Friday, March 31, 2006

LABI SIFFRE'S SPEECH

The surprise appearance of Labi Siffre at last Saturday's March was the highlight for many. You can read the full transcript of his speech here.

A short extract:
It matters little that something is true, or not
till someone says you must live a certain way
because they believe something is true, or not

The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw has said, "There is freedom of speech, we all respect that. But there is not any obligation to insult or to be gratuitously inflammatory. We have to be very careful about showing the proper respect.

Well, I say, not all beliefs are worthy of respect. Racist beliefs, homophobic beliefs, sexist beliefs, beliefs claiming the inferiority of the disabled, and claims to knowledge of the existence of a God, none of these are worthy of respect.

I reject the craven philosophies:
“I am sincere ... so I must be right”
and “I am offended ... so you must stop”.

When someone says, “I know God exists and so, you must behave in a certain way: that is offensive, insulting, inflammatory and unworthy of respect. But I would not campaign to ban their right to proclaim their beliefs, no matter how offensive I judge those beliefs to be.

I stand here able to speak in this way because a lot of people, many of whom would not have approved of me, died, so that I could have the right of “freedom of expression”. I have a duty to defend that right they gave their lives for.
Enjoy the weekend!

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