa a student "diversity officer" of Goldsmiths University is now meant to appear at Bromley magistrates court on 5th November on the charge of sending a "threatening communication".

According to this article from The Guardian she specifically faces two charges:

"One is sending a communication conveying a threatening message between 10 November 2014 and 31 May 2015. The second is for sending a grossly offensive message via a public communication network between 10 November 2014 and 31 May 2015."

In addition, the article states that a spokesman from The Metropolitan police in London said in a statement:

A woman interviewed under caution regarding a complaint of racially motivated malicious communication made on a social media network has been summonsed to court.

 She came into notoriety earlier this year, where she barred white people and men from attending a student protest against racism and inequality (ironic, I know), explaining the event was only for "BME woman and non-binary people". However she really got her into controversy when she posted the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen on social media which lead her to being accused of racism. (by the way she posted another tweet calling someone "white trash")

After she got a backlash for this ludicurous and patronising policy she then tried to justify it by stating; "I can't be racist if I'm an ethnic minority" because "racism and sexism describes structures of privilege based on race and gender" therfore "women of colour and minority genders cannot be racist or sexist because we do not stand to benefit from such a system".

This excuse is obviously piffle, especially as she is a white woman of Turkish extraction, a postgraduate and a a full-time student union officer at the quite bourgeois Goldsmith’s College in London. I really doubt Bahar hasn't benefited from the system or that she is high on the oppressed minority food chain.

Bahar belongs to a very censorious, authoritarian and regressive part of the left, who seek to act like the thought police and enforce the ordinances of political correctness on student campuses in the name of "equality and diversity". Let us not forget, Goldsmith University whom she works for, is the same place where feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite had a gig cancelled after members from the Feminist society threatened to disrupt the event over disagreements with her views on decriminalising prostitution.

It would be too easy for me to gloat and laugh at the irony of this. Though, truthfully it is very tempting. "Justice has been served", "Karma is a bitch", "What goes around, comes around". Pick your favourite cliche comrades!

However this reminds me of a quote by Christopher Hitchens in his famous speech on Freedom of Expression where he said of those who seek to restrict Free speech that they "in potentia make a rod for their own back". Since ultimately we have no Sanhedrin or divine will that can definitively tell us what ideas we can or cannot think or express.

I'm not a lawyer (yet) so I can't speak to the exact details of the case or cast a definitive judgement as to whether she is innocent or guilty of breaking the specific law.

However, I am very worried that there is this precedent of people being taken to the courts and even put in prison by the state for simply making comments that are deemed to be "offensive", "obscene" or "indecent". I personally do not believe it is a matter for the law to deal with the intellectual excrement that occasionally reveals itself on Twitter and other forms of social media.

This is an opportunity for Free speech advocates to really grab the moral high ground and defend freedom of speech, even for racialist, authoritarian cranks like Bahar Mustafa. Firstly, because freedom of speech is so vital for a free society and we should always be skeptical of attempts to limit freedom of speech especially when it's done in the name of "niceness" or "decency". It is also more crucial in this year of 2015 which has been a disaster for freedom of speech on all fronts worldwide.

Secondly, it would reveal to Bahar and her ideological allies that freedom of speech is not a left or right issue. It is simply a core universal value you are either for or against and there is no compromise on it. If Bahar can be hurled before a judge and potentially go to prison for tweets she posted, then I could be in that same situation aswell.

I stand with Bahar Mustafa and defend her express her wrong opinions freely. I doubt she would do the same for me but I hope this does teach her a very valuable lesson in reciprocation.

So, comrades I invite you also to stand with Bahar Mustafa. Even reluctantly so.

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