What price freedom?
March 25, 2006 7:19 AM   Subscribe

Thoreau did it. Martin Luther King did it. Stephen Biko did it and died. All went to prison for political actions or beliefs. NYT has a profile today of a Muslim cleric in Egypt who has been in an out of prison for his activity in the Muslim Brotherhood, spurred by his devotion to Islam. Though we may not agree with his politics, he represents a strength of devotion to his cause not seen in this country since the Civil Rights struggle of the 50's and 60's or the Vietnam war protests of the 70's. In my most paranoid and self-dramatic moments I wonder whether I might ever face a situation where the price of my beliefs would be imprisonment. The events of the last six years seem to make that prospect seem ever more likely.
posted by hwestiii (21 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: save the editorializing for the inside, or someplace else entirely.



 
Is this an FPP or a hwestill blog?
posted by j.p. Hung at 7:31 AM on March 25, 2006


I wonder whether I might ever face a situation where the price of my beliefs would be imprisonment.

this seems to be an ever-growing possible reality for me also. and, i'm starting to think it wouldn't be a bad thing to learn how to survive in the woods...
posted by visit beautiful mount weather! at 7:31 AM on March 25, 2006


Who needs a blog when you've got mefi?
posted by hwestiii at 7:44 AM on March 25, 2006


Who needs a blog when you've got mefi?

Oh, this will end well.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:51 AM on March 25, 2006


he represents a strength of devotion to his cause not seen in this country since the Civil Rights struggle of the 50's and 60's or the Vietnam war protests of the 70's

Huh? The second paragraph of the NYT lists two other people with the same strength of devotion. Are you seriously suggesting no one in the last 25 years has faced arrest for their beliefs? That's quite insulting to the hundreds (thousands?) of people who have done just that.
posted by scottreynen at 7:57 AM on March 25, 2006


Saddam Hussein was imprisoned for political idealology as was Aung San Suu Kyi. I'm sure Saddam would make a case that the despotism and monarchies that were a fixture of the Middle East were things that needed to go when he was doing his thing in the mid-60s.

Think of these people ... King, Gandhi, Suu Kyi, Mandela ... did they espouse a view of tolerance? and how did they treat those that oppressed them? That's the important metric in my mind.

The Muslim Brotherhood is right to fight for democracy, but they are intolerant in their views of non-muslims (at least from what I have read). I support democracy, but I would not support them. Just like there are parties in the US that I would never support, but I would not deny them the right to run.
posted by forforf at 7:59 AM on March 25, 2006


"Saddam Hussein was imprisoned for political idealology"

.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:10 AM on March 25, 2006


I wonder whether I might ever face a situation where the price of my beliefs would be imprisonment.

Don't pick up the soap.
posted by three blind mice at 8:11 AM on March 25, 2006


I thought that one of the purposes of this site was to prompt discussion.

In retrospect, I think I was pretty remiss in disregarding all the members of the pro-life movement who have gone to jail in clinic blocking actions over the years, but those things always struck me as catch-and-release type operations.

Seriously, there is a lot of stuff going on in this country right now that points to clear errosions of the basic principles on which it was founded. And most of it goes by with barely a mention in the paper or a vigorous objection from our elected representatives.
posted by hwestiii at 8:17 AM on March 25, 2006


"he represents a strength of devotion to his cause not seen in this country since the Civil Rights struggle of the 50's and 60's or the Vietnam war protests of the 70's"

Yeah fucking right. Go to an SOA protest some time, watch a bunch of nuns and priests get herded onto armored buses and carted off to jail, and maybe grow up a little bit before abusing us with your sophomoric blather.

That's really frustrating. It's frustrating that you're using metafilter this way but it's also really frustrating that you're so completely out of touch with what's happening in the United States.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:19 AM on March 25, 2006


RobertBaerFilter, anyone?
posted by basicchannel at 8:24 AM on March 25, 2006


but it's also really frustrating that you're so completely out of touch with what's happening in the United States

Or around the world. There must be at least a hundred people in prison in China right now for the crime of promoting democracy. A quick Google search for "activist jailed" turns up no shortage of specific examples throughout the world. Mukhtabar Tojibaeva, Thet Naing Oo, Krishna Pahadi, et al, Beko Ransome-Kuti, Ei Po Po, I could go on all day...

Civil rights struggle didn't stop in the 70s - it just stopped being trendy.
posted by scottreynen at 8:37 AM on March 25, 2006


One big difference here is that we have elections and a free press to help your causes.
posted by narebuc at 8:37 AM on March 25, 2006


Third sentence of FPP fits much better as a comment, hwestiii, keep the "me" off the blue front page k thx.
posted by Meatbomb at 8:49 AM on March 25, 2006


"strength of devotion to his cause "

Without wishing to get all godwin on your ass, we can admire the strength, why stop at the muslim brotherhood. Hitler and stalin's minions were pretty devoted too. And lest you say "but these people are fighting against corrupt autocracies" - I agree, but they just want to replace an autocracy with a theocracy.

See: one man, one vote, one time. Registration required: econonmist link


Sorry: while the arab worlds response to islamists has been brutal, I have little sympathy for their aims. They would replace one horror with another.
posted by lalochezia at 9:07 AM on March 25, 2006


The events of the last six years seem to make that prospect seem ever more likely.

I could see this happen if you give underground abortions, or hell give out medical marijuana today. But those are for banned acts which you think should be legal, not just ideas.

You can also get thrown in jail for protesting, but not for very long.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on March 25, 2006


hwestiii:"I thought that one of the purposes of this site was to prompt discussion."

From the guidelines: "And lastly, don't troll (quick definition: posting purposely inflammatory things for the sole purpose of baiting others to argue the points until blue in the face - basically people do this for kicks, to destroy conversations and communites, for the hell of it). "

troll: "Though we may not agree with his politics, he represents a strength of devotion to his cause not seen in this country since the Civil Rights struggle of the 50's and 60's or the Vietnam war protests of the 70's. In my most paranoid and self-dramatic moments I wonder whether I might ever face a situation where the price of my beliefs would be imprisonment. The events of the last six years seem to make that prospect seem ever more likely."

"In my most paranoid and self-dramatic moments"-- Odd, but I see nary a word from you in the comments of that post.
posted by ?! at 9:38 AM on March 25, 2006


Thoreau spent one night in jail, for refusing to pay a poll tax. His aunt paid the tax, and his act of civil disobedience was moot. He got a book out of it, though.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:58 AM on March 25, 2006


Lalochezia: Your link is to a site that requires not only registration but payment.
posted by LarryC at 10:16 AM on March 25, 2006


His devotion may be admirable, but he's got it all wrong:

"The main goal of Islam is to liberate people."

Uh, yeah, that must be the reason why in Saudi Arabia, the religious police will rather have a bunch of school girls burn to death than risking them being "indecently" exposed. The great liberation that is Islam also gives teenagers in Iran the right to be executed if they're caught kissing in public or drinking alcohol. Or dissidents to be tortured and executed in, oh, just about every country that is dominated by Islamic culture. And don't forget the women in places like Kandahar, Afghanistan. They must feel truly liberated to be able to go outside in a burqha (well, truth be told, they are actually quite privileged, since many of the women in places like Kandahar aren't even allowed to leave home). Under Islamic law, you are also free to face execution if you convert to another religion.

All this makes only sense if "liberating people" is used in a sick Orwellian sense, i.e. the "liberated people" are free to follow all those sick Islamic laws imposed by El-Erian and his ilk or else.
For the record, El-Erian shouldn't be in jail for his beliefs, but his beliefs should be mocked at every possible occasion. Preferably using cartoons.
posted by sour cream at 10:29 AM on March 25, 2006


Larry:oops.

Try this (Search for 'economist') - the article is reproduced lower down the page. It says be skeptical of islamists bearing democratic gifts. (Read Qutub, the inspiration for the Brotherhood, if you want to know what this organisation think of democracy)
posted by lalochezia at 10:53 AM on March 25, 2006


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