Friday, July 11, 2008

Free-dom/doom of Speech....

The 4th of July is celebrated every year as the Independence Day in the US. This day is marked by celebrations, usual patriotism and fanfare and a jovial mood is there in the air. But this year when President Bush was offering a speech marking 232 years since the adoption of the declaration of independence at Thomas Jefferson's famous home, Monticello, not everyone was in a festive mood. It was the annual naturalization ceremony, in which Bush welcomed seventy-six men and women from 30 countries to the land of opportunities. He was interrupted several times by protesters.

"War criminal!" one protester repeatedly yelled.

"He has brought fascism to this shore," another man yelled.

The President did not seem to be in any mood to acknowledge these protesters. He mentioned neither the war in Iraq nor the battle against terrorism in his entire speech, other than to say that "we pay tribute to the brave men and women who wear the uniform." At one point the president told, "To my fellow citizens-to-be, we believe in free speech in the United States of America."

As one of the protesters screeched, she was escorted out by Secret Service members. But the question is why was that done ? Just a couple of minutes back, President Bush, had told that the nation believes in free speech. Did the protesters express something really derogatory in front of the crowd? The answer to this may be a 'Yes' or a 'No'.

If 'Yes', then

I don't understand what was so disparaging about the remark. President Bush, is definitely intelligent enough to understand what 'freedom of speech' means. And that criticism in any format, unless it is violent and is marked by physical assault or attack falls within the ambit of freedom of speech.

Else if 'No', then

The message that President Bush sends is that those at the helm of power and politics, be it politicians or policemen, have a very low threshold of tolerance for criticism. They will hit back with their own ways or get one arrested.

End of argument.

See there are lot of similarities between programming and politics :). Just that active criticism makes one a better programmer but the same act puts an adhesive label on one's mouth in the later domain. Now the way Bush handled the situation is nothing unique to his land, the same demeanor can be seen world over by all those in seats of power and authority.

Now I guess each one of us in India would have seen the Sprite cool drink AD which had a catchy punchline, 'dikhawe pe na jao, apni akal lagao'. Don't you feel with a bit of visual massaging, the Youtube video can fit into this bracket.

How? someone-talks-of-free-speech-and-then-next-moment-a-person-is-arrested. Need I say more, I know you got it. Copyrights for this idea is RC's, well can give the same to President Bush as he is the central character in the video ;). And and and my desi AD geniuses, who recently rocked at the Cannes Lions 2008 winning 23 lions, are you listening too. Can we knit a sooper cool AD out of this ?

Keep reading and remain connected.

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