Germany's conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday led political and arts world uproar at the scrapping of a Mozart opera that features the head of the prophet Mohammed rolling across the stage.
The performances were cancelled amid fears the scene could trigger violence among the nation’s Muslim community.
But Mrs Merkel denounced "self-censorship out of fear" as unacceptable, reflecting a mood of national indignation that was not limited to the arts set but cut right across all social lines.
Bravo to Ms. Merkel. Fear can paralyze a civilization, if the citizens of that civilization allow themselves to succumb to it. And from this move, it appears that she recognizes this.
In a world where many Christians must endure the thought of Madonna and Kanye West mocking a crucifixion in the name of free speech, why should Muslims be exempt from having to learn to turn the other cheek and ignore what they may deem as offensive?
Now, I am not a fan of purposely setting out to offend anyone, Muslim or otherwise. But, I am also for the freedom of expression (whether I agree with it or not) and I am against having one group holding an entire society hostage, because they think something is inappropriate. The fear of a backlash should never be the guiding principle in what can and cannot be expressed. When that happens, fear takes over and paralyzes.
As an individual, I always try to think out ahead of time, if my words are going to hurt someone personally. As a result I pick and choose my words as carefully as (possible) to not insult individuals, personally. But I will be damned if I allow someone to dictate or use the fear of retaliation and/or intimidation to silence my opinions, on a macro level. I will never allow myself to hold back in my criticisms of faulty ideologies that dupe some of the masses and cause them to believe lies.
And from what I gather in this article, Ms. Merkel feels this way, too. So, to her I say again, bravo and will add the call for an encore.