The above comment was removed from this article:
I really doubt it was Breitbart. I suppose it could have been removed by Breitbart or Disqus at the behest of some shadowy state official.
WHY DOES IT MATTER ENOUGH TO WRITE A BLOG POST ABOUT IT?
The EU particularly but also national governments in Europe are becoming increasingly inclined to interfere with freedom of speech, one of our most fundamental freedoms. It seems to me they are particularly anxious to suppress criticism of immigration and of the Islamic religion. Right now the EU is proposing to crack down on “illegal hate speech”. But what, exactly, do they mean by “illegal hate speech”?
One of the bullet points in this document:
“The IT Companies to review the majority of valid notifications for removal of illegal hate speech in less than 24 hours and remove or disable access to such content, if necessary.”
Have I fallen victim to this Orwellian directive? Would those enforcing this directive err on the side of “caution” and delete first, ask questions later? Is there any appeals process, any way of publicly questioning the judgement of those enforcing it? Will those enforcing it be accountable in any way whatever? Will there even be public acknowledgement of what they are censoring?
The largest objection I have to this kind of censorship is that it is going to be hard to convince others that we really are being censored at all. “Are you sure dear?” “Maybe you deleted it yourself by mistake?” Well when you delete a Disqus comment yourself it just disappears, you don’t see the red “Removed” icon in the picture above. So no, “dear”, I did not imagine it. There is the evidence.
Some people will be intimidated by this sort of censorship, because it will remind them that they are being watched by big brother and that big brother does not approve of what they are saying. Those people might have very valid and useful things to say. There is also the implied threat that if the state does not approve then they may be fined or even imprisoned for what they are doing.
COULD IT JUST HAVE BEEN A MISTAKE BY SOME MODERATOR SOMEWHERE?
Certainly, but I feel that its important to document such incidents to see if a pattern can be identified, to find out whether other people are experiencing similar, and most importantly because there may be some sort of very deliberate state censorship going on. Also, since the EU is currently devising these “hate speech” directives for social media companies, it really isn’t fanciful to suspect state involvement. I have had very few comments removed to date, only a handful. In most of the other cases (perhaps all) it was clear that the comment had been “Flagged as inappropriate” by another user, because the status of the comment was “Pending”, not “Removed” as is the case in this comment (see text in red in picture above).
DO I REGRET ANYTHING ABOUT THE COMMENT?
I fear it was a bit vague in the sense that it wasn’t clear which migrants I was talking about, rather hastily written perhaps. However in the context of the article, and the current migrant crisis, I think I could be allowed to let people put two and two together. I also specifically mentioned Islam so I think it was pretty clear that I was referring to Muslim majority countries. If there was anything wrong with the comment, people were free to question it, and challenge it with reply comments.
CAN I BACK MY CLAIM UP WITH ANY SOURCES?
Quite what constitutes commonplace is subjective I think, but a brief search in google immediately points towards quite a lot of evidence that I was justified in making the remark. There is a Wikipedia article devoted to the subject of Islam and domestic violence for example:
For example, there is a claim in this article:
“According to HRW 2013 report, Afghanistan has one of the highest incidence rates of domestic violence in the world. Domestic violence is so common that 85 per cent of women admit to experiencing it.”
Before anybody questions my linking to Wikipedia, please note that this article is backed up with many references to its sources, so please read those instead of just dissing Wikipedia.
Mistreatment of women among the migrants has been reported by Breitbart themselves quite a few times:
It seems unlikely to me that this would be happening if such treatment was particularly uncommon in their countries of origin.
Evidence of a bad attitude in Islam towards women can be found in the Koran, for example 4:34 which condones wife beating. Many other examples exist, documented much more comprehensively by people who know more about it than I do, so I have provided some links at the end of this post for those who wish to learn more.
There is also significant testimony in the above of the suppression of information about the mistreatment of women in these countries. Who for example is going to report a rape if the Islamic requirement is for 4 male witnesses? How many rapes are going to be calmly witnessed by 4 male bystanders who are later prepared to testify against the perpetrator? If they objected to the rape then these 4 males would surely intervene?
Furthermore, mistreatment of women in Islamic culture is so ingrained that women may not even regard it as mistreatment. For example, many women in Pakistan believe that the Koranic justification for beating a “disobedient” wife mentioned above is correct. Female genital mutilation (FGM) is sometimes carried out by women.
WAS I INCITING HATRED OF A PARTICULAR GROUP?
It seems to me that if you make a statement that is demonstrably true then you cannot be accused of incitement. The comment was not in any case at all inciteful, but plainly descriptive. I did not say, so and so is the case and therefore people should hate the group I’m talking about. I wasn’t even thinking like that. I’m just concerned that the migrants in question have been brutalized by the culture of their country of origin, particularly in their attitude to women.
WHAT COUNTRIES ARE THE MIGRANTS COMING FROM?
In the current migration crisis, the principle countries of origin are all Muslim majority countries to my knowledge, and include:
Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, countries of the Maghreb. Mistreatment of women under the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria is of course particularly brutal, I hardly need mention all the rapes of Yazidi women and stoning of “adulterers”. Mistreatment of women is well documented for Pakistan and Afghanistan. Here is an article about Syria:
Countries further south in Africa that have featured significantly in the number of migrants include Gabon and Eritrea. Female genital mutilation is practiced in Eritrea (1).
I think this experience illustrates exactly what is wrong with trying to suppress “hate speech”. Just what constitutes hate speech is highly subjective. We should be able to talk about groups of people without automatically being condemned because there may be features of that group, such as their religious beliefs, that incline them to behave in a particular way. I believe that the Islamic ideology is deeply flawed and a danger to freedoms of all kinds, but particularly to women’s freedom. If we can no longer discuss this in public without facing censorship and possibly even arrest, then freedom of speech is truly finished in Europe. The claims that freedom of speech will be protected in the EU directive document above are then merely empty words. Also if internet commenters like myself are being censored like this today, how long will it be before the state starts interfering with the supposedly free press when they try to tell us facts about the migrant crisis?