Now I understand this post may be going slightly beyond my remit as a food blogger. I have spent the last week or so though with this post going round and round in my head, unwilling to be shifted.
I have come to see this space, this blog, as my space in which to exercise my freedom of speech. I think this view is probably shared by thousands of other bloggers, especially in a world where an individual is facing corporal
Though I do not cover politically or socially contentious subjects, I do use this space to express opinions, to give an example, my thoughts on the ethical choices we can make when buying food.
Maybe it's the upcoming election here in the UK, combined with the terrible attacks in France, that has made me want to state my belief in democracy, in a global community built on mutual understanding and cooperation. Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of this.
I feel as if there is a spectre across Europe, the world, the ghost of the early to mid twentieth century. A time in which the political and ideological right used a populations fears (economic, racial, social) to manipulate them and as justification for committing terrible atrocities.
The limitation of freedom of speech is part of a wider attack on the freedom of the individual. This freedom is an essential human right which we are all entitled to, regardless of sex, race or religious beliefs.
The only caveat I would add would be that words are a powerful tool and this power should be acknowledged and respected. Freedom of speech should not be used to limit someone else's freedom or impinge on their human rights.
If anyone has seen Charlie Chaplin's 1940 film, The Great Dictator, they will undoubtedly remember the speech given at the end of the film. To me, much of this speech still has resonance today.
We, individuals, are powerful together, as a team, working towards an improved world. A world in which tolerance for others and their right to a difference of opinion is the default mode.
I will leave you with my favorite section of the speech:
"Then in the name of democracy, let us use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world - a decent world that will give men a chance to work - that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will.
Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world - to do away with national barriers - to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness..."