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My favorite charity…

cbldf.jpgAt work recently, several of us were having a discussion about charitable donations and, specifically, bitching about those people in the office (if you work in an office, you know you have some) who come around collecting for some charity or the other. And they circle back around several times until they basically guilt you into giving money. In discussing this, we were talking about the fact that none of us have a problem donating to charity — we all make enough money that there’s no good reason for not doing so. Rather, the problem is that we want to donate to the places we choose to donate to, not the ones we’re bullied into donating too (even if they are, at the end of the day, a good cause). Freedom of choice and all that.

In any event, during this discussion I mentioned how the one consistent donation I make every year is to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, and I was met with blank stares. “Comic books?” Yes, I explained, comic books. The CBLDF is a First Amendment group that just so happens to focus on comics. And the First Amendment has always been a big thing for me (probably because me and my offensive, trucker mouth would’ve been tossed permanently in the basement many years ago without it), and I’ve always love a good comic. So when I stumbled across this recent post from Neil Gaiman, I just felt obligated to share:

When people ask me about why I support the CBLDF and what it’s for, I talk about the First Amendment, and the countries that don’t have it — places where, as you’ll learn in in this Wall Street Journal article, you can be arrested for drawing cartoons…
On a sunny May morning, six plainclothes police officers, two uniformed policemen and a trio of functionaries from the state prosecutor’s office closed in on a small apartment in Amsterdam. Their quarry: a skinny Dutch cartoonist with a rude sense of humor. Informed that he was suspected of sketching offensive drawings of Muslims and other minorities, the Dutchman surrendered without a struggle.
“I never expected the Spanish Inquisition,” recalls the cartoonist, who goes by the nom de plume Gregorius Nekschot, quoting the British comedy team Monty Python. A fan of ribald gags, he’s a caustic foe of religion, particularly Islam. The Quran, crucifixion, sexual organs and goats are among his favorite motifs.
Mr. Nekschot, whose cartoons had appeared mainly on his own Web site, spent the night in a jail cell. Police grabbed his computer, a hard drive and sketch pads. He’s been summoned for further questioning later this month by prosecutors. He hasn’t been charged with a crime, but the prosecutor’s office says he’s been under investigation for three years on suspicion that he violated a Dutch law that forbids discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.
If you’re offended by something, you talk about it. You make your own cartoons. You out-argue your opponents. You don’t stop them talking, or cartooning. That’s wrong. Because if you can do that to them, someone else can do that to you.
It’s why supporting freedom of speech so often involves defending the indefensible.


| Comments (4)


Sounds like a charity I could get behind...

Charity begins at home, Homeland Security that is. They are now allowing themselves the luxury of relieving you of your laptop or other electronic devices at borders for "a reasonable amount of time" and in the absense of "suspicion" ( for old any reason).

What does he have against goats?

I´m actually a Dutch citizen and was very upset when this happened. We also have a constitution that is supposed to protect freedom of speech, but somehow this ridiculous event was able to take place anyway. Gregorius Nekschot targets anyone and everyone he rightly perceives to be a hypocrite. He has a razor sharp sense for the often questionable and political motives that drive those who claim to speak for their respective religions or ethnicities (and he doesn´t discriminate either, the christians, but even public servants take their share of the satirical beating). He is crude and not always funny, but he has a legal and moral right to do what he does, and if he gets convicted I will personally lead the march on The Hague.

It saddens me that whilst we (The Dutch) were once perceived as tolerant and liberal, events of political murder and now censorship are painting the way the world pictures us a shameful bright red. I just hope we can reverse it...