Global Council for Tolerance and Peace

The Freedom of Speech: The Beautiful lie of the 21st Century

By Larissa Abou Harb

Larissa Abou Harb

“If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter” (George Washington).

There is no doubt that today’s world has lost its moral compass amid a wave of truth owners from one side, and power lords from the other. Whilst people are convinced that they do enjoy their basic rights, in particular their freedom of expression, the only truth is that they do not.

A quick look at different social media platforms can show that, in different countries around the globe, people are still far away from respecting this freedom that was enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human rights under article 19 and was perceived as a sacred right by many philosophers and thinkers.

Nowadays, it only takes five seconds and few buttons on one’s keyboard to tarnish the reputation of someone with whom that person does not share the same point of view. It takes one comment or even one reaction to wage a war that cannot be easily settled. The main question to be raised here is: Why? Why are people that aggressive behind the screen, and how can we accept the fact that in the twenty first century, people are still being bullied and bombarded with insults because of their distinct position?

Unquestionably, the rise of extremism, populism and political brainwashing has deeply affected people who feel that their own identity, their bare existence, are at stake. Therefore, intolerance is the new disease to be cured. The recipe for the most effective antidote is simple: Trust. Once people start trusting each other again, differences will be of second importance and the freedom of expression will finally materialize!

You might also like