4.10 Worlds of Hate

Among the arguments against racial vilification legislation we find the usual points, namely, that such a law would suppress freedom of speech, thereby driving racists underground where they could be more dangerous. It could moreover make martyrs out of them if challenged in court. They also adduce the dangerous argument that nobody has proved that racist statements actually cause racist violence - dangerous because the onus of such proof should, but never does, lie with those who propose these theories.

While we believe that education rather than legislation will ultimately prove to be the only way of establishing mutual respect between different elements of society, it would be foolish to ignore the rising tide of overt expression of anti-racial feeling by a vicious minority. Highlighting legislation will ensure that all citizens are aware of the values of society and the risks to be taken when they are trodden under-foot. To hint that there is a sacrosanct right for freedom of speech is to ignore the equally impressive rights of the injured party. There is no right to be racist any more than there is a right to be a rapist. No individual act is tolerated if it is a threat to society. Self-expression can be tolerated only in so far as it does not take away fundamental rights from fellow human beings.

In the process of putting a curb on words of hate, the Government could very well expose worlds of hate festering in little niches and pockets around the State. It is important to find the nature and extent of the problem, and hopefully to devise the wisest way of dealing with it

[From:The Ethnic Voice, Vol 2(7) August, 1990 p 3]

Source: Maurice N.Cauchi - The Maltese Migrant Experience, Malta 1999

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