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Saturday, 16 April 2016

Justice and hypocrisy

Yesterday, the German Chancellor finally decided to let German judges rule on the complaint from the Turkish President following a German YouTube song and a German comedy show by which he felt insulted. One of the reasons for this development might also be the notorious German lack of humour. Even the Dutch PM hit at this phenomenon in the 2016 Dutch Correspondents' Dinner (see fragment in video after 21.35 minutes).

The Dutch have their own version of Jan Bömermann and his name is Geert Wilders. Both like to insult and to provoke. In both cases, judges need to decide what politicians do not dare to touch. The freedom of speech for Dutch politicians is far from clear however as quite recently two main social-democratic Dutch politicians were not prosecuted for similar statements on Moroccans (NOS).

The use of courts to rule on matters that are too sensitive for politicians seems to be borrowed from the USA. Using lawyers to achieve one's goals or to succumb a less wealthy opponent is common practice for many decades. Using the Supreme Court to achieve political goals is more recent (eg, Obamacare) and is probably the result of the US stalemate - or deadlock - in US politics.

I could blame political correctness or the fear of popularity loss but I think and feel that the issue goes much deeper. Again this lack of accountability and responsibility may be a fundamental flaw in Western style democracies and the Turkish President understands that flaw very well.

DW 5 April 2016: "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he rejects US and EU criticism over clampdowns on press freedoms. Erdogan has called on western leaders to "contemplate their own shame" before criticizing Turkey". Also see MEE, ST, Yahoo.

The Turkish President's reference to Western leaders to "contemplate their own shame" is indeed an interesting one. Obviously, this remark comes from someone who assumes a victim role and uses reverse psychology towards his opponents. Yet sometimes such persons do make remarks that touch a nerve in their opponents. This may be one of these remarks.

I suppose this "shame" could relate to the 6 billion euro deal that the EU concluded with Turkey to counter the huge EU migrant and refugee problem. In that case, I would agree with the Turkish President as this deal is indeed shameful. Not so much for him for taking the money but for the European leaders who sell out on European principles.

The Turkish President is using his new leverage on Europe to strong-arm the German Chancellor. She hopes that the German judges will do what she does not dare to do: To defend freedom of speech and to defend European principles. That would allow the German Chancellor to wash her hands in innocence like Pontius Pilate did before her (explanation).

The Turkish president's remark ("Those who attempt to give us lessons in democracy and human rights must first contemplate their own shame") is also a small variation on what Jesus once said after he was invited to condemn an adulteress: "Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone". (Wiki)

Bob Marley - Hypocrites (1967) - artist, lyrics, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


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