Tuesday, February 01, 2005

AFTER READING KIERAN HEALY'S amusing post about Michelle Malkin's eagerness to accuse "left-wing" bloggers of ignoring the Iraqi elections -- before the day was half over -- I was inspired to read some more of Malkin's blog. I had avoided it before, as I had avoided reading her poisonous book, In Defense of Internment: The Case for "Racial Profiling" -- why add to her hits or sales figures?

But I'm glad I took a look, because it really is satisfying to nail these fascistas with their blazing hypocrisy. Case in point: Malkin approvingly quotes a Cuban-American blogger on the evils of Fidel Castro:

A couple of men walking home in Cuba get arrested for "hanging out in a tourist zone" and I am here in exile telling fidel castro to kiss my ass.

Somewhere on that island, in quite a few somewheres actually, there are independent journalists and librarians rotting away in castro's gulags simply because they attempted to do exactly what I do here on this blog.

Freedom is a beautiful thing, folks. Take it in. Hold it. Embrace it. Bask in it. Revel in it. Not everyone is blessed with it.
Yes, certainly the 120,000 or so U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry who suffered in concentration camps for nothing more than their national origin were not "blessed with" freedom. Or the thousands of Arabs and Muslims captured in mass, indiscriminate sweeps in Afghanistan and Iraq and detained in places like Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib for 3 years now with no charges, no evidence, no right to confront their accusers, and no access to attorneys -- I would imagine they do not feel "blessed with" freedom.

As for Cuban men getting arrested for being in a "tourist zone": I'm sure that the American antiwar protesters who have been arrested all over the United States for exercising their right to free speech outside of the specific fenced-in pens set aside for dissenting speech can identify with those Cuban men. Probably the Americans who were kicked out of pro-Bush rallies for their clothing (antiwar t-shirts) or what they were carrying (antiwar signs) would have a lot of sympathy for those Cubans. Not to mention the Miller family, who were told to leave a pro-Bush rally because they were carrying NARAL pro-choice t-shirts. Imagine the gall of trying to symbolically express support for the constitutional right to abortion at a rally for the president who promised to uphold the Constitution!

But I agree with Voltaire that "I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" -- so, in that spirit, I am going to post a link here to the American Library Association's Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users. Ms. Malkin might want to pass this information on to her Cuban blogger friend. Since the Patriot Act was passed shortly after 9/11, librarians in the United States have developed much expertise in what to do if an FBI or a CIA agent demands that a librarian hand over patrons' book-borrowing records. I'm sure they would be happy to know that people in other countries where free speech is restricted are benefiting from their experience.

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