Saturday, 17 October 2015

On Free Speech, and its limits

I have always believed in FREE SPEECH. But my understanding of free speech is, to my horror, vastly different from that of rabble rousers. They think free speech means one can speak the most vile, untruth and uncouth things. That is not free speech. At the very minimum, free speech does NOT permit you to yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre when there is no fire. Truth should be the ultimate check to free speech. 

However, not everyone is disciplined (or smart) enough to seek the truth. Many prefer indulging in innuendoes, spreading chain-mails (now emails, and Facebook and Twitter status updates), and plain gossip. That's human nature. That's the state of how we humans are, generally. Even amongst the educated, the learned, the ones who should have devoted their minds to pursuit of the truth, this lapse into our baser human nature happens — sometimes on a daily basis. 

But more than truth, being civilised means being gentle and polite. And there is a difference between objecting or protesting in a civilised manner, and doing so in a less than civilised manner. I will not name examples, but here's how you can spot the difference: Look at people who are passionately opposing a view. Imagine yourself being the object of their passionate opposition. Do you feel threatened, physically or mentally? If yes, then they are a rabble rouser. They are abusing free speech. 

Because free speech, no matter how offensive, should always be grounded in the truth, and should never degenerate into threats of (or actual) violence. 

I hope you now understand what I mean when I say, "I have always believed in FREE SPEECH."

Sunday, 20 September 2015

An Officer of the Court

Being a lawyer means being an officer of the court. My first duty is always to the court, to the law. To the proper administration of the law. To be part of a system which attempts fairness day in and day out. It's a dance. A dance between the lawyers, the court, and officers from government agencies — making sense of life via the prism of the law. 

For true believers, we still believe in the system, the purpose of the system, and that this is better than the alternative of anarchy and raw power. Because that's what will be if there is no law — the weak will be bullied, and the strong will dictate. Right and wrong become mere words, mere labels.

I didn't know Anthony Kevin Morais. From what I hear and read about him from people who knew him, he was a decent fellow. A hardworking fellow. A good person. A good person who was horrifically murdered most likely because he was doing his job. That was it. He died because he did his job. 

That should not be. 
That's just sick. 

I am extremely sad because his murder was wrong. 
Particularly wrong. 
Particularly foul. 
Particularly ominous. 

May his soul rest in peace.