I got a call from the BBC yesterday because of my post Thought Nazis on the German bid to ban denial of the Holocaust throughout the 27 countries of the EU (and because I have a close friend who works at the BBC). The BBC have a show called “World, Have Your Say” where people can suggest topics for, and participate in, discussions of current issues. It is actually a pretty interesting show. I had a chat with the researcher and we agreed that I would be part of a panel discussion.
I had thought the topic was going to include denial of the Holocaust, but they actually narrowed it down to just banning the swastika. I was under the impression that the discussion would last 15-20 minutes, but they let the first topic go on so long that we were left with only about 5 minutes. And there were four of us speaking. I was the last, after the guy in Canadia who had suggested the topic, a German who was in favour of the EU-wide ban, and a Hindu explaining that the swastika has different meanings in different cultures. It went something like this:
We also have Max, a lawyer in Prague, on the line. And Max, you’re Jewish, I believe?
Yes, that’s right.
And do you agree with the swastika being banned?
No, I absolutely don’t. I am coming from a belief that freedom of speech and freedom of expression are fundamental freedoms. And I feel strongly that governments should not be telling us what is right, or what is good or bad. That is positively Orwellian.
And that was it.
The topic that had taken up all the time started as the alleged racism in the Celebrity Big Brother house in the UK, which then evolved into discussions of racism in the UK and in India and in the world. Interesting, but not. I would have summed up the issue like this:
All countries are racist, all people are racist, it’s in our nature, it’s in our Darwinian DNA. And if you go into the Big Brother house, you have to be prepared to take whatever you get. That prima donna should not be whinging because her exercise in self-promotion hasn’t gone the way she had hoped.