Freedom of speech – a reflection

I am sitting here on Easter Day, reading the news. Under each article, you find a section where people can comment on the article. Only, I find that people often comment more on each other than the actual facts of the article, and sometimes it becomes a real mockery scene towards a few participants of the discussion.

I agree that freedom of speech is a basic human right, but it is a human right to speak out loud about anything? Is it a human right to belittle others? Is it a human right to conclude against someone from a different religion without further investigation? Is it a human right to judge someones actions on the basis of rather superficial facts on why they made that desicion?
Is it a human right to mock others with a different point of view than ours?

There have been discussions about removing the possibility to comment on articles. I can agree with such a desicion. Although, I do not think that the comments will stop. They will live their own lives in other media forms.
Why is it so much easier to write despicable comments to others than saying them face to face? We are removed, we do not have to relate to the shock, sadness, anger and disappointment of the other, at least not to read their facial expressions. And, as human beings, we are more easily affected by someone near us showing emotions.

I have more or less stopped reading such comments in the online newspaper, although that just temporarily hide from me the fact that as human beings we can be so cruel to one another. Every time that is displayed to me again, I am so affected. I get sad. I am saddened by the fact that as a human race we have not come further.

The other day, a remote aquaintance, wrote a very racist comment on facebook. Being in an interracial relationship, of course this affected me. But, I did not want to go into a discussion with this man. He has his opinions, who am I to want to change them? But, I do not have to relate to his opinions on a daily basis, in my own, home, so I deleted him as a friend. I just do not want that negativity.

I am not saying that I am any different than others. But, I try to be better every day. It does feel good when I honestly can wish other people fortune, and be happy for them.

It feels good when I can let people have their opinions and just shake it off, not be affected by them, not hold any grudges, but rather accept them for who they are.

I understand the history behind the right to speak your mind. It is so important to hold on to. On the other hand, I believe that the freedom of speech has become a right that in many ways are misused in our society. It is held up as a sign, to justify any opinion, any dismissal of others, any mockery or belittling.

I love this quote from a very wise man:


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