Saturday, April 16, 2016

Germany is considering prosecuting a commedian for mocking the president of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogon

German comedian Jan Boehmermann. Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has allowed prosecutors to consider pressing charges agianst a German comedian Jan Boehermann after he recited a vulgar poem about Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogon. Reuters. Boehermann's poem consisted of criticism of Erdogon's handling of Turkey along with many low-brow insults. Boehermann also admitted that he was going beyond what the law allows, and is now under police protection. Merkel allowed her prosecutors to consider the case after receiving a complaint from the Turkish government. Boehermann's employers, German public broadcaster ZDF vowed to fight for him in court but they also pulled the clip from their website.

My Comment:
If you want to hear what Boehermann's poem was like, I will post a link. Unfortunately I couldn't find it on youtube. They had a bunch of translation but no video of the incident itself. Given the nature of the clip, I wouldn't be surprised if it was removed, and if the video I am linking too goes the same way. I was able to find a video on liveleak, with a questionable English translation, but keep in mind both the poem and the website in general is not safe for work. Fair warning.

What's my take on this? I think that it's clear that everything that Boehermann said in that poem was true, at least when it comes to the non-vulgar stuff. Erdogon does treat religious and ethnic minorities horrible. The rest of it is just run of the mill gross humor, not all that different then you would see on South Park or Family Guy here in the United States. It's certainly as low brow as you can get, but there is nothing there that should be prosecuted.

Indeed, such vulgarity is the kind of speech that needs to be protected most. It is insane to me that the German people are putting up with this. I mean the president of Turkey has a huge role in the current sorry state of affairs that Germany is in right now. They should be able to criticize him anyway they want. If that means making fun of his penis or saying he hits little girls that should be allowed. The very existence of this law is disgusting to me.

Imagine if we had this law in America. Given how our presidential candidates are acting, how long would it be until Donald Trump was in prison. I mean, he has said some pretty nasty things about various world leaders as well. Under German law he could be prosecuted for it. Hell, if I were to say that Tayyip Erdogon is a terrible president and he should deposed as a leader, I could be prosecuted too. Given how many times I have said that on this blog I am very glad that I live in America!

I also want to say that Angela Merkal's behavior of late has been reprehensible. She pretty much destroyed Germany with the refugee crisis. When she opened the doors to hundreds of thousands of people, she ruined her country. And they are still paying for it today. Remember New Years Eve? That alone should have been enough to get her removed from office but somehow she is still there. And, again, I am very glad I live in a place where I could call her a four letter word if I so desired.

Her role in the European migrant crisis would be bad enough, but now she is hurting her own citizens on a foreign government's behalf. Merkel is begging for Erdogon to help her. She desperately needs to stem the tide of refugees and migrants flowing into Europe and right now Erdogon is helping by keeping Turkey's borders closed. It cost Merkel quite a bit of political capital to pull that off, and more the a little credibility given Turkey's recent actions. My guess is that Merkel was threatened by Erdogon. He probably said something to the effect that if she didn't allow Boehermann's prosecution he would open the floodgates.

It isn't surprising that Turkey is cracking down on free speech where ever it is found. Erdogon does not handle criticism that well and he desperately wants people to see him as a wise and strong leader. Reading the news out of Turkey and it is clear he is anything but. Given how hard Turkey has cracked down on free speech inside their borders, it isn't shocking at all that they would try to pull this off.

What is utterly shocking to me is that anyone outside of Turkey is going along with it. Merkel folded, and though I understand why, it is still a disappointment for me. I didn't think Merkel could sink any lower then she has already but I guess my expectations weren't low enough...

This whole incident is another example of how fast free speech is eroding in Europe. People on the continent are actually going to jail for posting stuff on twitter that wouldn't even bat an eye here in the United States. It's very dangerous for people in Europe to criticize any aspect of the current immigration policy or the behavior of Muslims in general. This trend is likely to continue as this summers migrant wave begins to arrive. My hope is that this loss of rights is eventually reversed and never ever manages to cross the Atlantic and effect my home... 

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