Make no mistake—the National Library and Archives should NOT have buckled under to angry emails, a couple of “suspicious letters” and a formal request from the Iranian Embassy, and cancelled the showing of a right-wing film called Iranium.
Threats, mumbled the bureaucrats. Security.
What threats? Ottawa is hardly a seething mass of pro-Ahmadinejad sentiment. Crowds of angry Iranian Islamists are about as likely to show up at the National Library as appear on the moon.
The security excuse simply doesn’t hold water. Everybody who sticks his or her head above the trenches these days receives threatening emails. Get a better spam filter.
And a formal request from the Iranian Embassy? Put it this way, and I know I’m departing from my own rules here: I wish I’d had the opportunity to respond to such a request myself. What part of “F*ck off” would they fail to understand?
So, are we clear on this? The film may have a provocative thesis, but it wasn’t Fitna. The Free Thinking Film Society, run by right-wing blogger Fred Litwin, has not been in the practice of screening hate films. Red Dawn is more their speed. Good grief, let them have their regular confilmfest unmolested.
Who can’t appreciate the sweet, layered irony? Just scant weeks ago, the very same crowd of happy-clappy free-thinking Speech Warriors™ were celebrating in the streets and setting off fireworks because they had successfully lobbied Peter MacKay to get Canadian Imam Zijad Delic banned from National Defence premises, where he was going to make a short speech about tolerance.
When some of us raised the possibility that another flaw had appeared in the Speech Warriors’™ bulwark of principles, we were sternly lectured that There Was A Difference. Read the thread from the link just provided, if you have nothing better to do. Why, shutting down Ann Coulter (not that it actually happened) was wrong because it was a violation of free speech rights, and shutting down Mark Steyn (not that it actually happened) was wrong for the same reason, but this was different, see.
Oh, the excuses, as the Warriors™ scrambled to make fine distinctions! Delic could always speak somewhere else, so his rights weren’t affected. He has no automatic right to speak wherever he wants. He was simply disinvited, not muzzled. Security risk! Etc.
Now, all but the truly moronic will have no trouble applying these same tests to Fred Litwin’s merry little band of film buffs.
As I said when the Delic matter arose, the Speech Warriors are amassing a five-foot shelf of jurisprudence to distinguish between speech that should be protected (neo-Nazism and homophobia) and speech that should, never mind Speech Warrior™ principles, be suppressed (Imam Delic, George Galloway).
It will be interesting to observe the further chop-logic that now distinguishes between the Iranium fiasco and the turfing of Imam Delic. Lord knows we need a chuckle about now.
UPDATE: More delicious irony:
“The principle of free speech is one of the cornerstones of our democracy,” read a statement from Moore’s office.
Will Minister Moore be talking to his colleague Peter MacKay anytime soon? And here is the fellow who claims to have shut down Imam Delic, now weeping into his beer.
Well, right on cue…another Speech Warrior™ who celebrated the Delic shut-down is now mad enough to propose an eliminationist response.